Blog: Much cause for celebration in Hong Kong

Joe Ayling | 31 March 2009

The organisers of this year’s Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong are choosing to celebrate 25 years as hosts of Asia’s biggest trade fair, rather than sulk at the misgivings of the financial crisis.

And at first glance there is much cause for optimism in China, despite frequent media reports of export woes and factory closures.

The average consumer in the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, for instance, is still spending freely and at price ranges edging closer to Western fashion stores.

Hong Kong’s markets, shops and malls are brimming with a level of confidence absent in the UK, for instance, and although the downturn has hit suppliers, China seems as much venue as manufacturer these days.

Overseas fashion chains like Marks & Spencer and Inditex, together with a host of luxury brands, are in turn focused on supplying a vibrant Chinese consumer.

Moreover, the country’s own brands are drawing on well-established production synergies to drive retail business.

The Prime Source Forum - now in its fourth year - is an international event though, and today’s MM&T (Materials, Manufacturing and Technology) trade show has exhibitors from 55 countries, while the Fashion Access event plays host to 35 different nations.

As expected, the vast majority are from China and Hong Kong, and whether this can be attributed to location alone is up for debate.

This event started up as the Hong Kong Leather Fair in 1984 under the guidance of Derek Dickins, who proudly attended this morning’s opening press conference.

Since then the Asian fashion business has evolved massively, with organisers APLF estimating that global footwear production, for example, has grown from 8bn to 16bn pairs in the past quarter of a century.

Brands at Prime Source will be keener than ever this year to ask their peers the question: ‘What would you do in my shoes?’

By Joe Ayling, in Hong Kong.

Business as usual for APLF at this week's Fashion Access fair

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