The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has shared details for its new hybrid sourcing event, the HKTDC International Sourcing Show, providing both online and physical formats for the first time.

The show runs from March to July 2021, integrating seven HKTDC trade fairs that were originally scheduled to take place in Spring 2021. It is designed to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) explore business opportunities across a range of industries amid the pandemic and capture digital opportunities.

The online component commenced last week and runs until 29 July 2021, under the central theme ‘Your source of inspiration’, offering video meetings that will bring buyers and exhibitors together. The physical fair is expected to take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 26 to 29 July 2021, to provide face-to-face business opportunities.

The online fair features a range of lifestyle products and solutions from more than 1,400 exhibitors from 20 countries and regions, divided into four themed categories: Smart Home(home textiles and furnishing, houseware), Smart Play (baby products, toys and games), Smart Style (fashion, gifts and premium items, printing and packaging solutions) and Smart Tech(electronic goods, lighting products, medical and healthcare products).

There is a 3D virtual booth as part of the online fair for exhibitors to promote their brand and products, which is supported by a new product video production service to help exhibitors who are not equipped with production resources.

An AI-powered Click2Match business-matching tool supports meeting scheduling, video meetings and live chat sessions, among other functions to establish contact with new buyers and exhibitors from around the world.

There will be 17 webinars with over 40 leading industry figures being held during the online fair to share market trends and insights.

HKTDC executive director, Benjamin Chau said the pandemic has had a huge impact on the global economy, including the exhibition industry with most physical trade shows either being cancelled or rescheduled over the past year. More than 60 HKTDC events have been postponed or migrated online.

“Our exhibitions are a vital source for SMEs in Hong Kong, helping them secure an average of 40% of their annual business orders. Although the pandemic has eased, travel restrictions still make it difficult to stage local events in a physical format in the first half of 2021.

“The HKTDC reacted to this situation in an innovative and flexible way launching a new sourcing event, the HKTDC International Sourcing Show, that integrates seven HKTDC trade fairs originally scheduled for this Spring.

“With this arrangement, the industry can use the HKTDC online exhibition platform to stay connected through virtual meetings and once the pandemic has further eased, they will be able to discover more business opportunities and enjoy invaluable face-to-face contact through the physical show.”