Online-and-offline fair helps businesses capture new opportunities

As global sourcing becomes increasingly digitalised in the wake of the pandemic, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is debuting the HKTDC International Sourcing Show, a trade exhibition held in both online and physical formats, to help businesses adjust to the new sourcing model. The online section of the show begins tomorrow (17 March) and will enable buyers and suppliers to engage through a dedicated online exhibition platform that also features business matching and video conferencing tools. Once the pandemic situation eases, businesses can join the physical show at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from 26 to 29 July to explore further opportunities.

In response to the pandemic’s impact on trade exhibitions globally, the HKTDC is debuting the HKTDC International Sourcing Show that will be held in both online and physical formats. The online section of the show begins tomorrow (17 March). At an online media briefing held today to introduce the event, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau gave an overview of the show’s highlights.
As the pandemic continues to keep people apart, the online International Sourcing Show enables buyers and suppliers to conduct meetings and stay connected through an exclusive online exhibition platform that offers business matching and video conferencing functions. Once the pandemic situation has eased, businesses can join the physical show at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 26 to 29 July to explore further opportunities.
In addition to exhibiting in the usual formats, some exhibitors have opted to use 3D virtual booths to promote their brands and products in more eye-catching ways.

Hybrid sourcing model to become standard under new normal
Over the past year, numerous physical exhibitions around the world have been cancelled or rescheduled due to the pandemic. The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) estimates that the industry contracted by 68% globally in 2020 compared to the previous year, affecting deals worth around US$370 billion. Despite this challenging environment, many Hong Kong businesses reacted quickly, beginning to promote their products through online platforms to gain new customers and orders. The HKTDC reacted to the situation with a flexible and innovative approach, strengthening its online services and migrating physical fairs online. It also launched an upgraded hktdc.com Sourcing platform that has won the support of suppliers and buyers alike.

Benjamin Chau, Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC, said: “Although the global pandemic situation remains volatile, the release of COVID-19 vaccines and the commencement of mass vaccination programmes make us optimistic that trade activities can begin to return to normal. However, we believe that international trade exhibitions will continue to be held online through the first half of 2021. Even when the pandemic eases, we expect a hybrid model of online and offline sourcing to become a dominant trend.”

He added: “To help Hong Kong businesses adapt to an increasingly digitalised sourcing model, the HKTDC has set up quality online platforms and support services and has leveraged e-commerce capabilities and new technologies to provide a seamless online-to-offline (O2O) experience for suppliers and buyers. The online-and-offline model of the International Sourcing Show will create synergy between the two exhibition formats. We will also mobilise the HKTDC’s network of 50 offices worldwide to help exhibitors and buyers make the best possible preparations.”

  • Four themed categories highlight quality lifestyle products and solutions
    The International Sourcing Show is the first online-and-offline exhibition organised by the HKTDC. With the theme “Your Source of Inspiration”, the show integrates the seven HKTDC trade fairs* that were originally scheduled to run in spring 2021. From tomorrow (17 March) to 29 July, the show will highlight a broad range of quality lifestyle products and solutions under four main categories:
  • Smart Home: Featuring an extensive selection of houseware, home textiles and furnishings, including household and furniture items.
  • Smart Play: Showcasing a range of baby products and toys and games, spanning baby care, nursery products and interactive and educational games.
  • Smart Style: Highlighting an eclectic mix of fashion products, gifts and premiums as well as printing and packaging solutions.
  • Smart Tech: Displaying a wide variety of tech products, including electronics, lighting and medical and healthcare products employing the latest technologies.

Businesses offered new product video production service
More than 1,400 companies from 20 countries and regions will exhibit at the show. Among them are 19 group pavilions, including the Department of Commerce of Jiangsu, Department of Commerce of Zhejiang Province, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and the Taiwan Toy & Children’s Article Manufacturers Association. In addition to exhibiting in the usual formats, some exhibitors have opted to use 3D virtual booths to promote their brands and products in more eye-catching ways. The HKTDC has also launched a product video production service to enable resource-strapped SMEs to design and produce videos to promote their products and help them catch the attention of buyers.

Webinars to help enhance marketing skills
The HKTDC has invited more than 60 industry luminaries to share their insights in 17 webinars. A number of highlighted webinars will be held during the first three days of the online show (17 to 19 March), including “International Sourcing Outlook”, “Survive and Thrive: Leveraging End-to-end E-commerce Solutions” and “Utilising Licensing to Expand Your Business”. This arrangement will allow buyers and exhibitors more time to focus on business matching on subsequent days of the online show (that is, from 22 to 31 March).

Highlighted speakers include Devin Dai, Director of Category Management at Alibaba.com, Shinya Hisanaga, Director of Buying and Logistics at AEON Stores (Hong Kong), Flavien Serra, Founder of DTL Sourcing, Fione Tan, Co-founder of 28Mall.com, and Benson Ng, Hong Kong Business Consulting Leader at EY.

To help SMEs gear up for the new O2O hybrid sourcing model, the HKTDC is also launching the “Let’s Go Phygital: Power Up for the New Normal” seminar series with the support of AsiaWorld-Expo and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The first round of seminars will be held in March during the International Sourcing Show and will include sessions such as “International Sourcing Outlook” and “Survive and Thrive: Leveraging End-to-end E-commerce Solutions”.

Furthermore, the show will continue to feature Click2Match, an AI-powered online business matching platform. Buyers and suppliers can use the tool to enjoy functions such as a meeting planner, video meetings, live chat and e-business card exchange, helping them to overcome barriers under the pandemic and build business connections around the world.

* The seven fairs are: the HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair, HKTDC Hong Kong Houseware Fair, HKTDC Hong Kong International Home Textiles & Furnishing Fair, HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week, HKTDC Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, and the Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair. The latter event is co-organised by the HKTDC and CIEC Exhibition Co (HK) Ltd.

Websites:
International Sourcing Show: https://isshow.hktdc.com/online/en/
hktdc.com Sourcing: https://sourcing.hktdc.com/
Photo download: https://bit.ly/3lf9iHE

About the HKTDC
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly SMEs, in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via trade publications, research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn

Media enquiries
Please contact the HKTDC’s Communications & Public Affairs Department:
Janet Chan, Tel: +852 2584 4369, Email: janet.ch.chan@hktdc.org
Agnes Wat, Tel: +852 2584 4554, Email: agnes.ky.wat@hktdc.org