In view of the current COVID-19 pandemic business travel climate, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has altered its strategy, migrating its nine physical exhibitions originally scheduled for the end of July onto an online platform. In addition, an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled business matching service is being introduced to help suppliers and buyers close more deals.

Organized by the HKTDC, Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE opens July 27 and runs until August 7. This 9-in-1 virtual trade exhibition has attracted more than 1,300 exhibitors, featuring Lighting, Electronics, Information & Communications Technology (ICT), Medical & Healthcare, Housewares, Fashion, Home Textiles & Furnishings, Gifts, Printing, and Packaging Products. This new online exhibition platform will help global buyers to replenish supplies and assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in exploring new business opportunities during a difficult time.

Benjamin Chau, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director, says, “Although the COVID-19 pandemic is presenting huge challenges for businesses globally, it also offers the prospect of online business opportunities for enterprises. The HKTDC has initiated various online promotions, including the Spring Virtual Expo in April and the Summer Virtual Expo in late June and July, to assist SMEs and international buyers overcome the challenges during this difficult period. Now, to further boost business connections between global exhibitors and buyers, we are launching Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE, an advanced online virtual exhibition that runs for 12 days starting from today and features the AI-enabled Click2Match business matching platform to help SMEs forge more connections and opportunities.”

Chau adds that Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE is one of the HKTDC initiatives helping to expand the e-commerce capabilities of Hong Kong businesses. “The HKTDC is actively equipping SMEs to embrace the digital economy. In addition to strengthening cooperation with a number of technology partners to provide Hong Kong companies with more cost-effective digital solutions, the interface and functions of our hktdc.com Sourcing online marketplace will be further enhanced and relaunched later this year, utilizing a variety of new technologies to improve business matching efficiency.”

The one-month Summer Virtual Expo drew to a successful close on July 24, helping more than 22,000 suppliers connect with buyers from around the world. From April to July, the number of buyers browsing the hktdc.com Sourcing online marketplace increased by nearly 20 percent to 4.2 million compared to the same period in 2019.

Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE will help exhibitors from the nine physical fairs build a virtual presence to connect with global buyers. The virtual exhibition offers multiple new functions that make it easy for buyers to source online. These include the Click2Match business matching platform that operates automatically using big data and AI technology, plus other functions covering meeting planning, video meetings, live chat, and online seminars run by industry experts, all of which will provide a better online sourcing and communication experience for buyers and exhibitors alike. More than 5,000 business matching meetings have been pre-arranged to increase business opportunities.

The Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE portal highlights featured products and details of the nine fairs for participants’ easy reference. The Intelligence Hub introduces various webinars, including “Tech Trends Symposium 2020 – The Future of Intelligent Connectivity” (July 28), which will address the impact of the artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT), the smart home, 5G technology applications, and other related issues. Elsewhere, representatives from WGSN, the global authority on consumer and design trends, will share their views in “WGSN Presents: Lifestyle & Interiors Trends Presentation S/S 2021” (July 29), while the “Asian Lighting Forum 2020 – Shaping the Future of Lights” (July 30) will analyze the prospects of smart lighting from a human-centric perspective. The “Trendwatcher – The Reshaping of Retail Landscape” seminar (July 31) will feature representatives from internationally renowned market research agency Euromonitor International and local branding consultancy REALLY DESIGN.

Here are the links for handy reference:

Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE official website: https://ssw.hktdc.com

Seminar registration: https://bit.ly/32AdZVf

Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE promotion video: https://bit.ly/2ZYiwiG