CN – The huge glass, steel and concrete building of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in Wan Chai, where this year’s Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair was staged from April 27-30, has been under constant construction over the past years in the effort to create more capacity. The meanwhile 28th edition of this trade show, which confidently and quite rightly refers to itself as “The world`s largest gifts and premium trade fair“, once again set new records and satisfied its own high demands in the process. The trade fair is organised by the HKTDC, founded in 1966, under the direction of its Chairman Jeffrey Lam in cooperation with the Hong Kong Exporter`s Association.
Record number of exhibitors
According to the official figures an increase in the number of exhibitors was definitely registered: Precisely 4,128 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions presented their goods and services (2012: approx 4,100 exhibitors). This year there were 16 country pavilions, including one from Germany again. The highest number of exhibitors came from Hong Kong (2,200), followed by 957 exhibitors from the Chinese mainland and 464 Taiwanese companies.
In 2012, 47,048 visitors attended the fair (2011: 46,019). This year the official attendance figures of the Gifts & Premium will also include the visitors of the simultaneously held Asia World-Expo, the printing and packaging show that is also organised by the HKTDC – according to their accounts the show boasted 360 exhibitors: Together the two fairs attracted over 62,000 buyers, who had the opportunity to visit 4,500 exhibitors.
At the start of the show several exhibitors voiced the opinion that there were fewer visitors. Toey Ma of the HKTDC: “There were fewer regional buyers among the pre registrations in the run-up to the show.“
The market experts assume that this was due to the partial clash with the Gifts & Home Fair held in Shenzhen from April 25-28, 2013. The show organised by Reed Exhibitions describes itself as mainland “China`s Largest Business Gifts, Premium & Home Fair“. Over 3,300 exhibitors presented their array of products at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Centre on exhibition space spanning 115,000 m².
It is therefore quite feasible that as a result among others buyers from the surrounding region decided to visit the HK Gifts & Premium Fair later.
The exhibitors once again confirmed that there was a decline in the number of visitors from Europe, obviously as a result of the current crisis. There were fewer visitors from Portugal, Greece, Spain and Italy as well as from the UK.
Nonetheless, the show is of course still an obligatory venue for promotional products players and retailers from all over the world – this fair is indispensable for people, who are interested in discovering new designs, ideas and brands rather than just new products. Armin Rigoni, heri: “We didn’t exhibit last year or the year before, but are participating in the German Pavilion this year. In addition to the international promotional products distributors, we are also particularly interested in the non- European retailers.“
“You meet people here in Hong Kong who don’t travel to Düsseldorf,“ confirmed Michael Nick, Senator. “For example here we reach diverse non-European customers from the USA, the Arab world, Australia and New Zealand.“
This year’s edition of the HK Gifts & Premium Fair occupied Halls 1, 3 and 5, which were in turn subdivided up, as well as additional surfaces in the Convention Hall & Foyer, Expo Drive Hall, Grand Hall & Grand Foyer.
The “Small Order Zone“ at the Expo Drive Entrance that was newly introduced in 2012 was further expanded this year. This is a special exhibition zone for suppliers, who offer products that can be delivered in small quantities. Comprising of over 320 show-cases according to the official figures, this area proved to be extremely popular: 22,000 buyers generated 26,000 enquiries in the “Small Order Zone” during the course of the 4-day trade fair. So, the organisers had obviously assessed the needs of the market correctly. There were several new exhibition zones too, where special product segments were on display, for example the “Jewellery Galleria“, “Scarves & Ties“ or “Sunglasses“.
Once again and as always one of the highlights of the event: The “Hall of Fine Designs“ and the even further differentiated “World of Gift Ideas“ segment, both of which were located in Hall 1. Here, the professionalism and high quality of the exhibitors was particularly noticeable. Top brands exhibited at correspondingly elaborate, individual and CI-compatible stands in this hall – although it must be noted that they were not only limited to this hall – incidentally Swarovski occupied the largest stand of all. In Hall 1 the visitors encountered not only innovative products, but also new ideas, creative approaches and in some cases amazingly inspiring design interpretations.
It is therefore not at all surprising that – as in previous years – a presentation stage was erected in the “Hall of Fine Designs“, where new products and services were introduced by experienced presenters.
The Hong Kong Smart Gifts Design Award organised by the Hong Kong Exporter`s Association, which was initiated last year for the first time was conducted again in 2013. The awardwinning products of the HK Smart Gifts Design Award 2013 were presented with great attention to detail to the public in a special area in Hall 5. The trade fair was accompanied by an informative, in some cases multi-language seminar and lecture programme, addressing for example themes such as “Potential and new Trends in the Gifts & Premium Industry“, which was wellattended.
The 28th edition of the show evidently satisfied the expectations of the visitors – the mood in the aisles, at the stands and at the various events held during the fair was extremely relaxed and positive. Good business is obviously expected.
And if we take the HKTDC’s official figures regarding exports from Hong Kong as an indicator, these expectations are by no means unfounded, even if the growth rates are lower than in the past: The entire exports of gifts & premiums from Hong Kong in 2012 totalled 188 billion HK $, which corresponds to 24 bill. US $ and a 6% increase compared to 2011 (whereby compared to 2010, the increase in 2011 was indeed 14.2%). In the first two months of the current year gifts and premiums to the value of 27 bill. HK $ (3.5 bill. US $) were exported, which represented after all a 7% increase in comparison to the same period of the previous year. Figures which give cause for optimism, at a time when most of the European economic sectors can only dream of such growth rates.