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Hong Kong’s exhibition industry bucks global uncertainty trend

The Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association (HKECIA) has announced the results of its annual survey of the exhibition industry in Hong Kong for 2011. The regular survey, which provides valuable insights into this important sector of Hong Kong’s economy, showed that despite global uncertainties in 2011, the exhibition industry continued its trajectory of positive growth.

The numbers of companies coming to Hong Kong to exhibit, the amount of exhibition space they occupied and the numbers of visitors from overseas arriving for exhibition-based activities all grew healthily from 2010 to 2011, in some cases posting double-digit growth.

“This is another effective testimony to the importance of the exhibition industry for trade in Hong Kong,” said Daniel Cheung, HKECIA chairman. “It’s always good to see positive figures indicating robust growth, but their significance is heightened when we take into account the global economic environment in 2011.”

There were 111 ‘trade’ and ‘trade and consumer’ exhibitions with 2,000 square meters or more gross area held Hong Kong from January to December 2011, up by 19.4 percent from the 93 exhibitions held in 2010. The HKECIA survey data, based on 100 ‘trade’ and ‘trade and consumer’ exhibitions that have responded to the survey recorded a total of 1,845,140 exhibition visitors for 2011. The number was up from the previous year, indicating the unflagging popularity of exhibitions as a business tool, but of particular significance was the fact that the number of exhibition visitors arriving from outside Hong Kong rose markedly, by 8.8 percent over 2010. This jump was driven by a 10 percent growth in regional visitors (i.e. from the Asia Pacific region), and by further growth in numbers attending from Mainland China, up by 13.3 percent.

This rise in visitor numbers was matched by growth in the number of exhibiting companies coming to Hong Kong in 2011. Overall, according to the survey, some 60,817 companies showcased their goods or services at one of the major exhibitions surveyed, up by 7.2 percent from 2010’s total of 56,751. Of these, there was particularly strong participation from overseas companies, which clearly saw Hong Kong as an important business option in an uncertain global environment. Companies coming from outside Hong Kong rose by 9.4 percent in 2011, with ‘international’ companies (i.e. those not based in the Asia Pacific region or Mainland China) increasing in number by an impressive 17.9 percent. This is a clear indication that Hong Kong remains one of the most important business platforms for overseas companies wishing to promote their products and services to customers in Mainland China.

“There was a lot of uncertainty, and many might have expected to see Hong Kong’s attractiveness as an exhibition hub dented as a result,” said Cheung. “It seems clear that in times of economic turmoil, Hong Kong’s role as a stable, reliable business platform and networking base for buyers and sellers from around the world is reinforced. This bodes very well for our continued development. It is quite clear that trade exhibitions in Hong Kong have a very important role to play as trading hubs for Asia.”

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