“Thanks to the quality and variety of its product offerings, the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair has again proved to be a valuable start to the trading season,” said Ms Judy Cheung, Deputy General Manager, Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd. “Hong Kong remains an effective commercial hub, and an ideal sourcing destination for the Asian market. The positive feedback that we have received from exhibitors – the majority of which are Asian SMEs – confirms the fair as an ideal platform for suppliers to find international distribution channels for their products.”
“Merchandisers are always extremely busy, so to be able to schedule four days to gather quality business contacts is great for our company. It puts us in a good position for the rest of the year,” said Mr David Williamson, the National Merchandise Manager of Office Choice, Australia.
Reflecting on a productive first morning of sourcing, he added: “I have made good contacts with around 20 suppliers from Mainland China and Korea in the school and educational stationery segments, and I will be back tomorrow to search for more.”
Mr Williamson was among thousands of visitors to find suppliers and strike up new relationships at the fair. Traveling from 113 different countries and regions, the fair drew 17,847 international distributors, retailers and related trade buyers including top ten visiting regions of Mainland China, Taiwan, Korea, the USA, Japan, Russia, India, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and Thailand.
According to Mr Bjornar H. Haug, the Manager of Orion AS, the fair’s strength is its position as a one-stop sourcing destination: “We return to the fair annually because every year we are able to find new and innovative stationery suppliers and gain a good understanding of how the stationery market is evolving. The Hong Kong International Stationery Fair is a great sourcing tool for our business.”
Exhibitors unveil green stationery and record good business results
Alongside the returning Korea Pavilion, DIY supplies, Gift Stationery, Kids & School, Pen & Paper and Smart Office were the key product zones at the fair. But despite being divided into different zones, the fair’s exhibitors were united in acknowledging a common theme: the rising demand for green stationery.
“A lot of customers require eco-friendly stationery, so we are increasingly incorporating sustainable materials into our products,” said Mr Kelvin K. Habibi, the Assistant Export Manager of PT. Solo Murni.
On the fair’s commercial advantages, he added: “We have been returning to the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair for more than 13 years because it’s a great place to conduct business at the beginning of each year.”
Another long-term exhibitor, Mr Scott Wen of Mirage International Industries was equally enthusiastic: “The visitors here are all serious buyers and they are ready to make orders and discuss cooperation. We keep returning to the fair because we have found all of our biggest customers here over the years, making up around 40% of our revenue.”
Although highly significant, the professionalism of buyers was not the only pleasing factor for exhibitors; internationality was equally as important. “The fair connects us with potential clients from Asian countries such as the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan. These markets are very difficult for us to reach from Europe,” said Ms Sofia Diakakis, the Product Manager of Diakakis Imports. She added: “This year we are presenting our new 2020 backpack collection and so far we have made around 100 trade contacts including retailers and buyers from store chains, supermarkets and toy stores. We have already taken an order which we hope to confirm after the show, and we are confident that we will be able to seal many more orders after the fair. We will be back again next year.”
Fringe events provide inspiration on emerging trends, digital marketing and green purchasing
More than just a sourcing platform, the fair’s seminar programme was exceptionally popular among exhibitors and trade visitors.
Mr Bernie Wong, a speaker at the Reimagine Digital Marketing in 2020 seminar, shared the potential benefits that branding and digital marketing skills can bring for small and medium sized stationery suppliers: “Many suppliers and manufacturers are great at producing quality products, but they encounter brand building difficulties.”
“It is of paramount importance to tell a compelling brand story to their target audience. In response to my presentation on increasing brand exposure and digital marketing strategies, I observed that the audience were eager to interact and get engaged, and I hope the seminar will help unleash the full potential of their brands and products.”
Japan's Stationery King Masayuki Takabatake discusses the impact to traditional stationery suppliers and their potential way out in the age of digitalisation at the Diversified Market Trends of Stationery Seminar. Photo: HKISF
Alongside Mr Wong, one of the industry’s most renowned stationery experts, Japan’s ‘Stationery King’ Mr Masayuki Takabatake spoke about the impact of digitalisation on traditional stationery suppliers and the potential avenues for future success in the age of digital disruption.
An attendee, Mr Jordan Brown, the Overseas Sales and Marketing Manager of Globe Chemical, said: “I’m new to the industry so I’m here to get inspired for our branding strategy. Japan’s Stationery King (Mr Takabatake) was very passionate and his suggestions for stationery suppliers to cope with digitalisation were very insightful.”
“Instead of emphasising the functions of stationery, Mr Takabatake on the other hand suggested that we should create stationery products with more personalised characteristics that add value for users. Digital disruption presents both challenges and opportunities to the industry, and the industry should react promptly to cope with the emerging trends.”
Besides the evolving role of stationery, another popular seminar dealt with sustainability. Hosted by Mr Jason Lau of the Hong Kong Productivity Council and Mr Steven Choi of the Green Council, participants of the seminar gathered insights on eco labelling as well as methods of sourcing stationery made from sustainable materials.
The Hong Kong International Stationery Fair was held concurrently with the HKTDC’s Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, the Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and the Hong Kong International Licensing Show from 6 – 9 January 2020 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The four fairs together gathered close to 108,000 buyers, creating even more business opportunities for participants.
The Hong Kong International Stationery Fair is jointly organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. For further information, please visit www.hkstationeryfair.com.
Today’s Hong Kong from an insiders’ view: https://youtu.be/Po6YlEbwqZQ
Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,600* employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €733* million. We have close ties with our industry sectors and serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. One of the Group’s key USPs is its closely knit global sales network, which extends throughout the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. Headquartered in
Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent). For more information, please visit our website at: www.messefrankfurt.com
* preliminary figures 2019
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 the 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 small and medium-sized enterprises (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: https://aboutus.hktdc.com/en/.
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