HKTDC Summer Sourcing Weeks: Go ONLINE Builds A Business Success

HKTDC Summer Sourcing Weeks: Go ONLINE Builds A Business Success

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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to physical exhibitions
around the world being cancelled or postponed. However,
despite this impediment to economic activity, sourcing
demand has continued to grow. The Hong Kong Trade
Development Council (HKTDC) acted swiftly to change its
strategy at the onset of the pandemic, actively developing
new business channels and services. The HKTDC’s most recent
online exhibition has concluded successfully, laying the
foundation for a future hybrid model that combines physical
and online trade fairs.

Summer
Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE, an online trade fair organised
by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, concluded on 7
August, attracting more than 13,000 registered quality
buyers from 118 countries and
regions.

In view of the pandemic,
nine of the HKTDC’s planned physical exhibitions (see below)
were migrated to an online exhibition, Summer Sourcing Weeks
| Go ONLINE. The exhibition employed innovative online
solutions which combined key elements of business matching
from physical fairs to facilitate business discussions
between buyers and exhibitors.

Benjamin Chau, HKTDC
Deputy Executive Director, said: “The uncertainties created
by the COVID-19 pandemic have led more small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to focus on online
promotions and operations, which has quickly become the ‘new
normal’ for conducting business. Given that the pandemic has
prevented buyers and exhibitors from meeting in person, the
HKTDC has introduced online business matching to enable
networking and deal-making.”

Click2Match, the business
matching platform employed at Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go
ONLINE, used big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to
automatically match exhibitors with prospective buyers,
enabling both parties to forge closer business connections.
The HKTDC also leveraged the strong business networks of its
50 global offices and the support of its Hong Kong team to
offer real-time assistance to buyers and exhibitors,
enhancing their confidence and readiness to discuss business
online. The expertise of HKTDC colleagues combined with
sophisticated technologies led to a successful outcome, with
more than 4,500 video meetings arranged.

Over 4,500
video meetings were arranged during the online exhibition
for buyers and exhibitors to forge collaborations amid the
global pandemic.

Over
4,500 video meetings were arranged during the online
exhibition for buyers and exhibitors to forge collaborations
amid the global pandemic.

Summer
Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE creates global sourcing
opportunities

Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE
concluded on a high note on 7 August. The online exhibition
featured more than 1,300 exhibitors and attracted over
13,000 registered quality buyers from 118 countries and
regions. During the fair period, multiple webinars were held
to enable global suppliers and buyers to stay abreast of the
latest market intelligence amid the pandemic, attracting
more than 31,000 views. The most popular webinars included
“Tech Trends Symposium 2020 – The Future of Intelligent
Connectivity”, “Asian Lighting Forum 2020 – Shaping the
Future of Lights” and “WGSN Presents: Lifestyle &
Interiors Trends Spring/Summer 2021”. Summer Sourcing Weeks
| Go ONLINE also boosted traffic to the online hktdc.com Sourcing platform,
with the number of page views reaching 1.5 million, a
year-on-year increase of 60%.

Gifts and lighting the
most-searched products

The majority of overseas
buyers joining the online exhibition came from Mainland
China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore
and the United States, confirming the global nature of the
exhibition. In addition, the HKTDC invited numerous major
buyers to participate through the online platform, including
representatives from Sichuan Impression Property Group Co
Ltd, Guangdong Sanyuan McDonald’s Food Company Limited, and
Chengdu Ito Yokado Electronic Commerce Co Ltd from the
Mainland; Eslite Spectrum from Taiwan; Amazon India;
Singapore’s Lightcraft Pte Ltd; Supervalu Inc and
NeweggBusiness Inc from the US; Elgin from Brazil; and local
representatives from Gap International Sourcing
Limited.

Analysing the consolidated figures for the
online exhibition, the product categories most searched for
were, in order of popularity, gifts, lighting, medical and
healthcare products, mobile phones and accessories, desktop
organisers, clocks, audio speakers, watches, backpacks, and
auto parts and accessories.

Multiple
webinars and online symposiums were held, including “Tech
Trends Symposium 2020 – The Future of Intelligent
Connectivity”, “Asian Lighting Forum 2020 – Shaping the
Future of Lights” and “WGSN Presents: Lifestyle &
Interiors Trends Spring/Summer 2021”, attracting more than
31,000 views.

