Hong Kong has always been a hub for trade shows for just about any product imaginable that is predictably made in populous and factories-rich China. However, a trade show in Hong Kong this week was not like anything else it has seen before. The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center played host to the 10th edition of Asia Adult Expo (AAE), Asia’s largest assembly of sex toys including sex dolls.
Every conceivable toy were there from buzzing, vibrating and rubberized objects to a staggering number of silicone, lifelike sex toy dolls as sexual partners. The presence and even highlight of sex dolls in the trade show is new, however. Event organizers said that only two years ago, there were only a handful of sex toy dolls. But then the Japanese companies paved the way in exhibiting realistic, high-end dolls, initially with much higher prices. Now prices of Japanese dolls have become ‘cheaper’, down to around $2,500 (HK$20,000). The Chinese-made equivalents even come at much less prices to about HK$2,000. Yet profit margins can go to as high as 90 per cent.
The trade expo also had an accompanying forum titled “The Future of Ultimate Pleasure” where much focus was given to discussions of virtual reality and its role in the future of adult entertainment. Even filmmakers and producers graced the event , and expressed much excitement about the possibilities of VR porn.
The speakers seem to be in agreement that aside from providing more “realistic experiences”, technology such as VR can provide “greater immersion” and has potential for increasing empathy and expanding boundaries.
The expo organizers are expecting more buyers this year, and are pegging it at 5,000, up from 4,400 last year. The buyers come from more than 40 countries, led by Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and Germany.
The U.S. and Germany being in the list of leading country-representation in the expo is surprising given that both countries have their own vast adult trade fairs. Attending the expo in Hong Kong, however, would give global buyers the chance to make savings by dealing with manufacturers directly.
The organizers had difficulties finding a venue in Hong Kong at the start for the adult entertainment-focused expo show because of the “sensitive” nature of the products in a still conservative society. But the organizers have been planning extensively including attracting a bigger market by introducing women’s pleasure, too, by featuring performers like Badboys Australia and such penis artist as Pricasso, as well as S&M workshops, a VR play zone. A tattoo zone, pole dancing displays and an extensive marketplace for the show next year.
The organizers are also constructing a pair of giant, 4,000 square meter tents known as Chic and Wild on the Central Harborfront for the trade event next year, because no permanent venue would accept their show.
The organizers generally believe that people in Hong Kong are still unaware what an adult show is. But they are “hopeful” that it will be an “eye-opening” occasion for them.