CN – This year’s 29th edition of the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, according to own accounts the “biggest fair of its kind in the world,” was scheduled from April 27-30 in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). The fair set a new exhibitor record, even if the total exhibition space occupied was down slightly compared to last year (from 77,245 down to 75,049 m² according to the official sources). “We are proud to announce a new exhibitor record of 4,132 exhibitors from 35 countries and regions,” explained Benson Pau, Vice Chairman of the Hong Kong Exporters` Association, which was founded in 1955 and which organisers the trade fair in cooperation with the HKTDC that was founded in 1966.
This year there were 15 country pavilions. The “Hall of Fine Designs” was also once more staged in Hall 1. According to the organisers, over 140 brands exhibited in this zone, including renowned names such as Moleskine, Nina Ricci, PSL, Cerruti 1881, Panda-a-Panda, Prodir, Senator and XD Design. “Here in Hall 1, we reach an even better audience and can optimally demonstrate our strengths – i.e. our unique, innovative digital printing technology,” explained Erik Kok from Senator.
The majority of the exhibitors (1,125) came from mainland China, followed by Taiwan (491), India (127) and Korea (84). Special attention was placed on the opening of the Indonesian Pavilion this year – the opening ceremony was namely attended by high-ranking ministers, who also took advantage of this occasion to sign a bilateral trade agreement. Benjamin Chau, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director: premium fair 2014 “The trade agreement was signed in order to promote the mutual exchange and the bilateral trade relations. At the same time, Indonesian companies were offered a platform to market their products worldwide.“
Together with the Asia World-Expo (held at the airport), the International Printing & Packaging Fair that was staged parallel – over 400 exhibitors were officially recorded at the 9th edition – more than 65,000 visitors from 151 countries and regions attended the two product shows, which is also a new record (2013: 62,000 visitors).
According to the official figures, over 51,000 visitors attended the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair alone (2013: 50,205), which may surprise some of the exhibitors and visitors, because especially on the first and last day of the fair one had the impression that the halls were not as well frequented as in the past. Some of the exhibitors confirmed a decline in the number of visitors from Europe, which is attributable to the impact of the European financial crisis, which still hasn’t been overcome everywhere as well as due to the tense situation in Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, overall the exhibitors were satisfied.
Wojciech Pawłowski, badge4u: “It is ultimately conducive for the good reputation of our company, if we are able to state that we not only exhibit at diverse European fairs, but also here in Hong Kong. This puts us in a different light in the eyes of our customers.“
Diederik van Styrum, XD Design, who impressed with an attractively designed stand in Hall 1 was also very content: “We were able to welcome numerous international visitors for instance from the USA, New Zealand, the Arabic world and Australia at our stand, who were very interested in our eco-products and new designs.“
Special highlights at the Gifts & Premium Fair were in general the stands in the “Hall of Fine Designs” and in the “World of Gift Ideas“, both of which were located in Hall 1. Here famous exhibitors presented their products at correspondingly elaborate, CI-conform individual stands. The visitors not only encountered innovative products here, but also new ideas and in some come cases surprising and inspiring design interpretations.
The still young “Small Order Zone” in the lobby of the main entrance was expanded and further professionalised, over 4,000 products were exhibited in 400 display cases. Over 23,000 buyers visited this zone and according to the organisers, over 40,000 enquiries were generated.
In addition, three new zones were introduced this year: “Christmas Lighting” demonstrated Xmas lighting solutions for the private and commercial sectors. Diverse souvenirs as mementos of events, trips and shows were presented in the “Travel Souvenirs Piazza”. Finally, the “Avenue of Inspiration” offered young companies and their designs the opportunity to become internationally well-known and gain success.
The award-ceremony of the “Hong Kong Smart Gifts Design Award,” which was held on the Panorama Terrace of the HKCEC on the evening of the first day of the fair, which offers a fantastic view over Hong Kong in the evening, proved to be a particular highlight. These awards were presented for the third time in succession, the competition was organised by the Hong Kong Exporters` Association in cooperation with the Hong Kong Design Institute. Ready-forthe market, innovative design ideas were distinguished.
As in the past, a multi-faceted seminar, lecture and discussion programme was held parallel to this year’s edition of the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair. As opposed to previous years, the mostly bilingual events were not held in separate rooms, but were indeed integrated into heart of the trade fair activities – on a specially installed areal in the centre of Hall 1. The respective themes that were presented by a bilingual host and professionally staged had been announced well in advance. The accompanying lecture programme was well-attended, however although encouraged and desired, very few questions were posed by the audience.
The 29th edition of the fair evidently satisfied all the expectations of the visitors – the atmosphere at the stands, in the aisles and during the events was extremely relaxed. The visitors were offered an abundance of ideas, technical gadgets, environmentally- friendly gifts and individual custom-made designs. The trends of the last years – for example iPhone and tablet accessories, electronic products or eco-products made out of recycled, eco-friendly materials or sustainable products that are kind to the environment, which were found in the “Tech Gifts” and “Green Gifts” zones – proved to be a great attraction once again.
The strong, in some cases loud, bright colours present among many of the product groups were noteworthy.
However, the data communicated by the HKTDC regarding the trade volume only gives cause for cautious optimism and certainly not for euphoria for the international market for gifts & premiums: In 2013, the overall exports of gifts & premiums from Hong Kong totalled 189 billion HK $, which corresponds to around 24 billion US $ and an increase of only 1% compared to the previous year.
As a reminder: In the year 2011, an increase of 14.2% was recorded compared to the previous year. What’s more, for the first two months of the current year in comparison to the first two months of last year, a decline has even been confirmed for the overall export volume of gifts & premiums from Hong Kong: The volume shrank by 6% down to 26 billion HK $ (3.3 billion. US $).
Incidentally, a survey carried out by the HKTDC in February earlier this year provides interesting findings on the giftware industry in Hong Kong: www.hktdc.com/research.