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Rising Demand in Europe & the ASEAN Markets
Fuel HK's Optical Exports

HKOMA President Mr. Ng Hoi Ying and Vice President Chow Ching Lam touring the fair and trying on the latest optical frames. The special zone is decorated like a casino and displays the latest designs from 11 international eyewear brands including mikli, Marco Salgado, Sara eLiris, Edoryu, Japonism, Less Than Human, Masunaga, Ridol Titanium, Solid Blue, Yellow Plus, Gotti Niederer.
Mr. Ng Hoi Ying (2nd left) told the press that Hong Kong eyewear manufacturers have slimmer profit margins as production costs have gone up by 25%. He explained that this was due to the rising costs of raw materials, labour, and electricity. The appreciation of RMB has also been a significant factor.

Fuelled by rising demand in European and ASEAN markets, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), organiser of the Hong Kong Optical Fair 2005, expects a good turn out at this prominent trade event in Asia.

The fair this year breaks its 13-year record. It has attracted a total of 577 exhibitors from 20 countries and regions, around 10% increase over the last show.

Speaking at the fair's opening ceremony today (Nov 2), President of Hong Kong Optical Manufacturers Association Mr. Ng Hoi-ying said the global optical manufacturing and sourcing base had been shifted to Asia.

"In view of Asia's market potential, particularly the Chinese mainland, overseas counterparts are expanding their manufacturing and selling businesses in this region. Hong Kong has naturally become the most important eyewear sourcing centre," said Mr. Ng.

Hong Kong is now the world's second biggest eyewear exporter, ranked only after Italy. Mr. Ng pointed out that Hong Kong's eyewear manufacturers had been investing more to upgrade their technology and design. "Optical products have become more chic, lighter, more durable and well-received by overseas buyers. As a result, the industry stays highly competitive and continues to maintain its leading role," said Mr. Ng.

In the first three quarters this year, Hong Kong has exported HK$6.64 billion worth of spectacles, lenses and frames to the world. This represents an 11% growth over last year.

Hong Kong's spectacles, lenses and frames exports to the Chinese mainland, France and Italy recorded a 42%, 22% and 16% growth respectively. Hong Kong also sold 18% more optical goods to ASEAN markets.

Vice President of Hong Kong Optical Manufacturers Association Mr. Hui Leung-wah pointed out that mainland out-performs Hong Kong's major markets. He believed that the mainland could become the world's largest optical market.

According to TDC, there are a total of 300 million mainlanders in need of glasses and they would need to buy a new pair of spectacles every three years - that is an estimation of 100 million pairs of spectacles per year needed in the mainland market. Last year, Hong Kong exported HK$678 million worth of spectacles, lenses and frames to the Chinese mainland, a remarkable growth of 36% over 2003.

Mr. Hui said: "Hong Kong optical manufacturers should leverage on CEPA to expand their business in the thriving mainland market. Apart from establishing a better distribution network, they may also take part in the retail businesses to promote their branded spectacles."

This year, the TDC has invited eight mainland buying missions with more than 500 major buyers to the fair. They are distributors or representatives of chain stores from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Dalian.

The event also attracts first-time participants from Finland, Austria and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Group Pavilions from the Chinese mainland, France, Germany, Italy, the US, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan. They are displaying a full array of eyewear, sunglasses, goggles, contact lenses, frames, accessories and many others at the three-day show.

Two special zones launched last year return with more new features. The "Retail & Shop Design, Equipment & Technology Section" covers a wide range of exhibits, from furniture and fixtures, illuminations to point-of-sale equipment and technology, while the "Visionaries of Style - Enjoy Your Vision in Life" shows 11 elite international eyewear brands from France, Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia in an eye-catching setting.

Other highlights of the show include:

Seminars - Topics include eyewear trends, intellectual property rights protection and retail technology.

The 3rd Hong Kong Optometric Conference - Jointly organised by the Hong Kong Optometric Association, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the TDC, the conference take places on the second day of the fair (Nov 3). Six veteran speakers from Hong Kong, Australia, England and the US, including Dr. Andrew Lam Kwok-cheung, Dr. Larry Ng Hou-yan, Dr. Brian Brown, Mr. Peter Hendicott, Prof. Michel Milldot and Mr. Robert Chappell will share their insights on various optometric issues.

The 7th Hong Kong Eyewear Design Competition - Co-organised by the TDC and Hong Kong Optical Manufacturers Association, the contest has attracted over 120 entries. This year, the theme is "Infinite Style". All winning pieces and finalists of the three categories - corporate group, open group and student group - are on display at the fair throughout the fair period. Members of the Association will provide on-the-job training for winners of the open and student group. Employment opportunities may be offered to outstanding trainees who have successfully completed the training. The results are as follows:

Group

Prize

Designer/ Company

Title

Open Group

Champion

Arts Optical Co. Ltd

Twist & Turn

1st runner-up

Okia Optical Co. Ltd

To Evolve

2nd runner-up

Asia Optical Manufactory Ltd

A Healthy Fashion

Open Group

Champion
The greatest Creativity Award

Leung Kin Chong

at 4

1st runner-up

Wai Ching

rail

2nd runner-up

Chan Kai Ho

Sole

3rd runner-up

Chau To Wa

I-Style

Student Group

Champion

Chan Tat Fai
HKIVE (Shatin)

Downloading

1st runner-up

Or Shan Shan
HKIVE (Shatin)

Bi-leaves

2nd runner-up

Yau Man Sing
HKIVE (Tsing Yi)

Idea Free

3rd runner-up

Pak Wing Sze
HKIVE (Shatin)

Fabulous

Fair Website - www.hkopticalfair.com
HK Eyewear Design Competition - www.hkopticalfair.com/7thdesign_comp/cg.htm
Optical Exports Statistics - stat.tdctrade.com/monthly/prodt.htm
HK Optical Industry Profile - www.tdctrade.com/main/industries/t2_2_24.htm
Optical Vertical Portal in tdctrade.com - opticalgoods.tdctrade.com

For press enquiries, please contact TDC Corporate & Communication Department at 2584 4333.

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Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council