Hong Kong's houseware exports to UAE surge

THE UAE's prominence as a destination for household product exports from Hong Kong is rising. Houseware exports from Hong Kong to UAE surged by 187 per cent in the two-month period of January to February 2007 over the same period in the previous year. This was by far the largest increase in exports to any country in percentage terms during the period.

By Chintu Samuel Abraham (IN HONG KONG)

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Published: Sat 28 Apr 2007, 9:12 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:18 PM

During January to February 2007, Hong Kong exported houseware products worth $88 million to the UAE. In 2006, Hong Kong had exported houseware goods worth $203 million to the UAE.

The UAE is the largest export market for Hong Kong's houseware products in the Middle East. It ranked 11th in the list of global destinations for houseware products from Hong Kong.

These figures were revealed at the annual Hong Kong Houseware Fair where a number of buyers and exhibitors from the Middle East had turned up. The Hong Kong Houseware Fair has become an important event on the calendar for discerning Middle East buyers. Manufacturers were willing to customise products according to Middle East values and tastes. A Hong Kong-based exhibitor told Khaleej Times that 25 per cent of his merchandise was being booked by buyers from UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Houseware product exports are a major contributor to Hong Kong's economy. Hong Kong's total exports of houseware products in 2006 amounted to $21.94 billion. Exports in 2007 have begun on a bright note with houseware exports for the period January to February reaching $3.74 billion, a 19.7 per cent increase over the figure for the same period in the previous year.

Results from the emerging markets were strong in 2006, with exports to Brazil, Chile and India growing by 24.4 per cent, 26 per cent and 43.2 per cent respectively.

For January to February 2007, exports to France and the United Kingdom were up 45.8 per cent and 23.6 per cent respectively.

The Hong Kong Houseware Fair 2007 was inaugurated on April 21 at a ceremony held at the sprawling Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The fair, which ran from April 21 to April 24 is the largest of its kind in Asia and the fourth largest in the world. It covered a total area of 64,000 sq ft. The fair is being organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, a semi-government organisation.

This year's show had over 3500 booths and over 2,380 exhibitors from 34 countries and regions. There were 15 group pavilions from Australia, the Chinese mainland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam and the US.

While the total exhibition area had not increased over the previous years, Jeffrey Lam, Chairman, Fair Organising Committee, Hong Kong Houseware Fair and Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair 2007, said the organisers were more concerned about improving the quality of products on display.

The theme for the 2007 fair was 'Hong Kong - where design works' and the products were displayed under four concept groups - 'casting a spell', 'home and away', 'realistic energy' and 'opposites attract'.

In response to market demand, two new product zones made their debut this year — Posh Corner — a new themed zone featuring exquisite and top of the range brand names in living items. The second was a pet supplies zone targeting pet owners. "The pet supplies zone targets the increasing number of pet lovers in developing and mature markets alike, while the posh corner spotlights a premium hall for the most exquisite of home items," said Jeffrey Lam. A senior official associated with the exhibition said that there was increasing demand for stylish products as a result of high disposable incomes in the region. She also said that the tendency of 'cocooning' by which people spend more time at home and find a need to indulge in trendy household products was increasing. This motivated the setting up of the Posh Corner.

A broad range of contemporary products and home items were on display including artificial flowers, bathroom accessories, handicrafts, home decorations, household textiles, kitchenware and gadgets, lighting products, pet supplies and small electrical appliances.

A total of five exhibitors participated from the Middle East, including three from the UAE. The UAE exhibitors reported strong buyer interest at their counters while they did not divulge figures about orders booked.

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