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Opinion split over value of The Hub

The second edition of Hong Kong trade show The Hub has drawn a mixed reaction from exhibitors, with brands concerned over footfall and questions raised over whether the show offered value for money.

The Hub, which took place at AsiaWorld-Expo from February 25-27 and featured exhibitors including Barbour and Luke, launched last year to help UK brands expand into the Far East by connecting them with buyers in the region. The latest edition hosted 115 brands, up from 100 last August.

But brands said last month’s show was quiet, affecting the number of orders made.

Robert Keyte, owner of accessories brand Robert Keyte Silks, which exhibited at the show for the first time, said: “We made a few contacts but we won’t go again – there weren’t enough visitors.It’s a really nice show but for some reason there was just a lack of visitors.”

Luke owner Simon Poole said: “Even though the fast train only takes 25 minutes from [the central business district] there were complaints again that it’s a little out of the way.”

Jonathan Hirst, co-founder of footwear label Mocks, described The Hub as “a developing show”.

“It wasn’t the busiest I’ve ever done or been to,” he said. “However, it’s a good concept and it is a show that’s certainly required in the region. We need to keep supporting it. Whether we got value  for money is debatable. We got half a dozen good leads but we would have liked more Japanese visitors.”

Simon Tennant, export sales manager at men’s footwear label Sanders, said he would need to assess if The Hub proved to be value for money before returning, but hoped it would become bigger in time.

“You get more orders at other trade shows but we knew that with it being the second edition it would be quiet. All shows take time. We started at [London menswear show] Jacket Required two years ago and now look at it – it’s a different animal to how it was.”

Richard Hobbs, co-founder of The Hub, said he would be moving the show to downtown Hong Kong for the next edition, which is expected to take place in August.

“While we were really happy with the location for the first two events we feel strongly that being closer to the middle of Hong Kong will drive more traffic, as well as being in a venue that will be more in keeping with the directional and fashion-forward expectations of both our exhibitors and visitors.”

The February edition featured new exhibitors including menswear label Gabicci, duffle coat brand Gloverall and streetwear label Sik Silk, as well as a new section called The Greenhouse, showcasing up-and-coming designers.

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