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Press Release
Seven HKTDC Fairs in April Draw Over 230,000 Buyers, up nearly 3%
Survey Shows Bright Outlook for Western Europe and the Chinese Mainland,
Three Areas of Strengths for Innovation & Technology Highlighted
10 May 2018More than 230,000 buyers from 176 countries and regions attended the seven fairs organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in April, recording a nearly three per cent increase year-on-year. Among them, over 130,000 were from the Chinese mainland and overseas, up over four per cent, while there were more than 9,000 exhibitors in the seven fairs. Business sentiments at the fairs were unaffected by the escalating Sino-US trade dispute in recent weeks, as the on-site surveys conducted during the fairs found 70 per cent of respondents expected no negative impact on Hong Kong’s export performance as a result of the trade friction between China and the United States, and 80 per cent were neutral or optimistic about the future that both nations can resolve their differences over the dispute.

The seven April fairs were: the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Spring Edition), Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition), International ICT Expo, Hong Kong Houseware Fair, Hong Kong International Home Textiles and Furnishings Fair, Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, and the Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair, which was jointly organised by the HKTDC and CIEC Exhibition Company (HK) Ltd.

Hong Kong’s advantages in innovation & technology
The HKTDC commissioned an independent research agency to conduct on-site surveys during the fairs in April, interviewing more than 2,700 exhibitors and buyers. Sixty-seven per cent of respondents in the electronics industry were positive about the development in innovation and technology in Hong Kong, with financial technologies (FinTech) identified as having the highest potential, followed by smart city and artificial intelligence. In addition, survey respondents said that the huge number of relevant professionals (50%), reliable and predictable policy (36%) and business-friendly environment (34%) are Hong Kong’s advantages in developing innovation and technology. HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau said, “As seen from the survey, innovation and technology are where Hong Kong should go in future. They are not just highlights in the Government’s latest Policy Address and Budget, but have also become key elements in HKTDC’s events. Leveraging on the latest mobile technology, the HKTDC introduced to all April Fairs its e-Badge to upgrade buyer’s fair experience since it was first launched last November and was warmly-received by buyers.”

In addition, many elements of innovation and technology were added in the Fairs. These included setting the theme of ICT Expo as “Smart City: The Way of the Future” with the debut Smart City zone. Apart from the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) presenting the Hong Kong Smart City Blueprint, smart solutions were also brought by top technology enterprises from around the world. The Spring Electronics Fair’s “Tech Hall” highlighted zones such as “Connected Home” and “Robotics & Unmanned Tech”. Moreover, the Spring Lighting Fair gathered renowned experts to a seminar on “Artificial Intelligence and Smart Lighting” to discuss the ways that AI could help enhance smart lighting. The Houseware Fair held a seminar on “Connect and Optimise – The Technology & Market Trend in the Building Industry” sharing the latest updates on IoT techbology advancement. The Gifts & Premium Fair featured a “Tech Gifts” zone and held a seminar themed “Top 5 Global Digital Consumer Trends in 2018” to discuss the tech-driven consumer trends that are reshaping commerce. The “Digital Printing & 3D Printing Zone” featured in the Printing & Packaging Fair, together with the concurrent seminar “New Development and Application of Digital Printing”, analysed digital printing technology trends for the future.

HK$1.3 billion business travel income generated
International trade fairs bring in orders for local exhibitors, resulting in a major driving force for the development of local industries. Fairs also attract many business visitors with high consumption power to Hong Kong. The April fairs attracted more than 9,000 exhibitors from the Chinese mainland and overseas (up over 2%) while the buyers from these regions grew over four per cent to more than 130,000. Among these buyers, the highest growth came from North America (nearly 13%), followed by those from Europe and ASEAN, both increasing over eight per cent. According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, per capita spending of overnight MICE visitors was HK$8,563. Based on this figure, it is estimated that the visiting buyers and exhibitors have generated over HK$1.3 billion in income for tourism and related industries, together with other economic benefits.

Promising outlook for Western Europe and the Chinese Mainland
The surveys also found that 49 per cent of the respondents expected overall sales to grow this year. Such finding is significantly higher than that of the previous year, which is an indication of improving market outlook. However, survey respondents expected increases in operating costs (47%), price fluctuations of raw materials (44%) and concern about global economic fluctuations (40%) are the major challenges for the year. Survey respondents were generally positive about the outlook of traditional markets. They were most optimistic about Western Europe, with 73 per cent expecting prospects to be promising or very promising, followed by North America (61%) and Japan (58%). Views were also optimistic when it came to the emerging markets. Sixty-seven per cent of respondents expected the Chinese mainland market to be promising or very promising this year; followed by ASEAN (56%) and the Middle East (55%).