Online exhibition
boosts business deals

Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go
ONLINE featured the Click2Match business matching platform,
using multiple new technologies to enhance matching
efficiency. It also covered meeting scheduling, video
meeting, live chat and online seminars run by industry
experts, all of which helped to provide a better online
sourcing and networking experience for buyers and
exhibitors. Participants on both sides agreed that the
online exhibition helped them connect and continue making
deals in the face of a difficult trading
environment.

Jun Wong, Managing Director
of fashion manufacturer MsEnvy Corporation Limited, said her
company had successfully connected with new customers
through the platform. “The unique Click2Match business
matching platform in Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go Online is a
timely and effective tool that has helped us to find
potential buyers amid the pandemic. A Japanese retailer and
a buyer from the United Arab Emirates expressed their
interests in buying our new collections based on their
patterns. We expect that the initial orders from these two
new buyers will amount to US$50,000,” Ms Wong
said.

Mainland Chinese manufacturer
Ningbao Hongyi Garment Co Ltd showcased its “Alice in the
Wonderland” collection through the online exhibition. Pearl
Yu, the company’s General Manager, said: “We have
successfully connected with three new buyers via the
Click2Match platform. A buyer from the Netherlands sourcing
promotional gifts wants us to produce homewear based on his
own designs – an order valued at US$50,000,” Ms Yu
said.

Ognjen Vucic, Managing Director of Linea Media
from Montenegro, said: “Building trust with new suppliers
during the lockdown period has been difficult for buyers.
The HKTDC’s innovative Click2Match customised business
matching platform has made it much easier to make
connections and is likely to facilitate orders worth around
US$50,000 for our company.”

Survey: buyers still want
physical fairs

The HKTDC conducted an online survey
during the fair period which found that more than 70% of
exhibitors were participating in an online exhibition for
the first time. Nearly 70% of exhibitors surveyed said they
achieved their objectives for joining the fair, including
generating new sales leads and meeting new customers,
leveraging online platforms to promote and launch new
products, as well as promoting their company image and
brand. Over 40% of respondents agreed that they will utilise
both online and offline channels for future
promotions.

For buyers, 80% of those surveyed
indicated they were participating in an online exhibition
for the first time, while 80% of respondents said their
objectives for joining the fair were achieved, including
finding new products and suppliers, gathering market
intelligence and gauging product trends. Over 80% of buyers
surveyed found the communication tools of Click2Match useful
for connecting with exhibitors, saying that the exhibitors
referred by AI largely matched their product and service
areas (84%).

Moreover, nearly 70% of buyers said they
would consider participating in the HKTDC’s physical fairs
again in the coming 12 months, showing that physical events
remain crucial for buyers and exhibitors to establish
connections and build trust during trading. Additionally,
nearly half (46%) of the buyers surveyed consider the hybrid
online and offline model to be the future trend for
sourcing.

HKTDC upgrades digital sourcing
platform

Mr Chau noted that the global sourcing model
is becoming more focused on digital solutions following the
pandemic, and it is envisaged that an online and offline
hybrid model will be adopted for future HKTDC trade
exhibitions. The HKTDC’s online sourcing platform, hktdc.com Sourcing, provided
the perfect complement to Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE.
While the former offers a year-round online showcase for
suppliers, the online exhibition brought together suppliers
and buyers for specific collaborations.

As the
pandemic persists, the HKTDC will organise its next online
exhibition, Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE, in November.
Meanwhile, it is also working to upgrade the hktdc.com Sourcing platform,
using advanced technological solutions to enhance matching
efficiency and ensure that SMEs can continue to make deals
during the peak sourcing season.

* The nine physical
exhibitions that were switched to the Summer Sourcing Weeks
| Go ONLINE include the HKTDC Hong Kong International
Lighting Fair (Spring Edition), HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics
Fair (Spring Edition), HKTDC International ICT Expo, Hong
Kong International Medical and Healthcare Fair, HKTDC Hong
Kong Houseware Fair, HKTDC Hong Kong International Home
Textiles and Furnishings Fair, HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week,
HKTDC Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, and the Hong Kong
International Printing & Packaging
Fair.

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