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Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE Attracts 27,000 Buyers

The HKTDC Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE (ASWO) exhibition, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), drew to a successful close on 27 November. The online exhibition featured more than 2,600 exhibitors and attracted more than 27,000 buyers from 132 countries and regions to participate. In addition to Hong Kong buyers, others came mainly from India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mainland China, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Benjamin Chau, Deputy Executive Director, HKTDC, said the number of exhibitors and buyers at HKTDC Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE (ASWO) doubled and grew more international compared to Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE held in July.
9,000+ video meetings during ASWO, allowing business partners to continue generating opportunities in the face of the pandemic.

More than 9,000 online business matching meetings concluded

Benjamin Chau, Deputy Executive Director, HKTDC, said the number of exhibitors and buyers at ASWO was double the number attending Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE in July. Participation was also more international, demonstrating that the online exhibition was well received by different industries globally. "The HKTDC mobilised its network of 50 offices worldwide to invite quality international buyers to the event, arrange more than 9,000 online business matching meetings according to buyers' sourcing needs. This arrangement increased the chance of business collaboration."

The HKTDC's online business matching platform Click2Match uses artificial intelligence (AI) to conduct automatic matching between potential business partners. The platform also helps participants to schedule meetings, conduct video meetings, chat in real time and exchange e-business cards. The HKTDC conducted an online survey with exhibitors and buyers during ASWO in which respondents said that meeting scheduling was the most useful of the platform's functions, followed by video meeting and live chat capabilities.

3D virtual booths grab attention of global buyers

A number of exhibitors used 3D virtual booths to showcase their products in a more visually striking way, attracting more than 65,000 views. According to the survey, buyers agreed that the 3D virtual booths were useful for understanding exhibitors' products and services, showing that the booths could help to attract more buyers, increase their interest in exhibitors' products and services, and help them win more business.

In addition, more than 20 webinars were held during ASWO. The most popular webinars included the "Symposium on Innovation & Technology" (over 4,400 views), "Eco Asia Conference" (over 3,400 views), "Hong Kong International Optometric Symposium" (over 1,100 views), "Hong Kong International Watch Forum" (over 790 views) and the "Hong Kong Toys Industry Conference" (over 750 views). More than 100 industry leaders shared their insights in the webinars, allowing global exhibitors and buyers to stay close to the pulse of the market and get the most up-to-date information in the midst of the pandemic.

Online exhibition generates new business

ASWO provided an opportunity for buyers and exhibitors to continue to do business and close deals online, overcoming geographical constraints and helping to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Determinant (Hong Kong) Limited, a Hong Kong company that exhibited at ASWO, promoted their reusable masks and travel kits. Irene Chan, the company's Assistant Sales Manager, said: "Through the Click2Match platform, we were able to arrange video meetings with more than 20 new buyers from India, Japan, Mainland China, Malaysia and the Middle East. Some of these potential buyers have already asked for our samples and a number of them will place orders after the online exhibition."

Sidney Yu, Director of Prime Success Enterprises Limited, a Hong Kong exhibitor specialising in baby products, said his company had established contacts with new buyers from Brazil, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Japan, Poland and Thailand. "Four of them will become our potential customers and we expect the initial order from each new customer will be around US$10,000."

A lighting buyer from Germany, Michael Wurzer, Managing Director of Why5 GmbH, had video meetings with four lighting suppliers through the Click2Match platform. He said: "With a sourcing budget of around US$5 million, we plan to place our first order with one of the new suppliers soon."

Korean buyer Han Moi Kim, CEO of MOI Inc, identified 10 potential suppliers and plans to buy gold watch cases and crystal watch cases worth US$30,000 from two potential suppliers. "ASWO provides a timely and effective platform for us to find quality suppliers that can meet our sourcing needs under the global pandemic," Mr Kim said.

Hybrid physical and virtual model for future exhibitions

According to the survey, a total of 96% of exhibitors said they had achieved one of the following objectives through the event, which included exploring market potential, generating new sales leads, meeting new customers, maintaining their presence in the market, launching and promoting new products, promoting their company's brand, and gathering market intelligence and product trends. A total of 64% of exhibitors surveyed said they would consider both online and offline platforms as their major promotional channels in the future, while 95% said they would participate in the HKTDC's virtual and physical exhibitions again. Of the buyers surveyed, 85% said they would use online and offline platforms as their major sourcing channels in the future, while almost all (99%) said they would participate in both virtual and physical exhibitions organised by the HKTDC.

In the face of the pandemic, it is anticipated that global sourcing behaviour will become increasingly digital, and that future trade fairs will be a combination of physical and virtual formats. The upgraded hktdc.com Sourcing platform and ASWO complement each other, with ASWO exhibitors able to keep in touch with global buyers through a three-month promotion run on hktdc.com Sourcing. The platform brings together 130,000 suppliers and 2 million buyers, creating more than 24 million business connections annually, while leveraging AI, machine learning and image recognition technologies to provide a personalised smart sourcing experience.

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