In view of the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has migrated the nine physical exhibitions originally scheduled to be held by the end of July onto an online platform. In addition, an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled business matching service is being introduced to help suppliers and buyers close more deals. Organised by the HKTDC, Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINEopens today and runs until August 7. This 9-in-1 virtual trade exhibitionhas attracted more than1,300 exhibitors, featuringlighting, electronics, information and communications technology (ICT), medical and healthcare, houseware, fashion, home textiles and furnishings, gifts, printing and packaging products. Thisbrand-new online exhibition platform will helpglobal buyers to replenish supplies and assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in exploring newbusiness opportunities duringa difficult time.
Benjamin Chau, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director, said: “Although theCOVID-19 pandemic is presenting huge challengesfor businesses globally, it also offers theprospect of online business opportunities for enterprises. The HKTDChas initiated various online promotions,including the Spring Virtual Expo in April and the Summer Virtual Expo in late June and July, to assistSMEs and international buyers overcome the challenges during this difficult period. Now, to further boost business connections between global exhibitors and buyers, we are launchingSummer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE, an advanced online virtual exhibitionthat runs for 12 days starting from today and featuresthe AI-enabled Click2Match business matching platformto help SMEsforge more connections and opportunities.”
Chau added that Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE is one of the HKTDC initiatives helping to expandthe e-commerce capabilities of Hong Kong businesses. “The HKTDC is actively equipping SMEs to embrace the digital economy. In addition to strengthening cooperation with a number of technology partners to provide Hong Kong companies with more cost-effective digital solutions, the interface and functions of our hktdc.com Sourcing online marketplace will be further enhanced andrelaunched later this year, utilising a variety of new technologies to improve business matching efficiency.”
New AI business matching platform
The one-monthSummer Virtual Expodrew to a successful close on 24 July, helping more than 22,000 suppliersconnect with buyers from around the world. From April to July, the number of buyers browsing thehktdc.com Sourcing online marketplaceincreased bynearly 20% to 4.2million compared to the same period in 2019.
Building on these achievements,Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINEhelps exhibitors from the nine physical fairs build a virtual presence to connect with global buyers.The virtual exhibitionoffers multiple new functions that make it easy for buyers tosourceonline.These include the Click2Match business matching platformthat operates automatically using big data and AI technology, and other functions covering meeting planning, video meetings, live chat and online seminars run by industry experts, all of which will provide a better online sourcing and communication experiencefor buyers and exhibitors alike.The HKTDC’s 50 global offices have been keeping in touch with buyerswho attended its physical fairs previously along with newly registered buyers. Over 5,000 business matching meetings have been pre-arranged to increase business opportunities.
The Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINEportal highlightsfeatured products and details of the nine fairs for participants’ easy reference. The Intelligence Hubintroducesvarious webinars, including “Tech Trends Symposium 2020 – The Future of Intelligent Connectivity” (28 July), which will address the impact of the artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT), the smart home, 5G technology applications and other related issues. Elsewhere, representatives from WGSN,the global authority on consumer and design trends,willshare their viewsin “WGSN Presents: Lifestyle & Interiors Trends Presentation S/S2021” (29 July), while the “Asian Lighting Forum 2020 – Shaping the Future of Lights” (30 July)will analyse the prospects of smart lighting from a human-centricperspective. The“Trendwatcher – The Reshaping of Retail Landscape” seminar (31 July) will feature representatives from internationally renowned market research agency Euromonitor International and local branding consultancy REALLY DESIGN.
Focus on anti-epidemic products
Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak began, local scientific research companies have worked to develop a range ofanti-epidemic productsfor better hygiene and health protection. The online exhibitionpresents a variety of disease prevention and control products, with theSmart Health Hong Kong zoneshowcasinga wide range of locally developed healthcare products. They include anantibacterial and antiviral coating,a disinfection robot,nanofibre-technology air filters, air sanitisers, an AI-assisted body temperature screening system, quarantine trackingtechnology and more.
The stay-at-home economy has also been drivingdemand for consumer electronics and home entertainment equipment. The virtual fairfeatures a broad selection ofsmart home and lifestyle products.
Subsidies to exhibitors
To assist enterprises in overcoming the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the HKTDC is providing a special subsidy of HK$5,000 for each exhibitor taking part inSummer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE. The original participation fee for the fairwasHK$10,000.After deducting this special subsidy, local companies that meet theapplication criteria for theSME Export Marketing Fundare eligible to apply for an additional 50% subsidybased on the original participation fee. This means that theirparticipationin the virtual expo will be freeofcharge.