In terms of product trends, the lighting industry considers commercial lighting to be the most promising product category, followed by residential lighting and smart lighting & solution. The electronics industry sees electrical and electronic accessories to have the best potential, followed by digital imaging and audio-visual products. For the houseware industry, most expect kitchenware & gadgets, eco-friendly products and interior decor & handicrafts to have the highest growth potential this year. As for the gifts industry, most viewed advertising gifts and premium, tech gifts and figurines & decorations to be the most promising product categories.

Start-up launch pad
To support the development of start-up, the HKTDC introduced Startup zones at the Spring Electronic Fair, ICT Expo, Houseware Fair and Gifts Fair to provide a low-barrier exhibition opportunity for start-ups. The zones were well-received, attracting more than 160 start-ups from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, India, Japan, Taiwan, the United States and so on. Apart from meeting buyers from around the world, the start-ups were offered all-round services, including the opportunity to take part in pitching sessions and “Startup . Smart Launch” sessions, where they could promote their solutions or products to potential investors, buyers and media representatives.

Business matching, small orders for more business opportunities
The HKTDC is committed to enhancing the support services provided at the fairs to generate more business opportunities for exhibitors and buyers. During the April fairs, the HKTDC helped connect buyers with exhibitors by arranging one-on-one business matching meetings based on buyers’ needs. In addition, to cater to the O2O sourcing trend and the buyers’ growing need to source in small quantities, the HKTDC set up hktdc.com Small Orders zones at the Spring Electronics Fair, Houseware Fair and Gifts Fair, featuring a total of over 940 showcases. By scanning a QR code, buyers could receive product information, place orders, settle payments and arrange shipment. During the April fairs, the zones generated more than 60,000 business connections, bridging buyers and suppliers and promoting further cooperation.

Summary of Survey Results:
Exhibitors and buyers surveyed: 2,717

Overall sales expectations for the year Production/sourcing cost expectations for the year
  2018 Survey 2017 Survey   2018 Survey 2017 Survey
Increase 49% 40% Increase 55% 49%
Unchanged 45% 51% Unchanged 41% 47%
Decrease 5% 9% Decrease 2% 3%

FOB or retail price expectations for the year
  2018 Survey 2017 Survey
Increase 40% 29%
Unchanged 53% 63%
Decrease 5% 8%

Major business challenges for the year*
Increase in operating costs 47%
Price fluctuation of raw materials 44%
Fluctuation of global economy 40%
Keen competition within the industry 33%
Fluctuating exchange rates 31%
* Multiple selections allowed

Traditional Markets Emerging Markets
  Promising and very promising Neutral   Promising and very promising Neutral
Western Europe 73% 25% Chinese mainland 67% 31%
North America 61% 35% ASEAN countries 56% 43%
Japan 58% 40% Middle East 55% 38%
Korea 54% 44% South Africa 54% 41%

Industry Product Trends
Lighting Commercial Lighting; Residential Lighting; Smart Lighting & Solution
Electronics Electrical and Electronic Accessories; Digital Imaging; Audio Visual Products
Houseware Kitchenware & Gadgets; Eco-friendly Products; Interior Decor & Handicrafts
Gifts Advertising Gifts & Premium; Tech Gifts; Figurines & Decorations

Photo Download: https://bit.ly/2ruoKVU
img The HKTDC’s seven trade fairs in April welcomed a total of more than 230,000 buyers
img In terms of emerging markets outlook, 67 per cent of respondents expected the Chinese mainland market to be promising or very promising this year; followed by ASEAN (56%) and Middle East (55%)
imgimgimg The HKTDC has added plenty of innovative technology contents in the April Fairs. These included launching thematic zones such as Smart City (above to bottom), Virtual Reality and Robotics & Unmanned Tech
img Startup zones at the Spring Electronics Fair, ICT Expo, Houseware Fair and Gifts & Premium Fair attracted over 160 start-ups
img Several fairs featured the hktdc.com Small Order zone, providing over 940 showcases and generating more than 60,000 business connections

Media Enquiries
Please contact the HKTDC's Communications & Public Affairs Department:
Joshua Cheng         Tel: (852) 2584-4395        Email: joshua.cp.cheng@hktdc.org
To view press releases in Chinese, please visit http://mediaroom.hktdc.com/tc

About the HKTDC
Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong's businesses. With more than 40 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China, Asia and the world. With 50 years of experience, the HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs, with business opportunities on the mainland and in international markets, while providing business insights and information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus.
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