The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has migrated nine physical exhibitions originally scheduled to be held by the end of July onto an online platform as part of its new strategy to deal with the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
In addition, an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled business matching service is being introduced to help suppliers and buyers close more deals.
The HKTDC-organised Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE opens 27 July and runs until 7 August.
This 9-in-1 virtual trade exhibition has attracted 1,300 exhibitors, featuring lighting, electronics, information and communications technology (ICT), medical and healthcare, houseware, fashion, home textiles and furnishings, gifts, printing and packaging products. The new platform is designed to help global buyers replenish supplies and assist SME) in exploring new business opportunities.
Benjamin Chau, HKTDC deputy executive director, said: "Although the Covid-19 pandemic is presenting huge challenges for businesses globally, it also offers the prospect of online business opportunities for enterprises. The HKTDC has initiated various online promotions, including the Spring Virtual Expo in April and the Summer Virtual Expo in late June and July, to assist SMEs and international buyers overcome the challenges during this difficult period. Now, to further boost business connections between global exhibitors and buyers, we are launching Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE, an advanced online virtual exhibition that runs for 12 days and features the AI-enabled Click2Match business matching platform."
Mr Chau added: "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 and relaunched later this year, utilising a variety of new technologies to improve business matching efficiency."
The one-month Summer Virtual Expo, which drew to a successful close on 24 July, helped 22,000 suppliers connect with buyers from around the world. From April to July, the number of buyers browsing the hktdc.com Sourcing online marketplace increased by nearly 20% to 4.2m compared to the same period in 2019.
Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE is designed to enable exhibitors from the nine physical fairs build a virtual presence to connect with global buyers.
The HKTDC's 50 global offices have been keeping in touch with buyers who attended its physical fairs previously, along with newly registered buyers. Over 5,000 business matching meetings have been pre-arranged.
The online exhibition presents a variety of disease prevention and control products, with the Smart Health Hong Kong zone showcasing a range of locally developed healthcare products. They include an antibacterial and antiviral coating, a disinfection robot, nanofibre-technology air filters, air sanitisers, an AI-assisted body temperature screening system, quarantine tracking technology and more.
The stay-at-home economy has also been driving demand for consumer electronics and home entertainment equipment. The virtual fair features a broad selection of smart home and lifestyle products.
The HKTDC is providing a special subsidy of HK$5,000 for each exhibitor taking part in Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE.
The original participation fee for the fair was HK$10,000. After deducting this special subsidy, local companies that meet the application criteria for the SME Export Marketing Fund are eligible to apply for an additional 50% subsidy based on the original participation fee. This means that their participation in the virtual expo can be free of charge.
The pandemic has forced HKTDC to change the dates for several exhibitions and conferences, as well as creating new channels. Details of the latest event arrangements can be found here.
Photo: Benjamin Chau, HKTDC deputy executive director, hosted virtual media briefings 27 July to introduce the virtual exhibition.