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Hong Kong Lighting Fair 2019 is significantly different from Hong Kong Lighting Fair 2018. Fewer exhibitors and far fewer attendees. Tariffs, protests and the slowing world economy seem to be reflected in this smaller show, with far fewer Americans than usual in attendance. It will be interesting to see how Light + Building fares in March of 2020 in Frankfurt. A few companies were featuring products “Made in Taiwan” or “Made in Vietnam.” I talked to three and it was unclear if they had actually set up manufacturing in those countries, or if they were doing some sort of pass-through to get around the tariffs.
The first booth upon entering the show was OSRAM. Their location was appropriate because in my opinion, they offered the most revolutionary product at the show—a pair of eye glasses. But these were no ordinary glasses, OSRAM calls them Chronology and they have a human-centric design featuring a thin film of embedded LEDs laminated into the glasses that create a mysterious yet luxurious atmosphere by floating warm or cool light in the air. Cool to help your body be alert; warm to help you relax. Can’t you just imagine a college class room? The instructor walks in and in the front row are students whose glasses are set to bluish white to show the teacher how alert they are, a kind of high-tech way to brown-nose. Then there is that one guy in the back of the room (me) with his glasses set to orange, slouching in his chair, and he could care less. It really is a cool product but it could have some interesting social ramifications.
That was the extent of the exciting products we found.
There is a new development with panel lights. Just when you thought the price and quality could not get any lower, someone found a new bottom and hundreds of companies have the new design, the exact same design. Instead of the low-quality edge-lit panel lights at rock bottom prices, the industry has launched still lower quality back-lit panel lights. The diffuser, if you can call it a diffuser, is thinner than paper. As a service to the industry, EdisonReport will not publish those prices, but you could pay more for a Big Mac than a 2 x 2 panel light….
Your humble editor met up with Ellis Yan from TCP and he was in rare form. I met him in his well-stocked suite and we had a fascinating discussion about filament bulbs, the economy and e-commerce. He showed me a letter from the CEO of Seoul Semiconductor that he is authorized to build and sell the filament bulb, so no UC-Santa Barbara issues. OK, he didn’t really show me the letter, I bumped into it as he had it blown up—almost lifesize.
He is not worried about a slowing US economy because his business is growing. Recently, TCP has gone to a hybrid model: reps in some markets and direct sales force in others.
Also, he has added a shopping cart to his site, which was surprising. How can he sell through distribution while also selling direct? Turns out the shopping cart order is automatically forwarded to the local stocking TCP distributor in the local market and that distributor fills the order, which is typically new and additional business for that distributor. It seems like a smart way to do business.