Hong Kong International Hardware and Home Improvement Fair

The hardware and lighting businesses are booming in Hong Kong. Lesley Hetherington reports…

The future is looking bright for the lighting and hardware industries with a record attendance of more than 1,100 exhibitors at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair and Hardware and Home Improvement Fair.

Caption: Anne Chick with three of the foreign journalists covering the Fair

Although, it must be said, this Fair, held at the impressive Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, is definitely more about lighting than hardware. The Lighting Fair, which is the largest trade event of its kind in Asia, and the second largest in the world, attracted 1,035 exhibitors from 27 countries. By comparison, the Hardware Fair attracted 150-plus exhibitors.

Overall, the show was a huge success for its organizers – the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. A total of 24,000 buyers visited the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair, about 60% of whom were out-of-town visitors. The strong turnout reaffirms Hong Kong’s status as the sourcing hub of lighting goods in Asia.

Total attendance increased by 8.2%; buyers from places outside Hong Kong was up 12% and the number of HK buyers increased by 3.2%. The Top 10 visiting countries/ regions (excluding Hong Kong) were the Chinese mainland, the US, Taiwan, Japan, the UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, Korea and Singapore. In addition, major exports regions registered growth: Asia (+14.8%), Europe (+12.2%), North America (+3.6%), Australia and Pacific Island (1.8%). Key visitors to the show include builders, architects, interior designers, hardware wholesalers, retailers and agents.

Sanitary World had a broad selection of bathroom products

Sanitary World had a broad selection of bathroom products

Certainly, both industries are thriving and share synergies. In the first eight months of 2005, Hong Kong’s global exports of building materials (including hardware) grew by 12% to US$6,784 million, while in the same period, Hong Kong’s lighting exports rose by 3%, to reach $US 1 billion. Hong Kong companies respond swiftly to consumers’ needs to stay ahead in what is an an increasingly-competitive business. “The products we see here are the result of quick, flexible manufacturing methods and modern approaches to quality control,” said Fred Lam, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. According to Anne Chick, the Director of Communications for the HKTDC, they are trying to increase the number of hardware exhibitors, although she admitted they face stiff competition. The most significant competition comes from the Canton Show which is run at the same time of the year and has the advantage of being in existence for more than 50 years. Further competition comes from Practical World Asia, held in Shanghai. Another factor that may hinder the growth of the hardware show in Hong Kong is the fact that many Hong Kong companies are relocating their manufacturing facilities to mainland China for cost and environmental reasons. The Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA Phase 2) which came into effect in January, 2005, has further liberalised the mainland market for Hong Kong companies.

To read more about the Hong Kong Show, read it on pages 58-9 in the December 2005 issue