By Angela Dorizas in Hong Kong

HONG KONG: The wow factor was certainly lacking, but the 2008 Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) still attracted record crowds, with the four-day global sourcing fair drawing in 51,851 visitors and 3,045 local and international exhibitors.

There was also high attendance at the concurrent International ICT Expo, with a record 27,105 visitors.

The fair highlighted the latest trends in consumer electronics, including in-car navigation and entertainment, USB and flash storage devices, portable DVD, micro systems, personal media players and iPod docking stations.

Large screen LCD and plasma TVs were noticeably absent, but small size LCD TVs were in abundance. Wireless and Bluetooth technology were incredibly popular – with wireless digital photo frames impossible to miss.

Despite the absence of stand-out products, Australian buyers were generally impressed with the fair.

According to Musicway managing director Michael Hollyman, the fair opened up new sourcing opportunities.

“A number of opportunities were presented in both agency and house brand lines,” Hollyman told Current.

Kmart AV buyer, Terrence McEvey, was generally impressed with the product line-up.

“I am quite happy with what I have seen here this time,” he said.

Featuring high quality and globally recognised brands, the prestigous Hall of Fame provided buyers with the best glimpse of the latest global trends. This year it included an Australian exhibitor, Kaya Industries.

The Bangalow based company showcased its in-house designed video game accessories under the Tool brand.

With a focus on ergonomic design, Tool gaming accessories stood out from competitors, said Kaya Industries sales director Liran Akavia.

“We specialise in designer video game accessories that enhance the gaming experience,” Akavia told Current.

“We have had a lot of interest from competitors at the fair.”

Another hit in the Hall of Fame was USB flash memory devices. The design-focused, Hong Kong-based Podera brand showcased its iF awarding winning PH-L1 Luxe Hub-4 USB. The device splits a single USB port in four, allowing for simultaneous access. Available in striking reds and yellows, the USB hub was designed by Podera managing director Eric Ying.

“I think there needs to be more style in electronics. Consumers actually demand more than internal features,” Ying said.

There were a large number of style conscious exhibitors at this year’s fair. Hong Kong based Starline International showed off its Sly’d USB flash device – another recipient of the 2008 iF product design award. The sliding USB device is available in a range of fashionable colours.

Dutch audio brand Lenco hosted an impressive AV display, including portable DVD players, micro systems and in-car audio. During the fair, STL Group BV – Lenco’s parent company – unveiled its L78 golden turntable to celebrate the sale of one million Lenco turntables worldwide.

The company is currently negotiating distribution of the Lenco brand within the Australian market. The Hong Kong fair provided a valuable platform for sourcing international distributors, said Lenco president and CEO, Nico Brabers.

“Thanks to this fair – one of the most important consumer electronic fairs in the world – we are able to get in touch with important players in the field,” Brabers told Current.

According to organisers the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the fair is expected to provide incremental economic growth in the Hong Kong electronics industry.

Last year’s fair contributed to an 11 per cent increase in Hong Kong’s electronic exports, said Dr Roy Chung, chairman of the HKTDC Electrical Appliances Industries Advisory Committee.

“That is largely due to the industry’s resourcefulness , its endless ability to remain competitive in a global marketplace and hard work. The Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) is another reason behind the industry’s success,” Dr Chung said.

The HKTDC will host a larger Autumn Edition of the Electronics Fair in October 2008.