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Content fairs go digital

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Empowering SMEs to capture opportunities amid challenges



The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) had to think on its feet and move quickly to adapt early this year as the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to international travel and even movement between Hong Kong and Mainland China.

The HKTDC consolidated product fairs into a series of online shows, including the recent HKTDC Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE. The Council is also digitising conferences and exhibitions that focus on services, with five such events being rolled out in December.

HKTDC SmartBiz Expo
A flight simulator at last year’s HKTDC SmartBiz Expo

The HKTDC SmartBiz Expo, HKTDC Hong Kong International Franchising Show, Business of IP Asia Forum (BIP Asia Forum), DesignInspire and Asian E-tailing Summit take place virtually in early December. Through these brand-new online platforms, numerous industry elite speakers will share on how medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply innovative technologies and creative thinking to address the challenges of an evolving market landscape during the pandemic and beyond.

“In light of the global pandemic, several HKTDC events are going online but this doesn’t impede our efforts to provide the latest market information and create business networking opportunities,” said HKTDC Assistant Executive Director Stephen Liang.

“We have been encouraged by the way different industries have proactively participated in our online activities, which helped them make good progress even under the current difficult situation,” he added. “In order to enhance the competitiveness of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the HKTDC is staging virtual events about e-commerce, digital transformation, franchising, intellectual property (IP) and creative design in December. Our goal is to help companies continue to grasp new business opportunities under the new normal."

Reimagine and Reinvent

The fourth edition of the HKTDC SmartBiz Expo and sixth Hong Kong International Franchising Show will be held online from 2 to 4 December, providing a one-stop platform to support SMEs in exploring innovative business solutions and management optimisation technologies that can enhance both productivity and competitiveness.

Under the theme "Reimagine‧Reinvent", SmartBiz Expo will bring industry leaders together to share their insights at a series of webinars covering areas such as the stay-at-home economy, challenges under the new normal, boosting productivity, and capturing new business opportunities.

The first webinar on day one will be "T-Chat: Riding the wave of the Stay-at-Home Economy and Managing a Remote Business”, with “T” standing for “transformation”. Robert Glazer, Founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, will share insights into corporate cultures under work-from-home arrangements, human resource (HR) transformation and supporting corporations in adjusting to the new normal. Not only is Mr Glazer a renowned thought leader in corporate culture, he is also a bestselling author and renowned speaker. He ranked second on Glassdoor’s list of top CEOs for SMEs in 2018, and was on the Forbes list of 20 Speakers for 2017.

Stay at home

Many people showed a preference for staying at home during the pandemic, with e-commerce platforms helping users to efficiently access all basic necessities. This in turn boosted the development of the stay-at-home economy, where enterprises need to attract customers looking to shop from home and upgrade their delivery and pickup processes at the same time. This trend will be examined in a SmartBiz Expo webinar titled "Winning the E-Commerce Race – Re-creating a Brand New Customer Experience". Gordon Lam, Board Executive Director at Bonjour Holdings Limited, and Angel Cheng, Business Development Manager at Starling Labs Limited (SHOPLINE), will share their thinking on the growth of the stay-at-home economy and the market strategies that can help enterprises capture opportunities. In another webinar, "Redefining Work under COVID-19", Peter Lee, Head of Corporate Business at Microsoft Hong Kong Limited, will examine the technological ways to enhance corporate productivity under work-from-home arrangements.

Other webinars at the expo will focus on e-commerce, marketing, artificial intelligence (AI) and big-data applications, cyber security, domestic sales and 5G technology. The SmartBiz Expo also includes activities related to corporate transformation, with various seminars, programmes and workshops supporting SMEs to be future-ready.

In addition, a one-year online promotion programme called "Connect with Smart Advisors" will be launched, enabling innovation and technology experts to virtually demonstrate products and technological solutions on the websites of SmartBiz Expo, Hong Kong International Franchising Show and Sourcing (the HKTDC’s online marketplace), helping SMEs seize new business opportunities in the face of the pandemic.

Key to innovation

Addressing the importance of IP trading and research collaborations in corporate development and adaptation to changes, the 10th BIP Asia Forum will be held from 3 to 4 December under theme “Open Innovation: Driving Collaboration in Times of Change”. Jointly organised by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the HKTDC and the Hong Kong Design Centre, the two-day event will feature about 60 international IP experts and business leaders sharing on the latest industry trends.

Collaboration is essential during these challenging times, with many businesses having to make significant changes in order to survive. This development will be in focus at the keynote session on the first day of the forum, which will look at how open innovation drives collaboration at this critical juncture. Yancey Strickler, Co-Founder and Former CEO of Kickstarter, will share his experience in creating Kickstarter, a global crowdfunding platform that has brought innovators together and created value through innovation and partnerships.

