Gifts and stationery fair is bigger and better this year

CORPORATE gifts and premiums need not be the same old pens and umbrellas. Unusual gifts on display at the Singapore Gifts and Premiums Fair, at Marina Bay Sands until Friday, include handmade chopsticks with mother- of-pearl inlay and woollen berets.

The annual trade show, into its 12th year, is the largest to date with 160 exhibitors, 38 per cent more than last year.

They include both local and overseas exhibitors from countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam and Japan.

The event is held in conjunction with Stationery&OfficeLink, a fair that showcases office products and stationery supplies.

Mr Stanley Foo, president of the Promotional Products and Giftware Association, a supporting partner of the show, said the increase in exhibiting merchants reflects the buoyant industry.

He said the fact that more international companies have set up offices here in recent years has fuelled the demand for corporate gifts and helped bring the annual turnover of the industry to over $1 billion.

The show, organised by BizLink Exhibition Services, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings' Sphere Exhibits, has also been beefed up to include exhibitors offering office solutions such as software to help companies enhance workflow and efficiency.

Mr Chua Wee Phong, executive director of Sphere Exhibits, said the addition is part of the fair's aim to become an integrated one-stop-shop for corporate buyers. Besides sourcing for gifts and stationery supplies, they are also likely to be on the lookout for office solutions.

He added that there are plans to expand this segment of the fair next year.

Visitors can also attend free talks held daily by industry experts on related topics such as marketing and branding.

Mr Chua said the bigger show this year is expected to draw some 10,000 visitors, 25 per cent more than the average attendance of about 8,000 in previous years.

He added that the value of deals closed at the fair is also expected to exceed last year's $20 million.

Mr Xu De Quan, 50, manager of Australian promotional products company Dex Group, visited the show yesterday. He said: 'The quality of the show is good and I saw some innovative products that I hope to bring to Australia.'

The show was officially opened yesterday by Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng.

It is open to trade visitors as well as corporate and office buyers. Admission is free but registration is required.

Sphere Exhibits will match every visitor registration with a $1 contribution towards The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which gives needy students money for recess and bus fare.