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Organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the 19th Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Autumn Edition), the second Hong Kong International Outdoor and Tech Light Expo, and the 12th Eco Expo Asia, concluded with close to 69,000 buyers from 151 countries and regions visiting the three events. The figure is 7 percent higher than last year's attendance. The number of buyers from several countries recorded double-digit growth, including India, Iran, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, the Chinese mainland, Spain, Russia, Taiwan, Italy and France.
HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau said that based on the buyer and business-matching figures, on-site survey results and Hong Kong's latest export performance, the outlook for the lighting industry looks bright next year. He noted that suppliers have been investing more on developing innovative products to meet growing demand for smart products around the world.
"According to an on-site survey, 93 percent of the interviewees believed that the development toward smart cities and smart homes will facilitate the advancement of the lighting industry in the coming two years," said Mr Chau. "Meanwhile, household lighting systems that are compatible with, or can be controlled by smartphone or tablet applications, as well as smart lighting systems primarily with energy-saving purpose for household, industrial and commercial uses, will likely be great hits in the market."
Sales expected to grow 16% in 2018
The HKTDC commissioned independent on-site surveys during the Autumn Lighting Fair and Outdoor and Tech Light Expo. Among the 636 exhibitors and buyers interviewed, about 95 percent of the respondents expected a better or stable market prospect in 2018, with the overall sales of products expected to increase by 16 percent on average.
On the global outlook, the survey found that respondents were most optimistic towards the Chinese mainland, followed by Japan and ASEAN markets. Among emerging markets, the industry is most interested in expanding business in the Chinese mainland (24%), ASEAN (17%) and the Middle East (7%).
On products, respondents considered household lighting (29%) to have the greatest growth potential in 2018, followed by LED and green lighting products (24%) and commercial lighting (16%).
"Internet of Lights" - a new trend ahead
During the fairs, industry leaders, who were invited to share their insights on the latest industry and products trends, revealed that the function of lighting products has evolved to become the "Internet of lights," which has become an essential trend for smart homes.
"Light is everywhere, it is the perfect carrier for transmitting and collecting data," said David Barnby, Tridonic's Senior Vice President (Global Sales & Marketing). "It will converge with the Internet, and the lighting industry has to work fast with other sectors to capture the new opportunities."
Shanghai Pudong Intelligent Lighting Association Secretary-General Lighting Dai also pointed out that future lighting products must be connected with the Internet. "The industry must leverage cross-industry technologies, including cloud platforms, artificial intelligence, sensors, intelligent modules, voice recognition and software applications, to develop smart lights and achieve inter-operability with other devices."
Large on-site orders
Taiwan's Kinlights Technology Co, Ltd CEO Mike Li said that three buyers from Canada, India and Thailand placed on-site orders for the company's street lights and high bay lights worth TWD3 million (US$100,000) on the first day of the Outdoor and Tech Light Expo. "The networking cocktail reception and business-matching meetings arranged by the HKTDC also helped us to expand our business network."
Meanwhile, Singapore's Leedarson Lighting Holdings Pte Ltd Deputy Marketing Director Coco Chen highlighted the busy traffic this year, saying that the company met buyers from Western Europe, the United States, Eastern Europe and South America. "On-site orders were also placed."
New Startup zone at Eco Expo Asia showcases green innovations
The HKTDC's Benjamin Chau pointed out that a new Startup zone was set up at Eco Expo Asia and a Startup Forum was organised to help green start-ups explore more business opportunities, bringing exciting new elements to the expo.
Hong Kong start-up Rooftop Republic Urban Farming's co-founder Michelle Hong said the expo helped her company broaden its clientele and reach out to potential partners. "Buyers from the Chinese mainland, Germany and Morocco are not just interested in our green walls and urban farming solutions, but also keen on our software, which includes workshops and educational programmes. Discussions with the MTR and a few hotels are also underway."
Municipal solid waste charges: New opportunities in waste management
The Hong Kong SAR Government recently announced changes to its municipal solid waste charging scheme, which will be enacted in 2019. With the green industry setting its sights on urban waste management, the expo's Waste Management & Recycling zone featured comprehensive waste treatment solutions, helping industry players to grab new business opportunities and enhance their competitiveness.
Renowned exhibitors included SUEZ NWS; China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection (Hong Kong) Investment Co Limited; Baguio Green Group, a local enterprise and ALBA Integrated Waste Solutions (Hong Kong) Ltd, a German-Hong Kong joint venture and more. The zone featured a range of technologies and equipment for organic waste treatment, oil collection, recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment, solid waste treatment and incineration, as well as the collection, sorting and transport of waste.
Hong Kong-registered charitable institution Mission Healthy Greens is an advocate of environmental conservation. George Yu, Project Manager (Energy & Carbon Management), said his company is working on various projects to help the public reduce kitchen waste in response to the government's new solid-waste charging policy. "This is my fifth time at Eco Expo Asia and I have already visited five exhibitors providing related solutions. The fair has become more international and it has given me a chance to better understand the waste management technology from abroad, especially from the Chinese mainland and Japan."
With generous support from the Environmental Protection Department of the HKSAR Government, more than 320 representatives from listed companies and government departments visited the expo, with the objective of promoting green sourcing by businesses and government departments. Another expo highlight was the Eco Asia Conference, where about 50 government officials and industry experts from 10 countries and regions shared their insights on hot industry topics.
Gathering close to 3,100 exhibitors and nearly 55,000 buyers, the HKTDC Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Autumn Edition) and the HKTDC Hong Kong International Outdoor and Tech Light Expo formed the world's largest lighting marketplace. Meanwhile, Eco Expo Asia, jointly organised by the HKTDC and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, and co-organised by the Environment Bureau of the HKSAR Government, featured nearly 340 exhibitors and attracted more than 14,000 buyers.
The Autumn Lighting Fair was held from 27-30 October at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), while the other two fairs were held at the AsiaWorld-Expo from 26-29 October. The three parallel fairs offered a one-stop sourcing platform and synergy to provide more cross-industry business opportunities.
Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong's businesses. With more than 40 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China, Asia and the world. With 50 years of experience, the HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs, with business opportunities on the mainland and in international markets, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room.