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Thursday, 26 March 2020, 19:00 HKT/SGT

Source: HKTDC
HKTDC to launch Spring Virtual Expo and Guided SME Support
Helping to capture new opportunities amid COVID-19 disruptions

HONG KONG, Mar 26, 2020 - (ACN Newswire) - The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted business activity and supply chains across the globe, with numerous trade fairs and events around the world being postponed or cancelled, depriving many enterprises of business and marketing opportunities. According to global exhibition industry association UFI*, potential deals worth at least US$145 billion were not concluded as events failed to take place as scheduled. To help Hong Kong companies rise to the challenge, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is offering a number of new platforms and special packages as well as a new guided SME support programme to capture every business opportunity available.

The HKTDC will launch a month-long Spring Virtual Expo on 1 April, providing Hong Kong businesses a new channel to maintain and establish contact with global buyers, and capture orders during the traditional peak sourcing season.

HKTDC Executive Director Margaret Fong said: "To help enterprises tie over the COVID-19 outbreak, we are launching a series of digital initiatives, including webinars and virtual exhibitions. We are also offering online-to-offline (O2O) promotion packages for companies to participate in our physical exhibitions and conduct promotions through our online platform, offering a double opportunity to expand their customer base and capture orders. In addition, to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), we are launching 'T-box' - which stands for Transformation Sandbox. This is a free SME support programme providing advisory service, networking, capacity-building and practical opportunities."

Virtual connections between global buyers and supplies

The HKTDC will launch a month-long Spring Virtual Expo on 1 April. Ms Fong said the digital exhibition will give Hong Kong businesses a new channel to maintain and establish contact with global buyers, and capture orders during the traditional peak sourcing season. "This will enable SMEs to continue to expand in mature and emerging markets. The HKTDC's online marketplace, hktdc.com Sourcing (sourcing.hktdc.com), has won multiple international awards. The site features more than 130,000 quality suppliers and more than 2 million international buyers, with over 24 million business connections made every year. Supplier information is verified by third-party organisations to enhance buyers' sourcing confidence," she added.

In addition to existing users of hktdc.com Sourcing, the Spring Virtual Expo aims to attract other active online buyers. The HKTDC will promote the Spring Virtual Expo and organise online buying missions through its 50 offices worldwide, including those in Mainland China. The HKTDC will also invite buyers from all over the world to participate, including VIP buyers and those who have participated in HKTDC fairs.

Multiple sectors covered

To further enhance the effectiveness of business matching, the Spring Virtual Expo will focus on four themes: technology - lighting and electronics; gifts and houseware; lifestyle; and fashion and beauty. The 33 groups of products covered under the four themes will include lighting, construction and hardware, electronics and computer accessories; home products, gifts, toys, baby products and stationery; jewellery, watches and glasses; and fashion accessories, clothing, and health and beauty products.

To help meet their different sourcing needs, global buyers will receive personalised product recommendations through online channels such as social media, online advertising and email, helping buyers and sellers to seal deals more quickly.

Fast-track to e-commerce

With a notable growth in online sales amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the HKTDC is helping local SMEs capitalise on this trend, equipping them with relevant knowledge and offering a platform through which they can conduct e-commerce business.

Ms Fong said the HTKDC has launched a series of e-commerce webinars, providing SMEs with practical information and expanding their knowledge of e-commerce. Representatives from multinationals such as Google are offering comprehensive insights into online promotion strategies, including search engine optimisation (SEO), omni-channel retailing, designing attractive websites, and the precautions needed when taking online orders. Besides, the HKTDC will organise MarketingPulse webinar series to help businesses to build brands and to define new marketing strategies.

Omni-channels to explore new opportunities

The HKTDC is offering a range of O2O packages combining online and offline promotion. "Exhibitors can showcase products at the exhibitions and promote online at the same time. This extends the fair period so businesses can reach more buyers and field orders," said Ms Fong. With subsidies from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSAR), local businesses can join the introductory package free of charge or join the "Showcase Display + Online Promotion" package at half price.

"We hope that the online promotion together with the upcoming trade fairs can create synergy to help SMEs promote their products and field orders," said Ms Fong. She added that the HKTDC will organise a Summer Sourcing Week from 25 to 28 July. Featuring nine fairs located at the same venue, it will provide a one-stop cross-industry platform for global buyers to replenish their stocks. Additionally, the HKTDC is looking into O2O business-matching services at its fairs so that overseas buyers who cannot come to Hong Kong can locate target exhibitors in advance. Video conferences will be arranged between buyers and exhibitors to discuss business deals.

Commitment to help local businesses upgrade and transform

The HKTDC will offer the new T-box programme free of charge. The programme aims to help SMEs explore any of the four transformation goals - branding, e-commerce, new markets and manufacturing relocation. It provides market intelligence and advisory services covering various areas, including intellectual property rights, export credit management and financing methods, business law, operation of letter of credit, product design, marketing and licensing, government regulations in the mainland, customs declaration and taxation, as well as profiles of the mainland, Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. Participants in the T-box programme can also join HKTDC events at a discount during their three-month participation period.

The HTKDC is also committed to nurturing start-ups in Hong Kong. The number of beneficiaries in this year's Start-up Express programme, to be commenced in June, will increase to 20 from the 10 laureates last year. The HKTDC will enhance business matching for the winners and support the enterprises in tapping new markets and securing funding. The HKTDC will also offer a "Free-trial" online package to help start-ups and entrepreneurs expand their network of buyers, investors and partners through the "hktdc.com Sourcing" platform.

Reaffirming Hong Kong's role as global investment and business hub

"We remain committed to help local businesses overcome all challenges. When the pandemic is over, we will focus on rebuilding international confidence in Hong Kong. We will work with the HKSAR Government and other partnering organisations to organise major events in mature and emerging markets to promote Hong Kong as an international investment and business hub while helping local SMEs capture global business opportunities," Ms Fong said. The Council will also organise high-level business missions to open new markets and underlines Hong Kong's role as a global business hub.

In addition, the HKTDC will conduct research on offerings in various industrial parks and organise outbound relocation/investment missions to countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc to help Hong Kong companies explore manufacturing expansion and investment opportunities. It will also enhance the "In Style, Hong Kong" promotion to showcase Hong Kong as a two-way investment and business hub, and organise a series of promotional campaigns to help local SMEs expand into ASEAN retail markets.

*UFI reference: https://www.ufi.org/news-media/media-releases/

# Note to editors: Considering the impact of COVID-19, the HKTDC has adjusted its schedule of exhibitions and conferences as part of a continued endeavour to create business opportunities for various sectors through multiple channels. For details, please visit: https://home.hktdc.com/en/s/health-protection-measures

Photo Download: https://bit.ly/33Lo4wU

HKTDC's Communications & Public Affairs Department
Beatrice Lam, Tel: +852 2584 4049, Email: beatrice.hy.lam@hktdc.org

Topic: Trade Show or Conference
Source: HKTDC

Sectors: Trade Shows
From the Asia Corporate News Network

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