CN – This year’s edition of the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, the 27th of its kind, was staged from April 27-30th, 2012. Once again the show, which confidently calls itself “The world’s largest gift fair“, was a superlative event. And this doesn’t just apply for its fascinating location in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).
The light-flooded exhibition complex made out of a mix of glass, steel and concrete has huge dimensions and is located on the offshore island Wan Chai. The building is not only fascinating to look at from the outside either. The impressive halls and seminar rooms with their professional equipment guarantee the smooth running of events and perfect exhibition spaces.
The impressive ambiance offers the appropriate setting for the leading show of the globally operating promotional products industry.
The platform for this year’s edition was the impressive interconnected halls, 1, 3 and 5 with additional exhibition surfaces in the Convention Hall & Foyer, Expo Drive Hall and in the Grande Hall & Grande Foyer.
Whereas in recent years the extensive expansion work to the building complex was in some cases still visible, it was the comprehensive construction work in the vicinity of the HKCEC that really stood out this year – massive construction machines and huge dredgers seemed to be in operation 24 hours a day.
The trade fair itself was not affected by the extensive construction and land reclamation work with the exception of the traffic hindrances it caused accessing and leaving the venue. Once again the “Hall of Fine Designs“ and the integrated extra “World of Gift Ideas” zone were particularly impressive. Both were located in Hall 1, where the constant high level of professionalism and quality of the exhibitors was extremely noticeable, because a lot of top brands showcased their products in this hall – although the brand names were not limited to this section of the show. In addition, Hall 1 also presented the visitors with genuine innovations, new ideas, creative approaches and in some cases spectacular design interpretations, which proved to be very inspiring.
The suppliers‘ individual stand constructions were correspondingly elaborate and generally CI-conform.
It is not by chance that a presentation stage had as in past years been specifically erected in the Hall of Fine Designs to introduce new products and services with the help of experienced presenters. The professional – and multilingual presentations attracted big crowds. For instance special products fromMalaysiawere demonstrated as well as a show onTaiwandesign.
A further highlight: For the first time ever the winners of the “Hong Kong Smart Gifts Design Award 2012“ were presented to a big audience.
The debut of this award was organised by the Hong Kong Exporters’ Association, the jury comprised of renowned experts. The winners were distinguished on the evening of the first exhibition day at a special award ceremony attended by a selected audience during the Networking Reception of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) of the export association.
Incidentally, the award-winning products were showcased throughout the duration of the show in a special exhibition in Hall 5E.
The Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair is organised by the HKTDC, founded in 1966, under the direction of its Chairman Jeffrey Lam and the Hong Kong Exporters’ Association. At this year’s Networking Party Lam was once again able to announce growth: Over 4,100 exhibitors presented their portfolio, 35 countries and regions were represented (2011: 4,070 exhibitors; 2010: 4,031 exhibitors). According to official statements released by the HKTDC the attendance figure was 47,048, i.e. more than last year (46,019), but less than in the trade show’s jubilee year in 2010, when 48,945 visitors were recorded.
Several exhibitors confirmed the decline in European visitors, which is evidently due to the crisis. There were particularly few Portuguese, Spanish, Greek and Italian visitors, but also theUKwas less well-represented than usual. It was positively emphasised that the stands were well frequented on the first day even though there was a clash of dates with the Canton Fair, which was still running on the first day of Gifts & Premiums.
As in the past there were diverse country pavilions –Germanyhas been represented for years. TheBruneiandPakistanpavilions were the newcomers this year.
The trade show also presented two completely new exhibition zones.
The premiere of the Small Order Zone was celebrated with an extremely prominent location in the “Expo Drive” entrance area. According to the organisers more than 100 companies presented over 1,000 products from the electronics, household and gifts sectors in this zone that was colour contrasted to make it stand out more. Low order volumes at competitive prices – a demand that is on the pulse of time. A further new exhibition zone, the iAccessories section in Hall B, which focused on products for smartphones and tablet computers, also met with the modern-day requirements and, as expected, it also had a high frequency of guests.
Products with integrated QR codes were almost omnipresent. Corresponding mascots and instruction labels explained the necessary process. This service was certainly appreciated by the visitors, and the exhibitors profited in turn.
A very well-attended, interesting, multilingual seminar and lecture programme scheduled spanning several days rounded off the package. For example there were lectures on product safety and testing processes, surveys on the market chances of trendy items and wellness products.
Quality & positive mood
Professional buyers and promotional products professionals often describe visiting the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair as a contrast programme to the Canton Fair held on the Chinese mainland. Whereas at the Canton Fair, which is held as a 3-phase trade show (in the meantime the Canton Fair lasts for six weeks including breaks for assembly and dismantling work), one is confronted with a huge, hardly manageable volume of products, which don’t always satisfy the Western standards, the situation in Hong Kong is totally different. There the Western standards are not just matched, indeed they are quite often exceeded. This also applies for the communications: InHong Kong, a former British colony, it is taken for granted that English is spoken and together with Chinese (Mandarin) it is the official language. This is why the trade show visitors are happy to accept the fact that it is not always the manufacturers themselves who exhibit inHong Kong, but instead frequently distributors or agencies as representatives of the actual suppliers. However, for those companies that are not purely looking to purchase specific products at the lowest price possible, but are instead interested in design, originality, creativity and innovation, as well as in clear, well laid-out structures and perfect organisation, the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair is an absolute obligatory event.
Apparently this edition of the trade show also managed to fulfil the expectations of the visitors – the mood in the aisles, at the stands and also during the numerous accompanying events was thoroughly relaxed, unconstrained and positive. The participants were obviously expecting good business. And if the official figures of the HKTDC on exports from Hong Kong are anything to go by, these expectations are certainly not unfounded: The overall exports of gifts & premiums from Hong Kong amounted to 177.8 billion HK Dollars in 2011, which is the equivalent to approx. 22.8 billion US Dollars and corresponds to a growth of 14.2% in comparison to 2010. From January to March 2012 the gifts & premium exports totalled 39.2 billion HK Dollars (approx. 5 billion US Dollars), which is 10.8% more than in the respective period of the previous year.
In other words figures that speak for a revival of the market, not only in Germany. Sche