HONG KONG, June 29, 2022 — The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is launching the brand-new hybrid exhibition model EXHIBITION+ to strengthen its exhibition platform.
International trade fairs and sourcing modes have seen dramatic changes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the organisers of many physical exhibitions and seminars taking a new digitised or hybrid path.
Thus to assist enterprises in adapting to the new normal, and help them stay closely connected to international buyers, HKTDC is launching EXHIBITION+.
Meanwhile, the HKTDC International Sourcing Show runs from 5 to 8 July at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). Exhibitors and buyers at the event will be among the first to enjoy the smart business-matching platform, Click2Match, to actively assist them in seizing business opportunities.
HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Sophia Chong says: “The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on Hong Kong’s economy and particularly on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Amid the ongoing pandemic and geopolitical tensions, many enterprises have sought support from policies and aid packages to help them ride out the storm.
“From March 2020, the HKTDC adjusted quickly to the new reality, moving its various physical fairs, large-scale seminars and business-matching meetings to online platforms, striving to continue connecting local businesses with international buyers and offering various kinds of support.
“Now, the Council is launching EXHIBITION+ to help enterprises get better familiarised with digital platforms and capture online-to-offline international opportunities around the clock.”
90% buyers used online sourcing
According to a recent buyer survey conducted by the HKTDC, which interviewed 600 international buyers from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, Australia, Europe, Mainland China and the United States, most respondents (93%) had used online sourcing platforms, and over 85% had participated in virtual fairs to meet their sourcing needs.
The majority of respondents said they would be willing to conduct sourcing through physical fairs (63%) or hybrid fairs (59%) once travel restrictions are lifted. The survey findings revealed that in the future, physical and online-to-offline integrated fairs could complement each other. (Key survey findings are shown in the appendix below.)
HKTDC and EXHIBITION+
EXHIBITION+reinvents trade fairs to serve businesses anytime, anywhere.
EXHIBITION+ comprises four key exhibition elements, including HKTDC-organised physical fairs, the smart business-matching platform Click2Match, online-to-offline seminars under the Intelligence Hub, and the hktdc.com Sourcing platform, to provide round-the-clock services that boost the flexibility and effectiveness of business promotion for SMEs and offer benefits such as extended fair periods, expanded platforms and enhanced opportunities.
EXHIBITION+ extends face-to-face interactions from physical exhibitions to an online smart business-matching platform to help enterprises connect with business partners proactively. As always, the HKTDC’s 50 global offices will actively recruit international buyers, while its business-matching specialists will match suitable exhibitors according to buyers’ sourcing demands, and arrange online and offline meetings to facilitate business cooperation.
New business journey
With EXHIBITION+, exhibitors can start displaying their products to buyers on the fair website one month before the physical fair, while buyers can browse for products and shortlist exhibitors.
One week before the physical fair, both buyers and exhibitors can actively search for business targets through the Click2Match platform, check out AI-recommended leads and send meeting requests.
During the physical fair, they can meet at the fairground or online via Click2Match, while further online meetings can be scheduled and conducted up to one week after the fair. Exhibitors can still receive sourcing enquiries from buyers up to one month after the fair.
Smart business-matching platform Click2Match is built on the HKTDC’s extensive database to greatly enhance the accuracy of smart matching through AI and big data analytics. Compared to physical exhibitions, where exhibitors typically need to wait for buyers to visit their booths, Click2Match enables them to actively search for suitable buyers and arrange meetings with global buyers.
The platform features meeting scheduling, video conferencing, instant messaging, message translation (up to 14 languages), and file-sharing functions to facilitate easy communication between buyers and suppliers.
Fair attendees need just one account to seamlessly connect to the various HKTDC online platforms, allowing them to navigate between fair websites, Click2Match, hktdc.com Sourcing and the HKTDC Marketplace App anytime and anywhere.
In addition, a series of online and offline seminars and conferences will be hosted during exhibition periods, helping attendees tap into the latest market trends by attending activities in person or watching via livestreaming or playback.
Some exhibitors were given prior access to use the Click2Match platform in March. One of the exhibitors, Zuri Jewelry Company Ltd Director Victor Yiu, said the platform is very user-friendly. “We can even check buyers’ information before the fair and understand their sourcing demands, allowing us to better prepare for meetings and select the right products for buyers,” Mr Yiu says.
Another exhibitor, Chit Tat Clock & Watch Co Ltd General Manager Philip Lau, says he is using Click2Match to actively search for overseas buyers. “We will keep track of AI-recommended leads, look at their sourcing demands and schedule meetings in advance, hoping to increase the chance of orders being placed.”
Main survey findings from “B2B Online Sourcing: A Buyer Behaviour Study Towards Recovery”
Buyers who used online sourcing platforms in the past 12 months
– Yes 93%
– No 7%
Buyers who joined virtual fairs in the past 12 months
– Yes 85.5%
– No 14.5%
Buyers’ sourcing preferences in post-COVID-19 era
– Physical fairs 63%
– Hybrid fairs 59%
– Virtual fairs 37%
– Online sourcing platforms 21%
See the 2022 International Sourcing Show Details
International Sourcing Show website: (ACN Newswire)