32nd edition draws close to 50,000 buyers to Asia’s World City
Hong Kong has always been a choice city in Asia for luxury shopping what with the world’s most sought after labels lining its streets and filling its modern malls. Likewise, the island city is known for top bargains what with the famed Temple Night Market and the abundance of street hawkers of every item imaginable.
It therefore makes sense that the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) had long thought of organizing the world’s largest gifts sourcing platform in the former British colony—as early as 1985 to be exact—via the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair. Today, it is considered the largest of its kind in the world, having successfully established how giftware is important not just among families and friends but for business establishments to build strong relationships with clients, as well as a powerful marketing tool toward brand recognition.
The Manila Times had the privilege of being invited as the lone media entity from the Philippines to cover the 32nd edition of the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair this year. It was held from April 27 to 30 at the massive Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.
Featuring more than 4,300 local and overseas exhibitors from 31 countries and regions including Chinese mainland, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macau, Taiwan and the Philippines, which had nine booths this year, the fair truly showcased an endless variety of giftware.
Exhibitors were expertly organized into zones to enable over 4,700 buyers—the largest in years—to make the most of the four-day event. Gift items ranged from basic to sophisticated in high-valued merchandise such as toys, timepieces, jewel, silverware, kitchenware and clothing and accessories. There were also limitless promotional items available targeted at the corporate market or premiums market, which source gift items in Hong Kong from stationery to photo frames, jewelry boxes to artificial flowers, candles to soaps, and other giveaways.
“The Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair is the largest fair of its kind in the world, making it a benchmarking event for both product and market trends,” HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau explained to overseas journalists at a press conference on opening day.
“On-site surveys showed a more optimistic outlook on the market compared to last year. The economy of the Chinese mainland has maintained a higher growth rate this year and the number of Chinese mainland buyers recorded a considerable increase. The number of buyers from Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Russia, Spain and Brazil also recorded double-digit growth as well,” he added.
This year, the fair also successfully launched the Startup Zone to provide new companies the opportunity to participate. A total of 20 startups from Hong Kong, the mainland and Taiwan came on board promoting a diverse range of products including original cartoon characters, designer jewelry to art décor.
One of the companies in the category, Kazoo Technology (Hong Kong) Limited, developed “smart cards” that store information readable by mobile device touch screens, ideal for use in gaming, marketing and corporate networking. Kendall Lo, the company’s co-founder and CEO happily informed The Manila Times that from the second day of the fair, he had already met potential buyers and partners from Australia, Canada, the mainland, Germany, Malaysia and Russia.
“The reason [for the interest]is that we have shown the buyers a very unique gift in our touch screen-readable smart cards, which are a perfect next generation gift. With it, customers can use iPads or tablets to visit the websites of promoting companies using Kazoo’s technology just by tapping the card on the screen to get information or even promotional offers,” Lo added.
Hong Kong exhibitor, PO: Selected, on the other hand introduced an innovation via a thermo mug with a two-way tealeaf compartment that allows users to control brewing strength and time.
“We attracted a huge interest from many buyers. In the first three hours of the fair, we established contacts with about 50 buyers from the mainland, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America,” Wilson Wong, PO’s head of business said.
To cater to buyer demand for branded products, the Hall of Fine Designs also showcased 130 items from some 70 local and overseas companies. Among the exhibitors were Kool, a kitchen and dining products brand; Nu Design, a leather goods and stationery brand; Premec, a luxury pen brand from Switzerland; and Sol’s, an outdoor sports equipment brand from France.
The rest of the zones were comprised of Corporate Gifts, Green Gifts, Tech Gifts, Luggage and Travel Goods, Figurines and Decorations, Licensed Gifts, and Hair Ornament & Accessories.
Printing and packaging
Giftware need equally fine packaging, which is why HKTDC simultaneously held the 12th Hong Kong International Printing and Packaging Fair on the same dates, in cooperation with CIEC Exhibition Company (HK) Limited.
The fair featured more than 440 exhibitors from eight countries and regions, showcasing a broad spectrum of printing and packaging solutions. Catering to printing and packaging needs of different industries, the fair comprised the De Luxe Zone, the Green Printing and Packaging Solutions zone, the Food and Beverage Packaging Solutions zone, and two new zones, the Printing and Packaging Solutions for Fashion and Accessories and Innovative Retail Display Solutions.