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Hong Kong Fairs Remain Strong Despite Competition
Attendance Among Overseas Buyers up at TDC Autumn Trade Fairs


November 8, 2007 - Buyers from around the world flocked to Hong Kong's trade fairs in October and into the first week of November, a peak season for Hong Kong fairs. Attendance among overseas buyers at the nine trade fairs organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) during this period rose by an average of 10 per cent - despite the perception that Hong Kong's trade fairs are under threat by competing events in neighbouring cities.

The Hong Kong International Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition), electronicAsia, Hong Kong International Lighting Fair, Hong Kong International Hardware and Home Improvement Fair, and Hong Kong Optical Fair were held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). AsiaWorld-Expo was the venue for the TDC's other recent fairs: the Hong Kong International Furniture Fair, Hong Kong International Building Materials and Construction Equipment Fair, Eco Expo Asia and the inaugural Sports Source Asia.

According to the TDC, exhibitors and buyers from outside Hong Kong attending the nine fairs brought HK$2 billion in business travel to the city's economy.

The increased interest among overseas buyers was attributed to several factors:

Optimism in the European Union, Asian and Emerging Markets: The strong Euro helped boost the economy of EU countries, despite the gloomy economic situation in the United States caused by the prime mortgage rate problem. Asian and other emerging markets are performing well. These and other factors triggered strong demand for such household goods as furniture, lighting and hardware products.

While Hong Kong's exports to the US recorded minimal growth in the first nine months of 2007, exports to other markets rose across the board: Euro zone, up 6.4 per cent; ASEAN, up 13.7 per cent; the Chinese mainland, up 14 per cent; Russia and Central and Eastern European countries, up 29 per cent; the Middle East, up 19.7 per cent.

New Sourcing Opportunities: TDC Assistant Executive Director Raymond Yip pointed out that four of the eight fairs held in October were new. The Furniture Fair, Building Materials Fair and Eco-Expo Asia made their debuts only last year, while Sports Source Asia was launched this year. The enthusiastic response from international buyers at these fairs underlines Hong Kong's role as an international trade fair and sourcing hub.

The TDC organised most of these new fairs with local and international groups to further support Hong Kong's exhibition sector. "Hong Kong's industry and trade sectors are diversifying their products and markets, and trade fairs are helping to speed up this process," said Mr Yip.

Seven of the TDC's mega-trade shows at the HKCEC have the potential of growing much larger, occupying more than 100,000 square metres of floor space, if such space becomes available in the future, Mr Yip added. According to a TDC study, overseas buyers visit trade fairs in Hong Kong for a number of reasons:

1. Hong Kong fairs provide a wider choice of goods and exhibitors, especially where products of quality design and brand names are concerned. The TDC's recent trade fairs attracted such buyers as B&Q, Kmart, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, IKEA, Ace Hardware, Circuit City, Cantire, Tesco, Carrefour, MGB Metro, Karstadt Quelle and Don Quijote.
2. Hong Kong fairs offer a wider choice of specialty products than their regional counterparts, even though some of the regional fairs may be larger. Hong Kong's electronics, gift, lighting and garment fairs are still the biggest in Asia.
3. Hong Kong fairs provide dependable intellectual property rights protection.
4. Hong Kong has reasonably good hotel accommodation. While room shortage is a concern, the situation continues to improve: 18 new hotels were built in the past two years, and an additional 15,000 rooms will come on stream over the next four years, bringing the room total to 59,000.
5. Hong Kong is a convenient and accessible business centre, with excellent air transport connectivity, security, English language fluency and an attractive, tariff-free system.

The TDC, said Mr Yip, will continue to expand its trade fair portfolio, enlisting the support of the community to enlarge Hong Kong's downtown exhibition facilities.

Spending Patterns: Exhibitors and Buyers

Exhibitors from outside HK
Buyers from outside HK
Local transportation
Leisure and shopping
(Source: TDC survey)

Media Enquiries
Please contact the TDC's Media and Public Affairs Department:

Beatrice Lam
Tel: (852) 2584 4049/9036 0212
Email: beatrice.hy.lam@tdc.org.hk

Lawrence Yau
Tel: (852) 2584 4510/9652 6318
Email: lawrence.yau@tdc.org.hk

About the TDC
Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 offices worldwide, including 11 in the Chinese mainland, the TDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and Asia. The TDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, visit www.tdctrade.com

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