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HomemieventsHong Kong International Optical Fair

Hong Kong International Optical Fair

Hong Kong has proved its enduring status as an international optical fashion destination, with the 31st edition of the Hong Kong International Optical Fair.

mivision Publisher Todd Tai was among the eager throng checking out the future of eyewear and optometric technology.

Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Hong Kong Optical Manufacturers Association (HKOMA), the three-day November fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on the harbourfront, brought together 700 exhibitors from 11 countries and regions, and attracted over 12,000 buyers from 92 countries.

Sophia Chong, Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC, said the event was “the first optical fair to be held physically since Hong Kong fully reopened”.

“We are pleased to see vibrant trading on the fairground and to welcome buyers who have travelled from all over the world to Hong Kong for in-person sourcing.

“There has been a significant increase in attendance from ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) markets, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Buyer numbers from India, Macao and mainland China also rose. This demonstrates Hong Kong’s enduring status as an international trade fair capital.”

SMART TECHNOLOGY

Technology is evolving rapidly, with research and development creating smart technologies that have permeated all aspects of daily life. Smart glasses have garnered increased attention and undergone active development in recent years with eyewear becoming an integral part of life, as well as fashion. Reflecting this trend was the inaugural Smart Eyewear zone, which was a highlight of the Optical Fair. Hong Kong eyewear brand Solos Technology, which specialises in smart-technology development, demonstrated AirGo 3 artificial intelligence (AI) smart glasses that combine ChatGPT and wearable tech. The brand’s General Manager Kenny Cheung said the firm had been busy introducing smart eyewear technology to new buyers, most of whom came from Asia and Europe. “We have found optical manufacturers from Hong Kong and mainland China,” he said.

SUSTAINABLE FOCUS

It was evident that the global optical industry has also embraced environmental protection, sustainable development, and the use of recycled materials as long-term industry goals and driving forces behind its development. Debut Hong Kong exhibitor Wingram Industrial Company is dedicated to developing eco-friendly materials. It launched BioAcetate S70 – a biobased and biodegradable material used to produce sustainable eyewear products. The company’s Head of Operations, May Ng, said she received positive feedback from eyewear manufacturers and brand owners visiting the stand.

“Five to six new buyers will place orders for our BioAcetate S70 material after the fair,” she commented.

The fair also showcased eyewear for children, accessories, and optometric instruments. The atmosphere for on-site negotiations was exuberant. Back for its seventh HKTDC Optical Fair was the trader Vista Import from Brazil. Company Director Roberto Basile Neto said he had identified a number of suppliers in Hong Kong and mainland China through Click2Match – the event’s AI-backed businessmatching platform – and planned to buy 20,000 pairs of sports eyewear, 20,000 pairs of protective children’s sports eyewear, and 10,000 pairs of children’s glasses, all from new suppliers. He said Click2Match also helped him record more supplier information so he could continue negotiations after the fair.

Other thematic zones featured sports and professional eyewear, lenses and parts, shop fittings and equipment, contact lenses, diagnostic instruments, a designer café, and more.

The Brand Name Gallery, the focal point of the fair, featured over 200 world-renowned brands including mainland China’s A.Society; Hong Kong’s Absolute Vintage Eyewear, bTd, and Parim; Taiwan’s Classico; agnès b and Minima from France; Anna Sui, Jill Stuart, New Balance, and Voy from the United States; Ted Baker and Vivienne Westwood from the United Kingdom; Germany’s Stepper, Japan’s Masaki Matsushima, Matsuda, Miz Gold, and Tidou, Korea’s Gensdumonde, Plume People Luv Me, and more.

The fair featured several Brand Name Gallery eyewear parades where professional models presented eyewear collections from trendsetting brands. Finalists and winners in the 23rd Hong Kong Eyewear Design Competition were also on display, giving a glimpse of the creativity and style of Hong Kong’s new eyewear designers.

OPTOMETRIC SYMPOSIUM

Running alongside the fair was the 21st Hong Kong International Optometric Symposium, themed ‘Empowering Community Eye Care through Artificial Intelligence and Telemedicine in Optometry’. Dr Simon Tang, Director of Cluster Services of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, delivered the opening speech. Industry experts from around the world, including Dr Kate Taylor and Professor Mingguang He from Australia also spoke.

Dr Taylor made a presentation to a full symposium about Oculo, the Australian made electronic referral platform for optometrists and ophthalmologists for which she led the development. Aside from reducing missed appointments by people with eye conditions, the platform enables optometrists to better understand their diagnostic performance by analysing data from the platform.

Prof He discussed the role of AI and teletherapy, and how these can be applied to community eye care. Receiving a grant from the Australian government some years ago, Prof He collaborated with universities in Hong Kong and healthcare technology companies to investigate the use of AI in eye disease diagnosis, as well as how this technology could be implemented in the community. His research in 2018 found that AI had a 90% or higher accuracy rate in detecting common eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and agerelated macular degeneration. A simple AI system was subsequently installed in local GP clinics. Following an eye examination, fundus images were automatically transferred to the AI system for analysis, and the system could produce a report in two to three minutes.

Other sessions included the seminar ‘Market talk: Road ahead for the eyewear industry’, where industry experts forecast fashion trends and discussed sustainability elements in the United States eyewear sector. Speakers also explored topics including the latest market prospects and potential of smart glasses. At the seminar ‘Revolutionising eyewear design: Exploring 3D technologies, innovations and material trends’, industry experts gave a detailed breakdown of the latest trends in eyewear 3D printing technology, innovative design concepts, and materials.

Experts also explained the latest technical specifications and testing guidelines for myopia prevention and control glasses, lenses, smart glasses, and other optometry products for teenagers in mainland China.

The Hong Kong Optical Fair returns in November 2024.