Hong Kong fair rescheduled for end of June16 May 2003
Please explain the current situation with regards to SARS. Our information is that it began in Guangdong, mainland China, in November. When did it reach Hong Kong? SARS reached Hong Kong in March 2003. The Hong Kong Government has taken effective steps to contain the disease and deal with the SARS issue. The fatality rate is low: less than 3% in Hong Kong as compared to 10 to 15% for this kind of problem. Also, of the SARS related deaths in Hong Kong 65% were over age 65 and 82% were already suffering from chronic illness. People are concerned about the high temperatures/humidity at the end of June. Is there anything you can say to put their minds at rest? The average temperature in Hong Kong in June is 26-30°C and the humidity rate is around 85-90%. This should not, however, inconvenience our exhibitors and attendees as the fair is held indoors in a world class and air conditioned exhibition centre. As you well know, most of the places in Hong Kong, even taxis and other means of transportation, are also air conditioned. Several international fairs are taking place in Hong Kong in June like, for example, the June Jewellery Fair which attracts around 25,000 attendees and has been increasing in size for the past few years. Will the June edition of the show have the same look and feel? Have you been able to acquire all the halls? Yes, the June edition of APLF will be in the same format as the April edition. Although there is a very high occupancy rate in the HKCEC in June, we succeeded in securing most of the space we need for APLF. There will be no change at all in their stand numbers for the tanners and chemical exhibitors. If April exhibitors cancel because the timing is wrong for them, will they get a full refund? The rescheduling of APLF to June has been perceived by many in the industry as a very good move and the majority of our exhibitors have already confirmed that they will be present at APLF in June. In normal circumstances, June could be considered late in the fashion calendar. This year however, in view of the war in Iraq and the concern over travel due to the SARS outbreak, purchasing of materials has been delayed. Besides, June is traditionally the time when mainland Chinese factories start looking for materials for producing the autumn/winter collection. If SARS hasn't cleared up when would you consider postponing it to? Could it be moved to the Shanghai fair time/location? No one can speculate on the development and outcome of the SARS situation at this stage. The WHO experts are working very hard with the collaboration of all countries involved. Since the outbreak, there has been significant advancements in finding the origin of the virus and, importantly, effective treatments. Many people have expressed doubts about the timing since European and American tanneries close down during the summer. Can you say anything to convince them to still exhibit on the eve of their shutdown. Please refer to the answer to your second question regarding wrong timing. Again, this year is quite exceptional and many exhibitors assured us that they will rearrange their personal schedule to fit the demands of business. In these difficult economic times, most will not miss the opportunity to be in Hong Kong for the annual meeting of the leather industry. This June event will be the first opportunity to meet with their Asian customers. It is important to note that the Asian manufacturing sector remains very powerful and no slow down in manufacturing has been experienced so far. The demand for materials from Chinese manufacturers, in particular, is still very high.