By  on November 5, 2013

Entrepot Asia has sold a 20 percent stake in its new Hong Kong trade show, The Hub, to the Moda Ltd. unit of ITE Group plc.

The transaction includes options for ITE to increase its stake in Entrepot. Financial details weren’t disclosed.

The three-day inaugural edition of The Hub took place at AsiaWorld-Expo in August and attracted about 100 brands, mostly from the U.S. and Europe, with roots in the denim and contemporary markets. Entrepot estimated that about 3,000 Asian buyers attended.

By teaming with the London-based ITE, Entrepot principals — and British expatriates — Peter Caplowe and Richard Hobbs have tapped into a worldwide organization that puts together more than 250 business-to-business exhibitions and conferences in 15 countries every year and addresses 38 trade sectors. Revenues in 2012 totaled 172.3 million pounds, or $278.1 million at average exchange.

ITE’s Moda unit sponsors the Moda, Scoop and Jacket Required apparel trade shows in the U.K. as well as Lingerie Expo in Russia and TextileExpo Uzbekistan, among other events. Additionally, it publishes Womenswear Buyer and Menswear Buyer magazines.

Colette Tebbutt, managing director of ITE Moda and ITE’s liaison with The Hub, said, “This latest investment highlights further our commitment to ensuring future expansion for forward-thinking fashion brands. Premium fashion is currently one of the fastest-growing areas of the global women’s and men’s wear markets and we look forward to working with those brands who are positioning themselves to take full advantage of this dynamic sector.”

With its Hong Kong location, The Hub was conceived to provide brands from outside Asia a platform to build their businesses in China and adjacent markets. Jamie Tunnicliffe, global sales and marketing director for the London-based John Smedley brand, said, “We’ve looked at all the BRICS markets [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] and we think there is a place for the brand in China, albeit within a particular niche.”

Hong Kong-based Bauhaus International Holdings, which operates more than 280 stores in Greater China under a variety of brand names, attends markets such as Bread & Butter and Premium in Berlin and Project in Las Vegas. “But it’s great to see a show like The Hub taking place at home,” said Man Chan, strategic marketing director of Bauhaus. “A well-edited show of such high-quality brands is something that we as a retailer welcome.”

To help provide sales outlets for its exhibitors and others, Caplowe and Hobbs earlier joined forces with CHIC-Young Blood, a Beijing trade fair similarly geared to younger lifestyle brands, to sponsor a series of events designed to help enrich the landscape for multibrand retailing in China, a market with a preponderance of monobrand retailers.

“A hundred years ago, four of the biggest department stores in the world were to be found in China,” said Caplowe. “We will be very honored if we can play some small part in helping to reestablish this vital element of the fashion business in China.”

The second Hub market is scheduled for Feb. 25 to 27. Hobbs said, “Over half of the exhibitors from the first show are coming back, as of this moment, and some of those that are not are due to them tying up distribution deals during the first show.”

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