Fluid Branding's Sourcing & Procurement Manager, Peter Murdoch embarked on a seven day trip to Hong Kong to attend the world's largest gifts show – The Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair, as well as a short journey across the border into China to visit a couple of our current factories. Whilst on his travels, Peter wrote a blog (mainly during the night due to his jet lag!) so have a read to see what he got up to whilst in the Far East.
Friday / Saturday - Travelling & Arriving in Wan Chai, Hong Kong
An Early morning start to an arduous journey across to the other side of the world and a whole day’s worth of travelling later, finally gets me to my destination in Wan Chai, Hong Kong and what a culture shock it is! It's now early evening in Hong Kong (8 hours ahead of the UK) and the district is tightly packed with sky scrapers, bustling pavements and deliveries of food into small huts serving street food.
You'd think a day’s worth of travelling would take it out of you, however a night of jet lag was to shortly follow!
Sunday - The Peak & Chinese Food!
My one free day during the trip ensured I got up and out to see what Hong Kong had to offer and what an amazing place it was. I decided to visit the infamous 'Peak' - the highest point on Hong Kong Island. In order to get to this point, I had to board the Peak Tram, one of the world’s oldest and most famous funicular railways rising to approx. 1300 feet above sea level and so steep that the buildings you pass look like they are leaning at a gradient of between 4 to 27 degrees!
As well as being an amazing view, there was an array of great shopping and dining areas including 'Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co.' restaurant as well as a some famous faces! Today was also a great opportunity to start sampling some Chinese food!
Monday / Tuesday - The World's Largest Gift Show
Today I attended the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair, the world's largest gift show, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The show had over 4200 exhibitors from 38 different countries and regions, spread over 10 halls and 5 floors.
The fair offered sought-after gifts and premiums specific to innovative design, outdoor and travel goods, environmentally friendly products, stationery, tech gifts and a lot more!
The show was an opportunity to source new products and ideas as well as explore potential new relationships with factories but also to catch up with our current ones. Some great products were found as well as some weird and wacky ones!
Wednesday / Thursday - To China & Factories
After a full on 2 days walking the Gifts & Premiums fair, I made my way to Shenzhen in mainland China to visit some of our major factories, allowing me to gain an insight into how they operate and the production processes but also for me to audit them in line with required standards, covering product compliance, employee welfare as well as health and safety within the factories. Upon my arrival in China, I was met by the Manager of one of our largest technology factories and discussed current business over lunch (which was interesting!)
After a 30 minute drive into the industry district within Shenzhen, we arrive at security within a very built up area where the factory is based. I arrive to see a well laid out factory floor with separate sales office and extensive quality department.
Whilst walking round, I come across one of our own Power Bank orders being printed and watch as it goes through the various quality checks. I take a lot out of the factory visits, being able to see first-hand just how much time and effort goes into the manufacturing processes that we take completely for granted.
After a long 2 days of factory visits in pretty extreme, humid heat, I'm ready for a hearty meal so I head back to my hotel early evening to sample the delights of the authentic Chinese restaurant but upon arrival regret it immediately once I see the Pork Trotter & Jelly Fish on the menu!
Friday - Last Day
The final day of my trip and all in all worthwhile, a lot accomplished albeit within a very short timeframe. With my case full of new contacts and product brochures, I was excited to be returning home with new product ideas ready to present to the sales team as well as some tasty Crispy Egg Rolls for them to try, Chinese style!
Our relationships with suppliers, whether they are based in the UK, Europe of the Far East are vital to us at Fluid and we regard them as partners. Visits to trade shows and factories located around the world are so important for us to maintain and develop these partnerships but also to be at the forefront of the latest developments within our industry, remain competitive and to ensure we are supplying ethically sound products at the highest possible quality.