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China Fair Draws International Crowd

The China Sourcing Fair: Fashion Accessories staged its second show at the Asia World Expo with a 50 percent increase in exhibitors.

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HONG KONG — The China Sourcing Fair: Fashion Accessories staged its second show at the Asia World Expo with a 50 percent increase in exhibitors.

There were 750 booths in two halls with suppliers from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India. The show logged 12,975 buyers, an almost 30 percent increase over the April edition.

"We tried to identify a time convenient for buyers," said Merle Hinrichs, chairman and chief executive officer of organizer Global Sources.

The Fashion Accessories fair runs just before the huge, all-inclusive Canton Fair, which is celebrating its 100th edition this year and started Oct. 15. The Fashion Accessories fair ran Oct. 11 to 14.

The event included handbags, fashion jewelry, footwear, hats, umbrellas, belts, sunglasses and luggage, with an emphasis on China sourcing. The country exported $796 million in hats and caps in the first seven months of the year, a 21 percent jump, while exports of sunglasses brought in $350 million in the same period, up 36 percent compared with the previous year.

With those numbers, the fair proved a draw for buyers from firms such as Carrefour, Esprit, Gap, Li & Fung and Triumph International.

Buyers are setting the standard and making fashion, said Christopher Sellers, ceo at Agentrics, which represents 250 members, including 17 of the world's top 25 retailers, offering sourcing, supply chain collaboration, global data synchronization and product life-cycle management.

"The trends in…the latest fashion are being decided right here" at the accessories fair, he said, adding that many of Agentrics' retail customers attended the first show, as well as the most recent one.

To meet rising demand for swimwear — China shipped 70 percent of the world's total last year — the fair added an underwear and swimwear pavilion.

Representatives from Hong Kong's Grandland Corp. attended for the first time and registered for the 2007 April and October shows. This is the only fair that's this specialized, said managing director Derick Chong.

Grandland's products are split between swimwear and women's lingerie, which are exported mostly to the U.K. and Australia, with some business in the U.S. Target Stores and British Home Store are among its clients.

Sitting within the underwear and swimwear pavilion, it was easy to point out the differences in quality and workmanship between booths, Chong said.

"Buyers who see more stylish product and want cheap prices don't even stop by" Grandland's booth, he said, adding that competitors from China offer cheaper fare that might cater to Asian countries such as the Philippines, as well as South America and Mexico.

Shanghai Diyang Import & Export signed up for this fair after business was good at the first show, said Francis Wu, who works in sales for the rubber boot company that makes colorful, stylish Wellingtons for all ages.

Wu said the company wants to develop the China market, but it is "waiting for the chance" because the country doesn't have "fashionable boots…only solid colors." Clients include Marks & Spencer and Tesco.

Another company that came back because of good business the first time was Beina, a Hong Kong company specializing in high-end silk neckties and accessories mainly for the European market.

"We can attract more buyers" at a specialized fair, said Leo Man, the general manager. Some customers who didn't buy the first time showed interest in their products when they saw them at the fashion accessories fair again, he added.