Smart home applications seen as growth sector
The 36th HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition) and the 20th electronicAsia show came to a close yesterday, attracting close to 94,000 buyers from 147 countries and regions.
Held concurrently over four days at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), nearly 65,000 buyers visited the Electronics Fair while around 29,000 visitors attended electronicAsia. The number of visitors from Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia and Argentina recorded growth.
Tech Hall featured two new thematic zones – Virtual Reality and Startup
“Global economic growth remains sluggish while the fallout from Brexit is adding to concerns in mature markets. Amid these uncertainties, Hong Kong companies are facing more challenges ahead,” says Benjamin Chau, deputy executive director, HKTDC. “This year we launched the Tech Hall at the fair with two new thematic zones – Virtual Reality and Startup – as well as organised a series of startup-themed events in order to help startups meet with potential investors and partners. The responses we received during the fairs demonstrate that both exhibitors and buyers understand how important it is to rise to the challenge in the face of current economic difficulties.”
Survey shows industry players are cautiously optimistic about market outlook
During the fair period, the HKTDC commissioned an independent survey, during which a total of 1,052 exhibitors and buyers were interviewed about the outlook for the electronics market and new product trends. The survey found that respondents are generally cautiously optimistic about the market outlook for next year, with 86 per cent of them expecting overall sales to increase or remain unchanged, and 83 per cent of responding buyers expecting retail prices to increase or remain unchanged. As for the attractiveness of doing business via the Hong Kong platform, 61 per cent of responding buyers and 64 per cent of responding exhibitors – both up around 10 percentage points over last year – said they will be sourcing/selling more via Hong Kong in the year ahead.
The survey also covered the industry’s views on product trends and consumer habits. Most of the respondents expect electronic/electrical accessories to be the product category with the highest growth potential next year, followed by audio-visual products and digital imaging products. Seventy per cent of respondents believe that consumers are making more online purchases than before, do more price comparison and rely more on online and social media reviews than those in the print media.
Smart home is one of the next big trends.
Smart home is one of the next big trends. Over 60 per cent of respondents expect wireless system items for connection with Internet or mobile networks to have the highest growth potential in the next two years, while more than half of the respondents were willing to pay up to 20 per cent more for electronic products with smart home applications. These results reveal that developing smart home-related products is a trend not to be overlooked.
The inaugural Virtual Reality zone received a great deal of attention, which was reflected in the survey findings. More than 70 per cent of respondents were very positive about the market potential of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in the next two years. Within this category, entertainment applications such as mobile and online games and audio-visual items were perceived to be the two categories with most potential in the next two years.
Positive perception of market potential of wearable electronics
Wearable electronics were also seen to have a high level of potential, according to survey respondents. Seventy-six per cent of them had a positive perception of market potential of wearable electronics in the next two years, a 10 percentage point increase over last year. Smart watches, smart wristbands and other healthcare/sports-related wearable electronics are the categories with the greatest market potential in the next two years.
Christian Stammel, CEO of Wearable Technologies AG, a well-known wearable tech company from Germany, was a speaker at the seminar “WT| Wearable Technologies Session”. He said that wearable technology has been integrated into all types of electronic products, and related technology was still at an early stage of market development. He expected to see more and more new smart watch-based products. He also predicted good growth for wearable technology in the healthcare sector, notably for intelligent patches that can be applied to the body to analyse relevant healthcare data. As an example, he cited an innovative device designed to analyse stress levels and achieve calmness through neuro feedback.
Expanding business opportunities at the Electronics Fair
Local exhibitor Zekino International Limited joined the Electronics Fair for the first time with their 360 VR drone and VR terrestrial filming equipment. The company’s General Manager, Terry Law, said that the VR drone attracted attention and enquiries from buyers from the US, Europe and Southeast Asia. He was impressed that the fair attracted buyers from all over the world, which created many business opportunities. The company expects to join the fair again next year to promote more new products.
Korean household appliances exhibitor Cuckoo Electronics Co., Ltd joined the Electronics Fair for the first time to expand their export business. Max Jang and Stanley Min, Regional Managers of the company’s Overseas Business Team, stated that the fair provided a good location for them to look for new distributors. They found a potential distributor from Taiwan and will engage in further negotiations.
Radosaw Leszek, co-owner of Prolech R.iS Leszek Sp.J., one of Poland’s biggest wholesalers of electronic products, visited the fairs for the first time with the aim of sourcing various electronic accessories and components such as cables, chargers, LEDs, connectors, relays, fuses and sockets. “We have established contact with about 100 exhibitors and they are offering many interesting products. We intend to spend over US$1 million,” He said.
Creative ideas at startup zone capture attention
In view of the growing number of startups in recent years, the inaugural Startup zone was launched at the fair gathering close to 50 startups from Hong Kong, Canada, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and the US to showcase innovative technologies and ideas. Steven Kayalicos, Director of The Product Group from Australia, was interested in the new technologies, new ideas and new products at the Startup zone. Although online connections are more convenient, Mr Kayalicos said he also likes to meet industry players face-to-face. Having attended the “Startup Pitching” event he said, “It is likely that I’ll cooperate with two to three startups that I met at the pitching event. At the fair, I have also found two new brands of streaming cameras and sports tech products and I’ll bring them to the Australian market. I’ll come again next year.”
The US crowdfunding platform Indiegogo is an online vehicle for entrepreneurs to raise money. Ben Bateman, Senior Director, Strategic Programs, China, Indiegogo, spoke at the seminar “First Step of Your Startup Project” at the Electronics Fair. He said that a lot of people put their ideas online through videos or images and ask others to support their projects. Now that Indiegogo is raising billions of dollars across different projects, Mr Bateman was very interested in the products and solutions showcased at the Startup zone. He said he met with startups and learned about their commercial ideas during the fair period.
Enthusiastic buyers at electronicAsia
Held concurrently with the Electronics Fair, electronicAsia is an important sourcing platform for electronic components and production technologies. The two fairs create synergy that offers participants new ideas and materials for them to develop new electronic products. Carlos Antônio Rodrigues, buyer for Brazilian company Nitere, joined electronicAsia for the first time. He came to source panel displays and motherboards for ATM machines and found three potential suppliers from the Chinese mainland on the first day of the fair. He expected to order several thousand displays.
Kuan Kun Electronic Enterprise Co., Ltd. from Taiwan presented new products for automotive applications. Buyers from India, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Denmark expressed interest in the products. Derrick Shih, Sales Director of the company thought that the fair helped raise their international visibility, meet more global buyers and expand their business.