By Fredrik Grönkvist
T-shirts and plastic flowers may no longer be labeled as ‘Made in Hong Kong’, but the Chinese territory is still home to perhaps the best – and biggest – Trade shows in the world.
In this article, we explain what you must know about upcoming Hong Kong Trade Shows during the Fall 2016.
You will also learn everything you must know about getting to Hong Kong, including visa requirements and transportation.
Global Sources Exhibitions
Global Sources provides a diverse range of services for importers. It is, however, primarily known for its supplier directory (www.globalsources.com) and magazines. Global Sources also host some of Hong Kong’s biggest trade shows:
• Computer accessories
• Vehicle electronics
• Gaming products
• Virtual Reality
• Electronic components
• Power supplies
Mobile Electronics (October)
• Mobile VR
• Sports & health wearables
• Chargers & energy
Gifts & Home (October)
• Designer products
• Sports event gifts
• Corporate gifts
• Ornaments and Home decor
• Kitchen utensils
• Home security systems
• Home lighting & energy
• Smart home appliances
• Scarves and gloves
• Socks and leggings
• Fabrics, lace and trimmings
• Casual apparel
• Outdoor wear
• Children’s clothing
• Bags and luggage
The China Sourcing Fairs are hosted at the Asia World Expo, just five minutes from the airport. You can travel directly from HKA with the airport express, and go one stop to the Asia World Expo.
If you are staying in Kowloon or on Hong Kong Island (i.e., Central, Wan Chai or Causeway Bay) you can take the Airport express back in the reversed direction.
The price is only HK$50 from Hong Kong Airport, or HK$100 if you travel from central.
China Sourcing Fair visitors can pre-register online, for free admission. While registering online, you can choose between collecting the admission badge one site, or get it delivered to your address.
HKTDC Trade Shows
The HKTDC (Hong Kong Trade Development Council) is an organization tasked with promoting trade in, and with, Hong Kong. HKTDC organizes free – some which are the largest in their respective industries. If you’re an Importer, you might want to keep an eye on the following shows:
HKTDC Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair (September)
• Automatic Watches
• Mechanical Watches
• Quartz Watches
• Watch Parts & Accessories
• Watch Packaging
HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair (October)
• Audio Video
• Home Appliances
• Vehicle Electronics
• Consumer Electronics
• Electrical Parts
• Electronic Manufacturing & Design Services
• Electronic Components
HKTDC Hong Kong International Building and Hardware Fair (October)
• Bedroom & Kitchen
• Ceiling & Curtain Wall
• Eco Friendly Building Materials
• Ceramics, Stone & Marble
• Door & Windows
HKTDC Hong Kong International Outdoor and Tech Light Expo (October)
• Outdoor Lighting
• Industrial Lighting
• LED Products
HKTDC Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (October)
• Commercial Lighting
• Home Lighting
• Outdoor Lighting
• LED Lighting
• Accessories & Parts
HKTDC Hong Kong Optical Fair (November)
• Contact Lenses
• Reading Glasses
• Spectacle Frame
HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair (January)
• Baby Wear & Footwear
• Baby Skincare
• Baby Bedding & Furniture
• Electrical Appliances
• Feeding Products
• Baby Toys
• Maternity Products
HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair (January)
• Educational Toys
• Toy Packaging
• Video Games & Accessories
• Electronic Toys
• Outdoor & Sports
• Mechanical Toys
• Action Figures
Hong Kong International Stationery Fair (January)
• Artist Supplies
• Office Equipment
• Writing Equipment
• School Supplies
• Eco-friendly Stationery
• Paper & Printing
HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week for Fall/Winter (January)
• Fashion Accessories
• Bridal & Evening Apparel
• Clothing Accessories
• Children’s and Baby Clothing
HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewelry Show (March)
• Precious Jewellery
• Vintage Jewellery
• Silver Jewellery
• Jade Jewellery
• Accessories, Tools and Machines
The HKTDC fairs are held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Halls 5E-G), in Wan Chai.
You can get here on foot from the Wan Chai metro station, or take jump on one of the free shuttle busses in Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon) or Causeway Bay (Hong Kong Island).
HKTDC fair visitors can pre-register online, directly on their website. However, visitors from outside of Hong Kong, must pre-register around 4 weeks in advance – to obtain the admission badge by mail.
That said, HKTDC also allows visitors to register at the venue.
Common Questions About Attending Trade Fairs in Hong Kong
Do I need a visa to enter Hong Kong?
