Events are returning, businesses in Hong Kong may see a light on the horizon in 2023. A further relaxation of Covid measures and a full border reopening with China can get Hong Kong back to normal as soon as possible
Four global trade shows will return to Hong Kong in 2023 after a coronavirus
-pandemic enforced hiatus during which many relocated temporarily to Singapore.
Jewellery & Gem World Hong Kong and Jewellery & Gem Asia Hong Kong will both return to the city next year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB). While the former was held in Singapore this year, a scaled-back Jewellery & Gem Asia Hong Kong was held in the city earlier this year, without any international participants because of Hong Kong’s tough quarantine rules.
The returning trade shows will give Hong Kong “an edge” when it comes to attracting more international business events, said Kenneth Wong, general manager of MICE and Cruise at HKTB.
“Their return highlights Hong Kong’s strong fundamentals, favourable business environment, rich tourism offerings and enormous opportunities brought by the Greater Bay Area,” he said.
The return of global trade shows comes amid efforts by the Hong Kong government to bring back major events, since a slow scale-back of the city’s tough Covid
-19 restrictions. November saw a slew of events including the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s first Global Financial Leaders Summit. This was followed by the return of the Rugby Sevens tournament, which had not been held in Hong Kong for three years.
Jewellery & Gem World Hong Kong will be held at Asiaworld Expo and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) on September 18-24, while Jewellery & Gem Asia Hong Kong will be held from June 22-25 at HKCEC, the HKTB said on Monday.
“The last three years have proved that the jewellery sourcing experience is simply not the same without our fully-fledged, international business-to-business [B2B] fairs,” said David Bondi, senior vice-president at Informa Markets in Asia, which organises both the Jewellery & Gem shows.
Cosmoprof Asia, the largest B2B beauty exhibition in the Asia-Pacific region, will return to Hong Kong from November 12-17 at AsiaWorld Expo. This year’s edition was also held in Singapore.
Additionally, premier fresh-produce fair Asia Fruit Logistica, which was held in Bangkok this year, will return to HKCEC next November. The fair has been held in Hong Kong since 2008.
It was a strategic decision to return to the city, its organisers said. “We’ve missed Hong Kong because of its unrivalled efficiency, connectivity, ease of doing business, favourable trade policies and dynamic market,” said David Axiotis, managing director of organiser Global Produce Events (HK).
The HKTB said it has attracted more than 30 major B2B conventions in the next few years to the city. In total, these events are expected to draw more than 300,000 participants.
A trade show needs at least six to nine months to prepare, and ideally up to 12 months, so that organisers can arrange better resources, said Lierence Li, founder of Market Hubs Intelligence. “Traffic is very important,” Li said, adding that exhibitors want to make sure the money put into a show pays off.
This will require open borders between mainland China and Hong Kong, Li said. The city is not attractive enough to draw buyers on its own, and businesspeople want to be able to make trips to factories and fairs in China as well, while stopping over in the city, he added.
Such events, however, might not have an immediate impact on business activity in Hong Kong, others said.
“Hong Kong business activity and the economy will pick up gradually, but it won’t be rebounding immediately to pre-Covid
-19 levels,” said Martin Wong, director and head of research at Knight Frank Hong Kong.
It will be a slog to bring businesses back to pre-pandemic levels while the city’s “0+3” Covid
-19 rules are in place and the border with China remains closed, he added. However, considering that the city’s economy has been at an all-time low in 2022, business activity and the economy should have positive year-on-year growth next year.