Held twice a year in Hong Kong, the Global Sources Electronics trade show features the latest technology coming out of East Asia. The events are organized by Global Sources, a US Nasdaq-listed company.
The current instance, taking place between April 11 to 21, focuses on smartphones, wearables, as well as virtual and augmented reality products.
Featuring more than 2700 booths,the business-to-business (B2B) venue highlights innovative manufacturers and suppliers from the region through so-called Experience Zones and the Startup Launchpad.
From idea to manufacturing
Unsurprisingly, many of the electronics on display are produced in the region, with some 90% of the products coming from China. For interested distributors and vendors, the exhibition can be easily paired with a factory visit. According to Global Sources’ president Huang Tanwei, visitors may "in the morning visit the exhibition and in the afternoon tour the factories.”
Huang further notes that the proximity to manufacturing hub Shenzhen allows many potential buyers to go directly to the producers after having experienced the products in
Hong Kong. In fact, the show’s exhibition demonstrates that it is indeed still possible for entrepreneurs to obtain funding for their dreams.
As Chiang Weiwei, Chairwoman of the Taiwan Techmakers Association, points out, Hong Kong's capital market is still looking for investment opportunities. Approaching buyers remains relatively easy for new companies, who can sway many investors with the novelty of their ideas.
Showcasing startup innovation: Launchpad
Unlike CES in Las Vegas, which is known for debuting product concepts and technologies, the Hong Kong-based trade show focuses on consumer electronics that are ready to hit the market, making it a veritable feast for international vendors and distributors.
One of the areas attracting the most attention is the Startup Launchpad, which showcases new products from more than 200 teams. With items ranging from exercise equipment and travel tools to smart sex toys, this year’s startups garnered plenty of interest.
For instance, one such invention is called “Move it” and bills itself as the world's first smart home fitness equipment. Special sensors keep track of a person’s every motion, be it pushups, body extensions, or kettle bell swings.
The gathered information is then transmitted directly to a monitor, thereby allowing the user to visualize the number of repetitions and keep track of the calories burned, as well as tracking health-relevant data.
The technology is available for just a fraction of professional fitness gear, costing just $260 (NT$8,000).
Crowdfunding success: Indiegogo’s booth
In the wake of e-commerce’s success, funding platforms have emerged as a crucial venue where startups compete for investments. Testimony to this trend, US-based crowdfunding giant Indiegogo was invited to the exhibition for the second year in a row. This year, its stall featured eight different teams that have been successfully funded on the platform.
One such product is the “Glance Clock,” a traditionally-shaped smart wall clock imbued with internet of things (IoT) functionality. Designed by a team from Singapore, the innovative product displays user-relevant information such as personal reminders, the latest messages, or the arrival of the Uber just ordered.
Another innovation which won over internet users is the mini-robotic “uArm Swift.” Having earned over $600,000 in funding - more than 95 times its initial target - the affordable robotic arm has garnered plenty of interest already.
It can be programmed to do almost everything, from stirring a cup of coffee to 3D printing and laser engraving.
Acclaim for Taiwanese startups
Taiwan, too, is home to many startups that are seeing success on Indiegogo. A good example is Vago, which is drawing international attention for their travel accessory.
In short, Vago’s vacuum compressor allows travelers to minimize their clothing by creating a vacuum,thereby creating more room in their luggage.
According to Vago’s team, the product has already completed shipping after having raised over $480,000 in March.
Efforts will now be directed towards improving the quality and overall manufacturing process of the next revision. Currently, European and American manufacturers have shown an interest in cooperation, while a Japanese distributor aims to bring Vago to the market.
Yet another design team from Taiwan with a, well, stimulating idea is the group behind “LoveNuts.” While at first glance the product appears to be nothing more than a stubby flashlight, it reveals its full potential when unlocked via Bluetooth.
Then the world’s most discrete female vibrator shows its true colors and provides satisfaction controllable via smartphone. Providing satisfaction and maintaining the user’s privacy, LoveNuts’ inventors have clearly understood the needs of their audience.