APLF’s Fashion Access and MM&T fairs drew almost 30,000 visitors, fewer than last year but a smaller drop than organizers had expected given the current economic climate. The fairs, held March 31-April 2 in Hong Kong, did draw greater numbers of attendees from important markets such as Spain, the Middle East, Thailand, Pakistan, Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela. It was the 25th anniversary for APLF, which will be holding the All China Leather Exhibition from Sept. 2-4 in Shanghai.

At Fashion Access, there was particular interest in high-tech ski gloves by Matsuoka Glove Company of Japan, in the Spanish shoe brand Luiza Barcelos Calcados with its offer of custom-style footwear, and in seamless leathergoods from Chanceland of Hong Kong, the organizers said.

The organizer of the fair, UBM Asia (formerly called CMP Asia), has introduced two new promotion systems designed to help exhibitors to make the most out of their investment in its shows. The Buyer Optimizer Service helps exhibitors get more direct sales leads with a new way to inviting their contacts to the exhibition, using priority codes assigned to them by UBM Asia on any pre-event materials. Then when registering, visitors can input the code and have direct contact with the exhibitor. UBM Asia is offering this service free to exhibitors. The other program, Info Lead, is a sales-lead tracking and management service. It combines a mobile tracker with a web-based leads retrieval system that allows exhibitors to add buyers to their database simply by scanning a bar code on the visitor’s badge. UBM Asia will subsidize half the cost of the mobile trackers ordered by exhibitors this year.

Meanwhile, China Shoes-China Shoetec is gearing up to be held from May 5-7 in Dongguan. Its organizers said that about 80 percent of previous exhibitors are returning, along with a fair number of new companies ready to display. The exhibition space booked by the Taiwan Footwear Manufacturers Association will be 10 percent larger than last year. The fair, divided like before into zones for shoes, accessories, materials and machinery, will have new sub-categories such as a “Kid’s Shoe Zone” and a “Functional Shoes Zone.”