The largest spring electronics event in Asia, the HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition), and the concurrent HKTDC International ICT Expo opened on 13th April. The four-day fairs (13th-16th April), were both organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
More than 3,500 exhibitors from 23 countries and regions showcased an assortment of technologies and smart products at the fairs, including innovative solutions and products presented by start-ups.
Startup zone showcases creativity of 100+ companies
A growing force in the business arena in recent years, start-ups number more than 1,900 in the city, according to an Invest Hong Kong report last year. Many young entrepreneurs are introducing new ideas and distinctive products resulting from their creativity and technological expertise. In view of this trend, the HKTDC introduced the Startup zone at the Electronics Fair and ICT Expo this year to feature the innovative technologies, products and services of more than 100 start-ups from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, India, Japan, the United States and Taiwan.
The zone features a panoply of innovations from start-ups including an all-in-one real estate digital platform incorporating Virtual Reality (VR) technology (booth: 3CON-240), an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered data analysis platform for monitoring pet health (booth: 3CON-240), an audio streaming box that digitises audio and transmits it to a smart device (booth: 3CON-169) and a smart cloud-based temperature and humidity monitor for cold chain logistics such as cargo containers carrying food and beverages (booth: 3CON-216).
A series of start-up themed events were held at the fairs. These included sharing sessions featuring representatives from Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, the crowdfunding platform FringeBacker, successful entrepreneurs, angel investors and start-up online media. There were also Pitching and 'Startup, Smart Launch' sessions for start-ups to pitch their solutions and project ideas to potential investors, buyers and media. At mentoring sessions, mentors helped start-ups connect with potential partners at the fairs. Two events were held on the last day of the fairs (16th April) - the 'Together Stronger: Creating Impact via Regional Collaboration' sharing session and the APEC Startup Ecosystem Roundtable - which explored ways that start-ups from around the world can collaborate for greater innovation and impact.
170+ buying missions to generate business opportunities for exhibitors
To help exhibitors capture more business opportunities, the HKTDC organised over 170 buying missions comprising more than 12,900 buyers from over 9,400 companies to visit the fairs. Participants included major global importers, distributors, retailers and IT consultants, such as Amazon from the United States, Brazil's JTI, Argentina's Mas Singergia SA, France's Groupe SEB, the United Kingdom's Ukbigbuy, the Czech Republic's Enreco Trade, Russia's Bars Group, Australia's Catch of the Day, the Chinese mainland's Wangfujing Department Store, Thailand's 24 Shopping, Korea's Hyundai and Japan's Mindfree.
To meet buyers' growing need to source in small orders, the Spring Electronics Fair once again featured the hktdc.com Small Orders zone, where some 300 showcases offering close to 3,000 products are available in minimum order quantities of between five and 1,000 pieces. In view of the popularity of e-commerce, the hktdc.com Small Orders online transaction platform was also available for global buyers to source products and complete transactions online. The online platform currently features over 120,000 products from more than 11,000 suppliers, and has generated more than 2.1 million business connections to date.
Inaugural Tech Hall, Virtual Reality zone at Spring Electronics Fair
The Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) is the largest spring electronics fair in Asia. In its 14th edition, this year's fair featured more than 2,900 exhibitors from 20 countries and regions, including first-time exhibitors from Singapore and Spain. Major electronics production centres such as the Chinese mainland, Korea and Taiwan also set up group pavilions to showcase a broad selection of innovative electronic products and services.
New to this year's fair was a Tech Hall with four themed zones: the new Virtual Reality zone and the returning Connected Home, Robotics & Unmanned Tech and Wearable Electronics zones. The Virtual Reality zone featured a range of VR headsets, video cameras and related technology. The Connected Home zone features an infrared transceiver, which connects all infrared-controlled household appliances in a home, such as air-conditioners and audio systems to a single smart home system.
Another popular zone was Wearable Electronics, where highlighted products included a personal safety alarm pendant that sends emergency text and email messages with the user's location data to prearranged contacts. At the Robotics & Unmanned Tech zone were various aerial cameras and robots, including a DIY Building Blocks Drone that allows users to design and build their own drones. WiFi FPV (First Person View) cameras and air pressure sensors can be added to the drone to improve its altitude stability during flight and capture higher quality video.
During the first three days of the fair (13th-15th April), the HKTDC organised a series of seminars under the '2017 Tech Trends Symposium'. Industry experts and academics from universities examined the latest technology and application trends in such areas as wearable tech, VR, Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), smart home and robotics. Speakers comprised experts from Hong Kong, the mainland, France, Germany, Taiwan, Singapore and the US, including representatives from Fitbit, Foxconn, Intel, Unity Technologies, university professors and successful start-ups.
Hall of Fame gathers global renowned brands
Another highlight of the Spring Electronics Fair was the Hall of Fame, which features more than 570 internationally renowned quality brands, including Intel and Motorola from the US, Bigben from France, Leplus from Japan, Desay from the mainland and local brand Holga.
In terms of market development, the overall HKTDC Export Index rebounded strongly from 33.7 in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 47.1 in the first quarter of 2017. The electronics industry index recorded an even higher reading, jumping from 34.2 to 48.2 during the same period, an indication of exporters' steadily improving confidence. The electronics industry is Hong Kong's largest merchandise export earner, accounting for 65% of Hong Kong's total exports in 2016 with a value of HK$2.35 trillion (£0.24tn), up 2.5% year on year.
International ICT Expo showcases diverse solutions
The International ICT Expo was one of the signature events of the 'International IT Fest 2017'. This year's expo has attracted approximately 600 exhibitors from 10 countries and regions, including first-time exhibitors from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Japan.
Launched last November, the Innovation and Technology Commission's Technology Voucher Programme provides funding of up to HK$200,000 (£20,321) to subsidise local SMEs that use technological services and solutions to improve productivity and stay competitive. The ICT Expo helps SMEs and other larger-scale enterprises by gathering the latest relevant services and ICT solutions under one roof, including Internet security systems, e-commerce platforms, third-party payment, logistics management and O2O business solutions.
This year's expo continued to feature the SME IT Clinic, where experts from Alibaba, Google Premier Partner and hktdc.com offer complimentary professional consultation services on-site to help SMEs select suitable ICT systems and solutions to enhance business efficiency.
Winners of the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2017, organised by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, were also be at the fairground to showcase and demonstrate their outstanding products and solutions.
ICT Expo opens to tertiary students on last day to offer career information
A series of seminars and forums were staged at the ICT Expo with daily themes: 'e-Commerce & FinTech' (13th April), 'Startups' (14th April), 'Disruptive Technology' (15th April) and 'Career Development' (16th April). Leading industry experts from Accenture, Cyberport, Google, the Innovation and Technology Commission and the Retail Technology Adoption Assistance Scheme for Manpower Demand Management (ReTAAS) Secretariat discussed such hot topics as Fintech, cybersecurity, e-commerce, Technology Voucher Programme, the ReTAAS, big data, the Internet of Things and sharing economy.
For the first time, the expo opened to tertiary students free of charge on the last day (16th April), with representatives from the Hong Kong Computer Society, the Hong Kong Productivity Council and the MTR Corp giving talks on prospects for the ICT industry and career opportunities. Some exhibitors introduced entry requirements for their various positions, while cpjobs.com, JobsDB and Recruit provided career-counselling services for students interested in the ICT industry.
In 2016, total exports of IT equipment (computer & parts) reached HK$365.1bn (£37bn). Many markets recorded satisfactory performance, including the US, Japan, the Netherlands and the Philippines.