The Hong Kong Lighting Fair 2014 (Autumn edition)
Hong Kong, 29th October 2014
While I came to China and Hong Kong as part of the CLDA activities over the last couples of days, I did take the opportunity to walk the fair. I had not been to the Hong Kong Fair for quite some years now, so it was interesting to see how much the fair has grown. During the HKDTC’s cocktail networking party on Monday night the show was announced as the second biggest in the world (after Frankfurt’s Light & Build I presume) and with more than 2500 exhibitors present that is not surprising! It is definitely bigger than Light Fair in the US and seeing the amount of LED companies present promoting their products the overall impression was overwhelming. In true Hong Kong style everything was jammed-packed with hundreds of small little booths side to side all with screaming LED lights with narrow (if any!) walking spaces in between the stands. The show has grown so big that it is bursting from its seams with stands allowed on the outside hall areas, the mezzanines and even the basement car park! …Incredible! It is of course no wonder to find so many “LED manufacturers” (Cowboys???) with the world’s LED cradle just a stone’s throw away in Guangdong province. Seeing the wood from the forest is the most difficult part when you walk around as there are some real good companies with some real good LED products on offer. Not the big brands that you are used to as these mostly stayed away. I did notice Cree and Lumileds but otherwise it was predominantly the second and third tier LED producers that where in attendance.
It begs the questions why the big boys stay away from this fair which is extremely well attended from all over the world. One explanation is possibly the fear of being copied, but I think that by now that reason is long overtaken with some of the local guys having innovative solutions that potentially have future. One could even say that the big boys by not joining may even miss the boat…another Kodak moment? It is for sure that the new kids on the LED block certainly give the big established boys a run for their money and seen in that light, Philips recently announce exit from the mass market lighting industry is better understandable.
Another more sinister reason is possibly the fact that the big boys are getting some or all their products exactly from these second and third tier LED producers, some of them proudly promoting the fact that they OEM some of their products to the big names. The open association could possibly harm their bottom line because why would you buy from the big boys if you can get exactly the same light from its original manufacturer?
Fact is that many of the established lighting companies will find it hard to maintain their leading roles in the new LED age with companies such as Philips and Samsung already on the way out. In contrast at the Lux Review party last night a list of hot shot companies was named that were felt to be trendsetting and leading in the new LED age. Aurora, Xicato, Eldoled and Quarkstar came out top of the list which also contained such names as Soora and IGuzzini.
All in all it was a very interesting fair. In my opinion a total overload of LED information and product display with sales people hovering around you like flies which just comes to prove what a cut throat business LED lighting has become. Getting an unbiased and professional assessment of what is actually on offer becomes practically impossible!
Light Watch 5-183: Here are some images and impressions of the fair, the talk and the after hour parties…