1st delegation of exhibitors in mainland scramble for intl orders after HK border reopens
Published: Jan 08, 2023 12:52 AM
Photo: Zhao Juecheng/GT

Photo: Zhao Juecheng/GT

Some 300 representatives from the Guangdong toy industry have departed for Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair from Shenzhen Bay Port on Saturday, holding great anticipation to meet up with their customers offline and strike deals after about three years of border closure.

It will be the first delegation of industry exhibition from the mainland after border between the mainland and Hong Kong reopens on January 8.

"It's like chest tightness. I've been holding it in for a long time. I'm so excited to go to Hong Kong again," Cao Miao, a manager from Shantou Mingyang Toys company, told the Global Times in Shenzhen before departing for the fair.

Though online communications are out there, after all, the reality and the actual market cannot be observed in online chatting, Cao said. "That makes me very anxious, and also worry about whether the price of my peers is lower than ours, so the customers run to buy their products."

Peter Wong, Southern China regional director of Hong Kong Trade Development Council told the Global Times that "the border reopening is a good message to the business community. The original exchanges, the flow of capital, information and goods will be normalized."

A total of around 1,000 representatives of toy industries have signed for the fair, which will be held from January 9-12. Among the 1000 exhibitors, about 250 are from the mainland, and about 120 enterprises from Guangdong Province.

It is estimated that about 10,000 international buyers from 17 countries and regions including South Asian countries, Europe and the US and Japan and South Korea both online and offline have registered for the fair.

The Global Times learnt that the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair can be the source of more than 30 percent of orders of Cao's companies so it means a lot to him and the industry. Many trade companies and manufacturers of the industry begun to make preparations in around September for the fair.

Photo: Yun Tianhua/GT

Photo: Yun Tianhua/GT

Chen Yuzhong, general manager of Shantou Hexing Xieli Technology, who also went to Hong Kong on Sunday for the fair, told the Global Times that the Hong Kong Toy Fair is a very important exhibition where new products are launched every year.

After the border reopening between the mainland the Hong Kong, Cao holds a strong motivation to win more customers and set the target of doubling the company's annual revenue from previous 14 million yuan ($2 million).

Aiming to gain more attention from international buyers and achieve more fruitful results from the fair, Cao booked four booths at the fair this time, adding three more booths than previous years' fair.

He had already made appointments with some overseas buyers mainly from Southeast Asian nations to meet up at the fair. Apart from that, Cao plans to fly to South America through Hong Kong to visit some big customers there.

Wong said in the past two years, offline fairs had rarely held in Hong Kong because of COVID-19 restrictions and expensive quarantine fees for exhibitors. Prior to the COVID-19, international exhibitions held by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council had surpassed 30 plus a dozen of international conferences.

While places like Singapore have also attracted international exhibitions in recent years, there is still a gap with Hong Kong in terms of software, said Wong who has worked in Southeast Asia for many years.

"Hong Kong has plenty of professionals in everything, from arranging exhibitions to finding buyers, which is why mainland companies still prefer to use the platform of Hong Kong to go global," Wong noted.

Border closure doesn't mean a total lack of opportunity. In turn, it prompted enterprises to deploy resources to online business.

Photo: Liu Caiyu/GT

Photo: Liu Caiyu/GT

Thanks to online business and the expansion of his business to B2C market during the epidemic period, Cao's company has more than doubled its annual revenue to 14 million yuan in 2022 from previous 6 million yuan.

"Before the epidemic, the industry mainly relied on the offline exhibition. Now they will focus more on the combination of online communications and offline exhibitions after three years of epidemic, which are some fundamental changes in procurement modes brought by the COVID-19," Wong said.

More Hong Kong enterprises are also eyeing to embrace the great opportunity in the

Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area brought by the border reopening, according to Wong.

Resumption of cross-border freight traffic between the mainland and Hong Kong will help strengthen the momentum of Hong Kong's growth of export to the mainland. Looking ahead to 2023, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council forecasts that the value of Hong Kong's exports will increase by 5 percent in 2023.

In order to meet up expected high demand of Hong Kong enterprises, Hong Kong Trade Development Council have mapped out a slew of business activities, such as holding seminars for Hong Kong enterprises to better understand the development opportunities of the Greater Bay Area.

From February to April this year, Hong Kong will also host the international jewelry fair, international film and television fair, electronics fair, spring lighting fair and gift fair.

"These Hong Kong enterprises are eager to have some transformation after three years of epidemic, including responding to the country's dual circulation economic strategy to expand their market," Wong noted.