Most nationalities don’t need a visa to enter Hong Kong. This is also one of the many reasons Hong Kong remains an attractive location for trade shows and other events – despite no longer being the manufacturing center it once was.
US and EU citizens can remain for a maximum of 90 days per entry (with the exception of UK nationals, which can stay for up to 180 days per entry).
Hong Kong is also, in relative terms, relatively generous to visitors from developing countries, allowing visa free entry for 14 to 30 days for many nationalities throughout Asia, Africa and South America.
Can I fly directly to Hong Kong?
Yes, Hong Kong is an international transportation hub. You can fly directly to Hong Kong from most countries in the world.
Hence, many business travelers heading to Mainland China, first fly to Hong Kong.
Where should I stay in Hong Kong to conveniently travel to the trade show venues?
Hong Kong is a densely populated city. Regardless of where you stay, you will most likely not be more than 30 minutes away from either of the two trade show venues. However, if you want to stay close to the venue, you can consider the following:
HKTDC: Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay
Global Sources: Regal Airport Hotel (Hong Kong Airport)
Are most suppliers from Hong Kong or Mainland China?
The majority of suppliers tend to be from the Mainland. However, a large share of the exhibitors are Hong Kong owned companies – many of which operates factories in the nearby Guangdong province.
Will I be able to visit the manufacturers during or after the trade shows?
Most English speaking sales representatives attend the trade shows. You may therefore not be able to visit the factories while the trade show is still on.
That said, you may be able to visit the factories one or a couple of days after the trade show.
In addition, the factories are located in Mainland China, not in Hong Kong. To enter Mainland China, you must obtain a visa.
Are Hong Kong based suppliers more trustworthy than those based in Mainland China?
No, at least not in my experience. In fact, it doesn’t really come down to a supplier being trustworthy or not. Most issues are caused by misunderstandings between buyer and seller, and this can happen regardless of the supplier’s location.
Are Trade Shows in Hong Kong considered as better than those in Mainland China?
That depends. Entering Hong Kong is more convenient, as the territory is incredibly easy to navigate – and, no visa is required.
Still, it all comes down to the products you are working with, and the suppliers that attend the trade show.
For some Importers, attending the HKTDC trade shows is the best bet, while other buyers get more out of the Canton fair in Guangzhou.
It’s hard to categorize trade shows into “good or bad”.
Do most suppliers have English speaking personnel?
Yes. At least those that are exporting to markets outside of East Asia. Thus, you will most likely not need an interpreter while attending trade fairs in Hong Kong.
Can I obtain a visa for Mainland China, while in Hong Kong?
Yes, you can apply for a business visa directly in Hong Kong. However, it is recommended to secure the visa in advance – as the application can take up to 4 working days.
Hopefully, a visa on arrival will be available in the future, as this would make it easier for visitors to Hong Kong to check our prospective factories in Shenzhen, Dongguan and the other cities in the Pearl River Delta.
Do I need an invitation letter before attending a trade show in Hong Kong?
Invitation letters are never required for visitors to a trade show. Their only purpose is to provide visitors with a convenient method to obtain a visa.
As most nationalities don’t need a visa to enter Hong Kong, invitation letters are therefore not required.
That said, you may need to obtain an invitation letter to visit a trade show in Mainland China, such as the Canton Fair.
What should I prepare before meeting with suppliers at the trade show?
You need to set clear objectives with your visit. For most buyers, the purpose of visiting a trade show is to assess the production capabilities of a large number of suppliers – and get pricing data.
As such, you should at a minimum prepare product documentation, and relevant question forms:
• Design drawings
• Bill of materials
• Material specifications
• Product compliance Q&A
• General product feedback Q&A
What is the best way to access Mainland China from Hong Kong?
The best transportation mode depends on your location in Mainland China. Below follows an overview:
• Shenzhen: Travel by subway to the Hong Kong – Luohu border (or Futian)
• Zhuhai: You can take the boat directly from Hong Kong to Zhuhai
• Guangzhou / Dongguan: Train or bus
Fredrik Grönkvist is the co-founder of ScandinAsian Enterprise in Shanghai. Since 2010, he and his team have helped hundreds of companies worldwide, primarily in the EU and US, to develop and manufacture products in China. He is also the main contributor on www.chinaimportal.com, a leading knowledge base for small- to medium-sized enterprises importing from Asia. For further questions, you can contact him on www.chinaimportal.com/contact-us/.