The HKTDC Hong Kong Optical Fair 2016 ended on a high note with a record number of buyers attending the three-day event. Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and co-organised by the Hong Kong Optical Manufacturers Association, the fair’s 24th edition drew more than 15,000 buyers from 100 countries and regions, up 2.4 per cent over the previous year. Buyers from several ASEAN and emerging markets recorded satisfactory growth, including Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Iran, Brazil and Mexico. The number of buyers from mature markets such as Canada, Australia, Korea, Spain and Sweden, also saw good growth, underscoring Hong Kong’s position as a prime trading platform for the global eyewear industry.
“The total number of visitors to the fair increased this year, and there was satisfactory growth in the number of buyers from various countries,” said Benjamin Chau, Deputy Executive Director, HKTDC. “This shows that the Hong Kong Optical Fair is essential for eyewear promotion and sourcing and continues to play an important role as a trading platform for the global eyewear industry. The trading atmosphere was very good at the fairground. Buyers eagerly sought the latest eyewear designs, products and equipment.”
Brand Name Gallery spotlights 3D printing and high-tech eyewear
This year’s Brand Name Gallery featured more than 220 international brands and designer collections. Among the dazzling array of fashionable eyewear were high-tech eyewear and eye-care products, which were once again highlights of the show.
3D printing is becoming a new wave in the eyewear industry. Hong Kong exhibitor Chang’s Optical Asia Ltd featured ic! berlin’s 3D-printed, special edition sunglasses at the fair. The sunglasses were created to mark ic! berlin’s 20th anniversary. The company, which is also the distributor for 10 top designer brands such as DITA and Orgreen, also featured wooden spectacles from Italian brand FEB31st, which allow consumers to customise their frames by adding their names, signatures, graphics and words on the side. “Mainland consumers like personalised eyewear products,” said Mabel Sze, the company’s Brand Manager. “With buyers coming from all over the world, the Optical Fair provides an excellent trading platform for us to introduce high-end, distinctive eyewear products and build our brand.”
Korean brand Sodamon, which won the Good Design Award in Korea and Australia, brought its Fugu sunglasses collection, made with lightweight materials that allow the sunglasses to float in water. With a business presence spanning Asia, Europe and North America, this exhibitor joined the fair for the first time with a view to expanding into the mainland market. Justin Cha, Sodamon’s manager of foreign division, considered Hong Kong an important gateway to the Asian and international markets. On the fair’s first day, Mr Cha found potential buyers from the Philippines and Taiwan, where they planned to bring Sodamon’s products to local department stores.
Spanish company Eyewear From Barcelona SL debuted at the Optical Fair last year and successfully promoted its designs to the mainland, India and several other Asian markets. The returning exhibitor doubled the size of its booth this year. It met many mainland buyers and was actively seeking distributors in Indonesia and Thailand.
Record exhibitor attendance
This year’s Optical Fair gathered a record of more than 780 exhibitors from 29 countries and regions. The Chinese mainland, France, Italy, Japan, Korea and Taiwan set up group pavilions to showcase stylish eyewear products. Among them, one of the exhibitors from the French pavilion, Oxibis Group, is the designer, manufacturer and distributor of various brands that are represented in 35 countries and regions. General Manager Jerome Colin and Area Export Manager Julien Daubry hailed the fair as the best in Asia. Their existing Asian distributors were at the fair and the company is also looking for new distributors who are active in other markets. They will participate in the fair next year too.
To cater to growing demand for protection against harmful blue light emitted from digital devices, especially for youngsters, many relevant products were featured at the fair. Swiss Lens Laboratory (HK) Limited has launched the Amour 420 SF lenses and sales professional consultant Michael Fung said they had received numerous enquiries from buyers. “The Hong Kong Optical Fair provides an important platform for us to launch new lenses and collect customer feedback. By demonstrating the effects of our new lenses at our booth, we have received positive responses from customers all over the world and reaped onsite orders. This year we have got more enquiries from North Africa and the Middle East.”
Vibrant eyewear market
Iranian buyer Star Optical’s Chairman Reza Shamsababdi visited the Hong Kong fair to source the latest eyewear products. With a population of 80 million, he said, Iran is a huge market for the eyewear industry, estimating that nearly half of the country’s population wear sunglasses. On the first day of the event, the company placed approximately HK$150,000 worth of orders with suppliers from the mainland, Korea and Taiwan.
Optica Next operates 12 shops in Russia. Company President Alexander Golubkov said Russian consumers favour classic styles and dark colours. He was happy to have found some potential frames and sunglasses suppliers from the mainland, Hong Kong and Europe.
Optical Korea Co., Ltd from Korea sells various eyewear products online. Company Vice President Hyun-mo Jung said the HKTDC’s business matching service helped the company find two potential suppliers of plastic frames. The company planned to buy 4,000 pairs in assorted colours and styles from each supplier. “The Hong Kong Optical Fair is the best place for the industry to source new products that are good quality and of competitive price. I can easily find styles that meet the tastes of Korean consumers.”
The HKTDC organised a number of eyewear parades, buyer forums, seminars and networking cocktails during the fair to help industry professionals expand their networks. The 14th Hong Kong Optometric Conference was held on 10 November, with the theme “Advancement in Ophthalmic Treatments”, attracting about 900 participants.
Fair website: http://hkopticalfair.hktdc.com/