As companies face up to increasingly fierce global competition, establishing new ways of collaboration between nations, industries and individuals has become a vital business strategy. This topic will be explored at a 3 December plenary session themed "Creating IP Value through Collaboration". It will feature a discussion from industry experts including John Mulgrew, VP, Deputy General Counsel & Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Lenovo; Christina Petersson, Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Ericsson; and Beat Weibel, Chief IP Counsel and Group Senior Vice President, Siemens AG.

At the Global Tech Summit on the second day of the forum, Li Zexiang and Gary Chan, professors from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, will be joined by Alexander Ng, Vice President of Tencent Healthcare, to discuss emerging technologies that are likely to reshape economies and redefine industries.

Complementing the forum’s main programme, a new session called InspoTalk will be launched on 2 December, the day before the event opens. It will feature industry experts discussing a range of IP-related topics, such as working with social media influencers, and the challenges and opportunities resulting from the pandemic.

This year’s forum will also launch the third edition of the open innovation competition “IPHatch Hong Kong”, which features past winners and IP experts from renowned technology companies as speakers. They will share on ways to enhance corporate value and realise growth potential. The 2020 competition will spotlight digitalisation, smart city and the internet of things; with participating start-ups encouraged to unleash their creativity and expand existing patented technologies into new business areas.

Marketing strategies

Asian E-tailing Summit
Nearly 40 speakers from around the world will share their insights at the Asian E-tailing Summit

E-tailing is a rapidly developing industry that offers business opportunities to enterprises – a development spotlighted at the Asian E-tailing Summit. Under the theme of “Embracing Change and Unlocking Opportunities in the New Digital World”, this year’s summit will be held online from 9 to 11 December, serving as a one-stop platform for participants to explore the latest e-tailing trends.

To keep enterprises abreast of the latest developments, nearly 40 speakers from around the world will share insights. The summit’s first session, "Cross-border E-commerce in the New Digital Era", will feature heavyweight speakers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan. They will examine a go-to-market strategy that enables companies to reach scattered markets through a cost-effective cross-border e-commerce model. Nitin Navneet Tatiwala, Marketing Managing Director for Product, Solutions & eCommerce for the AMEA (Asia, Middle East and Africa) region at FedEx Express, will describe how an international logistics service provider helps online merchants expand into new markets and speed up the flow of products to customers around the world through cross-border e-commerce. This will be followed by the "Seeking Business Success in a Data-driven Economy" session, at which professionals from Singapore, the Philippines and Myanmar will explain how to use of data analytics to optimise business operations, improve efficiency and identify new opportunities. Greg Wong, Director of Analytics, Platform and Technology for the Centre of Excellence at SAP Greater China, will depict the importance of data analytics for achieving market leadership.

Blockchain could reshape CRM

Blockchain technology, which provides a methodology for storing and using customer profile data that has the potential to reshape the field of customer relationship management (CRM), will be examined at a session titled "Blockchain’s Role in Customer Relationship Management", where local start-ups and experts from Germany and Vietnam will look into how the technology can improve current CRM systems and solve some of the supply chain-related issues faced by enterprises.

The second day of the summit will feature three sessions, namely "The Rise and the Reach of Mobile Commerce", "Making the Customer Journey a Personal Experience" and "Navigating the Future of Omnichannel". At the first session, Kazuhisa Iwamoto, Director, Business Creation Department, Smart-Life Division, NTT DOCOMO INC, will explain how 5G can contribute to the development of mobile commerce, while a representative from United States e-commerce expert And Luxe Inc will analyse how mobile commerce is tapping into the huge mobile-user market, with demonstrations of live-stream shopping. The second session will see Japanese personal care brand Sparty share on how it creates tailor-made messages and content in digital customer engagement strategies. The third session will feature a leading Nigerian omnichannel fashion store, PayPorte, whose founder and CEO Eyo Bassey will explore how businesses can adopt omnichannel strategies to connect with customers and stay competitive as e-commerce evolves.

On the summit’s final day, Euromonitor International, Shopify and other online marketing firms will provide advisory services to companies that are interested in setting up e-commerce platforms. Attendees can also consult experts in a question-and-answer session, getting real-time suggestions on developing an e-commerce business.

Global creativity

DesignInspire will be held online from 3 to 9 December to showcase outstanding designs, award-winning projects and creative solutions for the design industry. Open to both industry players and the general public, the virtual exhibition will help to boost business for the sector as well as offering a new kind of creative experience to the public. Running under the theme “Design for Good”, the event will focus on how design can contribute positive energy to individuals, the broader community and the business world. This one-week showcase will feature captivating designer projects and stories while offering fun interactive experiences and a range of inspiring talks and creative workshops.

Related links
HKTDC SmartBiz Expo
HKTDC Hong Kong International Franchising Show
Business of IP Asia Forum
Asian E-tailing Summit

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