The Hong Kong International Lighting Fair, like Frankfurt’s Light & Building, is a huge show and very difficult to get around as it is located in two different parts of the city: the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai is the main area and the outdoor portion is located by the airport–a 20 minute train ride. No sign of Signify, but Philips was there in a big way with their components, i.e. LED drivers.
In March of this year, Philips made much fanfare launching their new name, Signify, at Light & Building in Frankfurt. They did it again at LIGHTFAIR in May in Chicago. But in Hong Kong, they reverted back to Philips. Seems odd. We asked a few people at their stand and the response was that it was a marketing decision to use the Philips name. (After publishing this article, a spokesperson for the company told EdisonReport that there is a license agreement to use the Philips brand name on products for at least 10 years, with an extension for another 10 years.)
My purpose in attending the show was to prove my hypothesis that the industry has bottomed out and BigChinaLED could only give their luminaries away for a limited period and the expiration date of their attempt to ruin our market was coming to a close. I wanted to confirm the rumors that the Chinese government had moved on to other technologies, such as AI, and had simply lost interest in the low margin LED hardware business. I wanted to write that Western interest had waned due to high tariffs and that the show felt like a ghost town. Fewer exhibitors and fewer attendees.
My theory was a bit premature.
The show was packed. The exhibition space was full and Westerners were in full attendance. (There was a sighting of Vern Nagel in China the week before, and a second sighting at the show.) HK Lighting Fair is still mainly focused on commodity products, but we did see less low-ball price advertising. As a service to our audience, EdisonReport has a long standing policy of not publishing the BigChinaLED floor prices as they only help to further erode our margins.
It is a frustrating fair because the Sanitary and Bathroom show was in the same location as the main show, while I had to take a 20 minute train to the airport to see the outdoor products. Why not move the Sanitary stuff to the airport and have lighting in one location? Or better yet, put it in China where sanitary bathrooms are somewhat rare. The aisles are narrow and people walk the show with briefcases, suitcases or backpacks. Some carry all three. They walk in pairs, while texting on their phone and stop abruptly for no apparent reason. They have no clue that there are 50 people behind them trying to walk at a normal pace.
Out of fairness, I must state that my Chinese hosts last week were extremely gracious and accommodating. One of them invited me for drinks in his beautiful home in Nanping. They are really no different than us. They work very hard and are trying to provide for their families, just as we are. EdisonReport maintains that the tariffs are actually good for our industry as it allows us to obtain our first meaningful price increase since the advent of the LED transformation. Hong Kong Lighting Fair, while somewhat frustrating, is still an important show.