As the exhibitions industry moves through its third year of working amid COVID-19 restrictions, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has fine-tuned its online-physical hybrid exhibition model, rolling it out in time for its spring-summer events this year.
Organised by the HKTDC, the International Sourcing Show, which combined a physical fair with the new EXHIBITION+ (EPLUS) model, drew to a successful close on 15 July. More than 20,000 industry buyers attended the physical event and browsed products online. The event facilitated more than 5,000 business meetings, connecting exhibitors with global buyers both online and offline.
The show attracted more than 1,730 exhibitors from 12 countries and regions, presenting in excess of 83,000 products. It gathered seven HKTDC trade fairs under one umbrella – the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition), Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Spring Edition), Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, Hong Kong Houseware Fair, Hong Kong Fashion Week, Hong Kong International Home Textiles and Furnishings Fair, and the Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair (jointly organised by the CIEC Exhibition Company (HK) Limited).
EPLUS helped extend interactions between exhibitors and buyers to the online platform, helping enterprises to continue exploring “blue ocean” opportunities via the smart online business-matching platform Click2Match and hktdc.com Sourcing.
Participating exhibitors proactively used Click2Match to seek potential partners and took the initiative to arrange meetings with buyers from all over the world at their own convenience.
Sophia Chong, Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC, said: “As the first event to use the new EPLUS exhibition model, the International Sourcing Show has generated positive feedback from users. We are happy to see many exhibitors harness the platform to seize business opportunities, contact global buyers and facilitate order agreements around the clock and across borders. We will continue to use EPLUS in our upcoming trade fairs to further assist different sectors of Hong Kong business to connect with international buyers.”
Rosana Lau, Deputy Marketing Manager of Gold China Development Ltd, which specialises in the production of kitchenware, tableware and home-decoration items, explained that the company was looking for new local and overseas buyers through the International Sourcing Show. Using the HKTDC’s Click2Match platform, the firm arranged at least eight online meetings with overseas buyers from Brazil, Japan and the United States. Also, with the help of the HKTDC’s business matching team, they met potential buyers from hotel groups and premium online gift shops.
Lubee Chak, Brand Director of Louise Castle Company, a premium fashion brand for tailor-made men’s suits and accessories, said that in addition to talking to more than 10 buyers at the physical fair, the HKTDC’s business matching team helped the firm arrange online meetings with buyers from Hong Kong, Japan, Mainland China and Thailand, helping it to raise brand awareness and build a stronger foundation for future business development in overseas markets.
Beyond Li, General Manager, Zhejiang Jupeng Drinkware Co Ltd, a company specialising in manufacturing thermal mugs and sports water bottles, said that apart from displaying products at the physical fair of the show, the company also participated in the online fair to find new customers. They established a number of contacts through the physical fair and talked to around eight gift buyers from France, Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines via online meetings. Buyers from Hong Kong and France expressed an intention to place orders worth US$200,000 for their thermal mugs and sports water bottles. The show provided the company with an effective channel to find quality buyers and capture online-to-offline business opportunities.
The HKTDC organised two business networking sessions during the physical show to connect buyers and suppliers. Beattie Leung, Sales Manager at Shinzen International Ltd, a distributor and wholesaler of pet supplies and pet food, said the company wanted to add pet backpacks and pet toys to its portfolio and to develop new markets such as Mainland China and Southeast Asia. Through the business networking session, they connected with a potential supplier from which they planned to place an order of 1,000 pet backpacks. Ms Leung said her company felt comfortable working with Hong Kong suppliers because they were reliable and able to provide quality products.
Hector Pang, Chairman of the China Affairs Committee at SME Global Alliance, said the physical edition of the International Sourcing Show provided an ideal platform for its members with factories in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to find new suppliers of raw materials and identify business opportunities. The alliance found a suitable supplier of eco-friendly non-woven bags from the mainland and decided to place an order of 50,000 pieces that will be distributed to its members.
Reaching global buyers
The Department of Commerce of Zhejiang Province gathered exhibitors from the gifts and printing and packaging industries, forming the largest pavilion at the show. It was also the first time the Zhejiang Pavilion participated in the fair remotely. Ms Chong and Chen Zhicheng, Deputy Director General, Department of Commerce of Zhejiang Province, met online to officiate the launch of the Zhejiang Pavilion. Zhu Ying, Director of the Trade and Development Department, Department of Commerce of Zhejiang Province, and Zhang Shuangwen, General Manager of CIEC Exhibition Company (HK) Limited, also joined the ceremony and a group photo-taking session to commemorate the occasion. The opening ceremony can be viewed on the fair website and through the Click2Match platform.