Nearly 14,000 buyers attended the 21st edition of the HKTDC Hong Kong Optical Fair held from 6th – 8th November
The 21st edition of the HKTDC Hong Kong Optical Fair, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, and co-organised by the Hong Kong Optical Manufacturers Association, was held from 6th to 8th November, 2013. The three-day fair welcomed nearly 14,000 buyers from around 100 countries and regions, up 8% from last year. Most of the overseas buyers came from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, USA, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Australia.
“Buyers from a number of emerging markets increased significantly, including Egypt, South Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam and Mexico, showing the huge development potential of the emerging markets. On the other hand, buyers from mature markets like US, the Netherlands, and Spain also have a considerable increase. It is also a testament to the Optical Fair’s position as a major sourcing platform for the global optical industry,” HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau said. “Eyewear has become a part of fashion, which drives the demand for sunglasses and many manufacturers have invested significant effort in temple design. With the aging population trend, demand for reading glasses has also risen.”
New exhibitor record and new zones
HKTDC organised 70 buying missions from 50 countries and regions, bringing over 3,800 major importers, distributors and retailers to the fair. Among the participants are Australia’s Eyecare Plus, Czech Republic’s ARDIX spol. s r.o., France’s Visiance, Germany’s Brillen Rottler HmbH & Co KG, Malaysia’s Bolton Optical Sdn Bhd, New Zealand’s Pacific Eyewear, USA’s Society 43, Spain’s Opticas Tutusau and the Philippines’ Vision Express Optical Superstores, and more.
700 exhibitors from 26 countries and regions took part in this year’s Optical Fair, including first comers from Israel, Macau, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Thailand. Two new zones were also launched to facilitate sourcing ‘3D & Kids Eyewear’ and ‘Reading Glasses’.
HKTDC also organised a series of eyewear parades, buyer forums, seminars and networking receptions during the fair for visitors to expand their business networks. The ‘11th Hong Kong Optometric Conference’ was held in the mornings of 7th and 8th November, bearing the theme ‘Advanced Optometry Care’.
A fine sourcing platform for buyers
The Hong Kong Optical Fair is an ideal sourcing platform for the industry. Robert Beamish of South Africa’s Brentoni Distributors said the Optical Fair is one of the most important fairs that his company visits each year. “We can find everything at the fair. We can easily learn about the latest trends and products and interact with many industry practitioners.”
This is the first-time USA’s Society 43, an e-tailer, importer and wholesaler of licensed sunglasses, visit to the fair, looking for suppliers with their own factories to ensure product quality and consistency. Its Supply Chain Director Sharon Oliverio said, “I have found five new suppliers from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan for business cooperation. Samples have been taken and I will place orders next week involving 45,000 pieces of lens and about 500 pairs of sunglasses”
Greece’s largest eyewear retailer Anastasiadis Optica Stores was also at the Optical Fair for the first time. Owner Frank Sakellaridis said they were looking mainly for sunglasses and reading glasses, “On the first day I have already found products with good design and competitive prices, and have placed our orders with three Chinese mainland suppliers. We may even be exploring long-term cooperation.”
Low blue light and eco-friendly products in line with trends
With electronic gadgets taking the world by storm, the demand for 3D glasses and low blue light glasses is on the rise. First-time exhibitor 3D Global (Holdings) Limited not only showcased their own products at the fair, they also held a launching party for eyewear products from the French brand SHINA, which they represent. It provided opportunities for the company to meet international buyers. “We met buyers from the USA, Canada and the Middle East on the first day, the response has been positive,” said the company’s Director, Bonnie Chan.
Eco-friendly products are a major global trend, and it holds true also for the optical industry. World-renowned Swiss manufacturer EMS Grivory this year highlighted their purified lens resin made from a bio-based and organic material. The company’s Global Business Manager Optics, Ralf Hala, said the company has been coming to the fair for many years, and they are always meeting new buyers, “Apart from getting new orders, the most important is to meet the customers personally to enhance effective communication and mutual relationships.”
Eric Soon, Sales Manager of Vision Empire International from Singapore also appreciated the fair, “We are here promoting our licensed characters such as Mickey Mouse, SpongeBob and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Hong Kong fair offers a great chance for us to find partners including agents, distributors and operators of chain stores. So far, we have got in touch with some potential customers and partners including a buyer from the Philippines who is very keen to do business with us. The Philippines buyer will visit our office in Singapore later this month to discuss cooperation details.”
Also taking place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre are the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair (7-9 November) and the Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference (7 November), both organised by the HKTDC. The fairs and conference are set to create plenty of sourcing opportunities and attract global buyers to Hong Kong, at the same time bringing in more customers and generating more business opportunities for the exhibitors.