Saturday, June 22, 2024

SmartBiz Expo and Franchising Show Spotlight on Innovation & Enterprise Development Solutions for SMEs

Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the second edition of the SmartBiz Expo and the fourth Hong Kong International Franchising Show both opened 5 Dec at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). The twin events, which run from 5-7 Dec, have attracted more than 650 local, Mainland Chinese and overseas exhibitors to offer enterprise development solutions and innovations that can help to upgrade businesses, improve profitability and enhance franchising opportunities. Various seminars are being held during the event where industry experts will cover topics including Industry 4.0, the development of smart cities, e-commerce and franchising strategies.

The joint opening ceremony for SmartBiz Expo and another HKTDC event, the Asian E-tailing Summit, was held on 5 Dec . Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), officiated at the ceremony and delivered the opening remarks.

Welcoming delegates to the expo, HKTDC Executive Director Margaret Fong said: “Global issues such as the ongoing trade conflict between China and the United States make it all the more important for businesses to work in a smarter way, and be more responsive to new developments. The SmartBiz Expo is all about getting companies up to speed with the latest business solutions, creative ideas and cutting-edge technologies – helping you to seek out new opportunities and drive your businesses forward.”

Upgrading Businesses Under Industry 4.0

The SmartBiz Expo has attracted more than 520 exhibitors from 40 countries and regions, providing a range of business solutions and innovative business ideas. The expo features three key themes for the business industry, including Industry 4.0. Under Industry 4.0, companies adopt new technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, robotics and automation, to streamline their production processes and reduce costs, boost efficiency and productivity, and help them to launch new products and services that can increase profitability. Various exhibitors at the expo, such as the Logistics and Supply Chain MultiTech R&D Centre, Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel Limited, and the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, offer AI and automation solutions that can assist different industries in upgrading their business.

On the first day of the expo, seminars have been arranged to explore issues relating to Industry 4.0. Representatives from the Hong Kong Productivity Council and INC Invention Centre joined industry experts to examine the opportunities and challenges presented by Industry 4.0. Other seminars covered issues such as cloud computing, IoT, automation and smart robotics, helping participants to get a stronger understanding of Industry 4.0’s potential by learning about the latest developments, applications and supporting solutions on the market.

Smart City Opportunities

All major cities are developing into smart cities and Hong Kong is no exception. Besides large-scale projects involving network coverage, transportation and urban development, there are new opportunities for different industries and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the area of smart city development. The expo features exhibitors showcasing smart products, applications and solutions for household use, office use, and for deployment in the industrial and services sectors.

The second day of the expo (6 Dec) will feature a series of smart city-related seminars. Representatives from the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and Electrical and Mechanical Services Department of the HKSAR, as well as the HK Wireless Technology Industry Association, will explain the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong. In addition, representatives from major technology companies, including Canon, Cisco, Google, Huawei, Microsoft and Siemens, will share their insights on issues such as big data, IoT, and new jobs in the digital era.

E-commerce Market Expands

The e-commerce market has been growing rapidly in recent years, bringing in new distribution channels and revolutionising the retailing ecosystem. The E-commerce Pavilion, comprising the E-Commerce Association of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Cross-border E-Commerce Association, Hong Kong Top 10 E-Commerce Club, Hong Kong Federation of E-commerce, Hong Kong General Chamber of Cross-border E-commerce, Hong Kong Internet & Ecommerce Association, Hong Kong Netrepreneurs Association and the Hong Kong O2O E-commerce Federation, provides support and professional advice for companies looking to develop an e-commerce business. The zone also features various services providers covering market research, branding strategies, online platform choices, sales management, logistics and supply chain management, digital marketing and big data analysis to provide visitors with a one-stop e-commerce support service.

On the third day of the expo (7 Dec), experts will speak at a series of seminars to discuss e-commerce platforms, conversational commerce, e-commerce logistics and last-mile delivery, all of which are aimed at helping SMEs prepare for the new world of e-commerce business.

Themed Zones Spotlight Innovation, Cross-border Opportunities

The expo is divided into several themed zones. Techtopia showcases the latest technological applications that help business innovate and upgrade; Boosters provides comprehensive business solutions to help SMEs stay competitive; while Pathfinder gathers exhibitors from 30 countries and regions to foster opportunities, including the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area Pavilion, where nine major cities from Guangdong province share their economic developments and priority industries to help SMEs capture Greater Bay Area opportunities. Hatchery features about 50 local and overseas innovation and technology start-ups, showcasing their innovative services and products and enabling them to meet with potential partners and investors. Envision Lot gathers creations from some 140 inventors, with highlights including the first Asia Exhibition of Inventions Hong Kong, organised by the Hong Kong Exporters Association in partnership with Palexpo, showcasing inventions from some 40 local and Mainland Chinese inventors.

Seminars Help SMEs Capture Opportunities

To help provide a one-stop support platform for SMEs, a number of thematic seminars are being organised in response to recent trade situations and market developments. They include “The Way Forward for Hong Kong’s SMEs under the China-US Trade War”, organised by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Small and Medium Business, which examines the current foreign trade environment; and the “InnoTech for Branding” seminar series, which explains the use of blockchain, inventory management, social media and other innovative technologies in raising brand value. Other seminar topics cover Greater Bay Area and ASEAN opportunities, the Halal food market and brand inheritance.

Franchising Show Fosters Entrepreneurs

Held concurrently with SmartBiz Expo, the fourth Hong Kong International Franchising Show has attracted more than 130 exhibitors from 13 countries and regions. The exhibition features four zones: the Hong Kong Food and Beverage zone, Hong Kong Non-Food and Beverage zone, Chinese Mainland zone and International zone, all of which offer plenty of franchising opportunities across different sectors. Participating brands include Kam Cha, Woo Hong Kong Snacks, Taiwan-style beverage brand Chun Feng Milk House, Subway restaurant, the 7-Eleven convenience store, STEAM education centre TECHBOB Academy, ANVIO VR Gaming Centre and 24/7 Fitness. Franchising consultants and agencies are among the exhibitors offering franchising solutions to help brand owners expand their business.

During the fair period, a series of discussions will provide practical tips for franchising, covering subjects such as kickstarting a franchising business, franchising management technologies, digital word-of-mouth and franchising in Belt and Road markets. The Brand Briefing seminar series allows participants to understand each franchising brand’s characteristics and business strategies. Visitors can also join Franchising Demo events to try out the products and services of different brands.

Concurrent Events Explore IP Management and Innovative Design

The HKTDC is holding five events at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this week — the Asian E-tailing Summit (5 Dec), the HKTDC SmartBiz Expo (5-7 Dec), the HKTDC Hong Kong International Franchising Show (5-7 Dec), the Business of IP Asia Forum (6-7 Dec) and DesignInspire (6-8 Dec). These events focus on new technology and covers various stages of the value chain, including research and development, design, production, sales and marketing. They aim to help small and medium-sized enterprises enhance their competitiveness and cost-effectiveness and develop new business areas and markets to adapt to the ever-changing economic landscape.

SmartBiz Expo and Hong Kong International Franchising Show (HKIFS)

Date and Time: 5-6 Dec      9:30am-6pm

7 Dec       10am-6pm

Venue: Hall 1B-E, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC)

Admission: Free Admission for trade visitors aged 18 or above only. HKIFS is open to members of the public aged 12 and above on 7 Dec.

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