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July 14, 2009

Asian exhibition industry still growing, says UFI report

The trade fair industry in Asia expanded by 8.7% in 2008 despite the weakening global economic environment, according to the fifth edition of UFI’s annual report on the continent.

Net area sold by organisers in Asia reached a total of 14.3 million square metres. The research was once again undertaken for UFI, the global association of the exhibition Industry, by Business Strategies Group (BSG) in Hong Kong.

China’s growth continues to outpace the rest of the region. It is the largest market in the region in terms of event space sold and industry revenues. Year-on-year, net square metres sold in China grew by 14% outperforming the regional average of 8.7%. Over 7.6 million square metres were sold in China in 2008,
accounting for 53% of that sold across Asia.

Beyond China
The second largest market, Japan, continues to lose ground to China. The Japanese market shrank by more than 6% last year, with 2.0 million square metres of exhibition space sold.

Interestingly, a number of much smaller markets grew faster than China last year. Space sold in Macau expanded by 69% on the back of the opening of the new venue at the Venetian. Meanwhile, Taiwan grew by 26% and Vietnam
by 24% in terms of square metres sold, which was also primarily driven by additional, new capacity in both markets.

More money raised
Revenues from trade fairs in Asia increased from US$3.25 billion in 2007 to US$3.45 billion last year – a rise of just over 6%, down markedly from the 26% revenue growth recorded in 2007.

China outperformed all of the top five largest markets (measured by revenues) by a wide margin, posting a 20% increase in revenues for a total of US$1.33 billion.

The UFI report provides further details on the development of trade shows and supporting facilities in 15 markets: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The report also includes analysis on actual market performance in 2008, as well as forecasts and commentary on key trends in each market.

Continued expansion
“Despite a challenging economic environment, space sales in the region as a whole grew by close to 9% last year,” commented UFI managing director Vincent Gérard. “Seven different markets posted double-digit growth – and of those four grew by more than 20%. Even this difficult year should be no exception with major markets forecast to continue expanding and several exciting new venues coming online by the end of 2009.”

The report’s editor Paul Woodward, described Asia as “one of the most vital and exciting exhibition markets in the world”.

“The pace of change in the region has been nothing short of remarkable,” he continued. “In 2003, there were 101 venues in the region and space sales were just 5.7 million square metres. By the end of this year, Asia will be home to 162 venues generating space sales of 14.6 million square metres.”

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