I’ve been going to jewellery and gem shows for more than 30 years but this was my first visit to the September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair of UBM at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. (HKCEC). This is billed as the largest industry trade show in the world. I’ve been to big shows before but I was not fully aware of how big this show really is. It is not just big; it is overwhelmingly HUGE!
Combined with the Asia’s Fashion Jewellery & Accessories Fair at the AsiaWorld Expo (AWE); this event is truly massive.
Here are few quick statistics to give you an idea of what to expect. There are more than 3700 exhibitors. If you only spend 5 minutes at each booth it will take over 300 hours to see it all. As of September 21, more than 55,000 individual people visited the shows. With repeat visits (counted once daily) the total exceeds 120,000. And there was still one day yet to be counted.
Pre-plan which vendors or products you NEED to see and visit them first. It is impossible to see everything!
My first experience was rather frustrating. Because of increased security measures, documents were carefully scrutinized slowing the process. I pre-registered online to speed up my entry process and I still had to wait over an hour in the queue to get my badge. There are several registration locations and all had long lines. People registering on-site often had over 3 hours of waiting. However, with the volume of people to process it was as efficient as humanly possible.
Pre-register online and do it early enough to get your badge in the mail.
Accept the fact that you will spend considerable time in queues. IDs are examined at the entrance to each pavilion; there will be long lines to get on the shuttle bus between venues and long waits to get a taxi when you are done for the day. Considering they are moving the equivalent of the population of a small city, waiting is inevitable.
One way to speed up the process is to get a Trade Buyer ID. You will probably spend at least an hour in line to get one but it gives you direct access to all of UBM’s shows for the next 3 years. It even speeds the process to enter the pavilions as it counts for your photo ID so you don’t need to dig out your passport every time.
Get a Trade Buyer ID
The shuttle bus between the two shows is fantastic. Even though the queues are long, they move very quickly. There is a constant stream of busses with only a few minutes between them. It is a 45 minute ride but the busses have cold air conditioning and it is a pleasant way to rest your tired feet for a while.
There are UBM information booths scattered throughout the shows in case you get lost or confused. And believe me, you will get lost and confused! Food and beverage concessions are plentiful with adequate seating to take a break from the activities.
I must say that even with all of the long lines and waits, the shows are very well organized and are exciting to experience. This is a must see event for anyone in the jewellery or gem business.
Next: My reviews of each venue.
(By now you should know I am into full disclosures of all pertinent facts, so here it is) Disclosure: My visit was sponsored by jewellerynetasia.com but the opinions expressed here are my own and are not influenced by the sponsorship.)