HONG KONG, Dec 1 – Amid global economic challenges and intense competition, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to upgrade and add value to their products and services to stay ahead. To provide SMEs with a range of supporting services and business opportunities and help them capture global opportunities, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is staging the 16th World SME Expo and the second edition of the Hong Kong International Franchising Show.
The concurrent events opened today and continue through 3 December at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC, Raymond Yip said this year is the HKTDC’s 50th anniversary. He said over the past half-century the HKTDC has always strived to create business opportunities for Hong Kong’s SMEs.
“As the finale events of the Council’s Golden Jubilee, the World SME Expo and the Hong Kong International Franchising Show are continuing the HKTDC’s tradition by providing a highly effective one-stop business platform for SMEs to capture worldwide opportunities. The International Franchising Show, in particular, is featuring more well-known brands and franchising concepts in its much-anticipated second edition,” said Raymond.
Belt and Road Zone
This year’s World SME Expo features more than 400 exhibitors from 35 countries and regions, many of whom are keen to learn more about the Belt and Road Initiative and the unprecedented opportunities that are set to emerge along the Belt and Road routes for companies around the globe.
To help Hong Kong SMEs seize opportunities arising from the Initiative, the Opportunities Hall of the World SME Expo features a dedicated “Belt and Road Zone”. The zone has gathered more than 40 exhibitors from 19 Belt and Road countries, including those from Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe, to showcase their respective developments and partnership opportunities.
It also spotlights the economic and trade cooperation zones and industrial parks in Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia and Belarus that have been set up with investment from the Chinese mainland. Visitors can learn about the investment environment, conditions and latest developments of these cooperation zones and industrial parks and identify new opportunities.
At the event’s Solutions Hall, SMEs can find a range of practical business solutions, including m-commerce and e-tailing services, which are among the consumer trends shaping business models worldwide. Government departments and business chambers are also showcasing supporting services for different types of businesses.
Close to 70 speakers share their business experience
This year, the World SME Expo is organising more than 30 seminars and workshops. The “Innovation & Branding – The New Breed of SMEs” seminar series, co-organised with the Trade and Industry Department, features leading entrepreneurs discussing ways to develop products and services, adjust business operation models and forge successful brand transformation.
Speakers include Eric Sun, Managing Director of Kinox Trading Limited, who is an expert in branding through O2O marketing, and Dr Alfred Ng, Chief Technology Officer of Suga International Holdings Ltd, who will speak about ways to harness the power of Internet of Things (IoT) technology to develop industrial ecosystems.
The seminar series “Embracing The Latest Trend of E-Commerce”, gathers industry experts from Google, LinkedIn and Baidu to share insights into mobile apps, social media trends and digital marketing strategies. The HKTDC has also invited renowned entrepreneurs to share their business experience at the expo. Speakers include Quincy Wong, Chairman of Convoy Global Holdings Ltd; Vincent Tsui, Chief Marketing Officer of Next Digital Ltd; and Skye Chan, Founder of e-tailing shop Gift-ing.
Hong Kong International Franchising Show
Franchising is an established model of business expansion that is particularly common in the food and beverage, retail and other services sectors. With a growing number of middle class brand-savvy consumers, brands are choosing franchising as a way to expand their business.
To cater to this trend, the HKTDC debuted the Hong Kong International Franchising Show last year to provide a one-stop platform for companies and entrepreneurs to find franchising opportunities, business partners and get expert tips on franchising.
This year, the fair has gathered more than 100 exhibitors from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Korea, Taiwan, the ASEAN region and Australia as well as Europe and the United States to showcase franchising opportunities in food and beverage, retail, education, health and beauty, and other personal and business services in three thematic zones: “Catering”, “Non-Catering” and “International”.
Various well-known franchising brands have returned to the show, including Papa John’s Pizza, a US pizza chain; Trendyland Studio, which specialises in selling Disney products and providing Disney-themed photography services; and KamCha, a local Hong Kong food and beverage brand.
New exhibitors include Sunshine 24, Hong Kong’s first 24-hour self-serve laundry chain; Cafe Cafe, a Canadian specialty coffee brand; Coerver Coaching, a football training system; InXpress, an international courier intermediary company; and Hong Kong’s School of Creativity.
“Advice from the Wise” seminar series
This year, the HKTDC has launched a new seminar series called “Advice from the Wise”. The series features industry experts from the US, Japan, Malaysia, Australia and the Chinese mainland sharing advice on how to enter the mainland market, new operating ideas for the catering sector and how to develop domestic services into franchises.
At the “Round Table Meeting”, representatives from franchising associations in the Asia-Pacific region are set to analyse the latest franchising trends, including those in Singapore, Australia, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Business matching services and networking events are arranged during the event to help visitors expand their networks. There is also a series of Brand Briefing Sessions for visitors to explore cooperation opportunities.
Alongside the World SME Expo and Hong Kong International Franchising Show, two other concurrent events are underway, further enhancing business synergy for visitors. These events are the Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum and InnoDesignTech Expo. Together, the four events provide a highly-effective one-stop value-adding platform for SMEs to capture global opportunities.