'Choose a trade fair that maximizes business value' - APLF
A trade fair is a platform which brings together buyers and sellers on one platform for marketing and promotion of their products. In this recessionary phase, even the trade fair industry has not been spared and is facing contraction of business. Fibre2fashion spoke exclusively to Mr Michael Duck, Director of APLF telling us about the current situation in the trade fair industry. APLF Ltd is a joint venture between UBM Asia and SIC Group. For over two decades, Hong Kong-based APLF Ltd has been providing the global leather industry with its most important meeting and trading place.
APLF Ltd provides global companies a chance to trade and exchange information at a number of trade fairs. These include APLF - Materials Manufacturing and Technology, Fashion Access (bi-annual fairs) and the Prime Source Forum, which are all held in Hong Kong. We started by asking him the impact of crisis in the first quarter of 2009, to which he replied “The performance in the first quarter has exceeded our expectations. We saw on the fair grounds of this year's MM&T and Fashion Access that numerous people were conducting real business. To me this is a true measure of trade show success”.
“Nonetheless we were also pleased with our visitor numbers in the context of today's economy. We attracted almost 30,000 visitors to MM&T and Fashion Access March 2009, a significant number considering the industry-wide cut in travel budgets”. He also added, “Furthermore, despite a reduction in the number of visitors from some countries and regions, there were increased participation from important markets such as Spain, the Middle East, Thailand, Pakistan and South American countries Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela”.
We then inquired as to what extra lengths they were going to maintain levels of participation of both, exhibitors and visitors, as of that in the last year's edition, to which he said, “For the past 25 years, since our first fair, APLF has always placed emphasis on cultivating a strong business-focused environment to facilitate networking and real transactions at our events. We understand the changing needs of our customers and we have the expertise and connections to meet those needs effectively”, he explained.
He continued by saying “Our capacity to sense and adapt swiftly to industry changes and always stay two steps ahead is why fashion, materials and apparel professionals throughout the supply chain consider our Hong Kong fairs MM&T, Fashion Access and Prime Source Forum as must-attend events”. “Today we are also firmly placed on the fashion map as we continue to grow our fairs' value by offering innovating and design-focused materials and finished products. This was particularly highlighted in our March 2009 fairs with the participation of design leader Swarovski, which debuted at APLF to showcase their component brand”, asserted Mr Duck.
“We also continue to host a range of industry-related seminars that offer like-minded people a place to gather information, brainstorm and share concerns, opinions and ideas”.