January 20, 2020
Hong Kong International Stationery Fair starts successful trading season
Industry players made a successful start to the trading season at the 20th Hong Kong International Stationery Fair. A productive commercial environment was once again created at this year’s Hong Kong International Stationery Fair, which concluded its four-day run on January 9, with around 220 exhibitors from 10 countries and regions in attendance.
“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 of 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, national merchandise manager of office choice, Australia. “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.
Exhibitors unveiled green stationery and recorded good business results. The 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, assistant export manager of PT. Solo Murni. “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.”
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, product manager of Diakakis Imports. “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 program was exceptionally popular among exhibitors and trade visitors. “Many suppliers and manufacturers are great at producing quality products, but they encounter brand building difficulties,” shared Mr Bernie Wong, a speaker at the Reimagine Digital Marketing in 2020 seminar, regarding the potential benefits that branding and digital marketing skills can bring for small and medium sized stationery suppliers.
Alongside Mr Wong, one of the industry’s most renowned stationery experts, Japan’s “Stationery King,” Mr Masayuki Takabatake, spoke about the impact of digitalization 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 Jan. 6-9 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 organized by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. For further information, please visit www.hkstationeryfair.com.