Friday, January 27, 2006

Cybermedia reports strong Q3

I know I blog this company a lot (most recently here and here), but I do like what they do and they are one of the few Asian full-service B2B media companies which has any kind of transparency.

The company itself reports as follows:

The CyberMedia Group today posted a 28 percent increase in net profit to Rs 17.68 million for the third quarter ended December 31, 2005, from Rs 13.84 million reported in the year-ago period.

The specialty Media Publishing House's gross income remained steady at Rs 219.47 million during the reporting quarter. EBITDA margins increased to 18 percent, mainly due to exit from low margin businesses.

CEO Pradeep Gupta is quoted as saying that the first nine months of FY'06 had run according to plan.

“The financial performance of the company improved with profit margins on the rise even with new businesses being developed. In fact, the international launches are being rolled out ahead of schedule. These launches will impact operating margins over the next few quarters.”

Thursday, January 26, 2006 Singapore fights back

Following our piece yesterday on Reed's plans to re-launch Asian Aerospace somewhere else in Asia, we see that the PR tempo is increasing rapidly. TTG Asia reports in its daily newsletter that Jimmy Lau, Reed's former Singapore boss, who has emerged at the head of the group that ousted Asian Aerospace, is claiming some initial and important sign-ups for the new 2008 Changi International Air Show.

The report names a number of big names including Boeing, Rolls-Royce, BAe and Northrop-Grumman. It says that a Defence Expo will also be launched alongside the Air Show. This was, we gather, announced during ground-breaking for the new exhibition centre at Changi.

Just as Singapore is contemplating what to do with all the space at the nearby Singapore Expo venue and inviting tenders for substantial new exhibition & convention space at the proposed Integrated Resort ("don't call me a casino") project, Lau also announced that the new Air Show venue - unlike its predecessor - would be seeking other exhibition business such as construction shows.

There will be more to come on this, you can be sure...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Air show competition heating up

We reported last year on one of the biggest shocks in Asia's exhibitions industry when it was announced that Reed and Singapore had fallen out over Asian Aerospace. We also noted back in November that Reed was looking pretty serious about re-launching the show somewhere else.

It seems that the competition to host the relocated Asian Aerospace is heating up. Hong Kong's South China Morning Post (no link - subscribers only) yesterday reported industry rumours that the final candidates are Bangkok, Hong Kong (probably linked with Zhuhai Airport for military displays) and Shanghai.

Apparently, according to Flight International (another Reed product), the highlight of the last Singapore-based Asian Aerospace which takes place next month will be the presence of the new Airbus A-380 painted in the colours of its launch customer, Singapore Airlines.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Belly dancing

Well if that title doesn't get up the traffic, I'll have to resort to tabloid tactics!

I don't get many business e-mails which promise belly-dancing but one coming in from Expomedia's new India Expo Centre at Greater Noida just outside New Delhi did just that. You share the opening gala night at this address. The corporate PR people seem to have shown great restraint in ensuring that CEO Mark Shashoua's speech gets around 10 seconds coverage against what seemed to be several minutes of the belly dancers at the point I clicked "STOP" and, in time honoured journalistic fashion, "made my excuses and left"...back to another part of my computer.

In the interests of appearing entirely business-like, I will include a very plain photo of the new venue.

Monday, January 23, 2006

eBay U-turn as China Internet market reports 2005 numbers

Just before Christmas, we noted that eBay was beginning to wilt before the onslaught of's auction site invigorated by all that Yahoo! money. Now, numerous sources, including the FT, have reported that eBay plans to drop all transaction fees.

As the article points out, this will require some back-pedalling from the previous position that the company has taken that "Free is not a business model". I have some sympathy with that view but, at the bottom end of the barrel in the China market which is where and eBay both sit, numbers are what counts above all else at this stage.

And, talking of numbers, we see that the latest reports on China's Internet market show 18% growth in total users to 111 million. Given the scale of the numbers, this remarkably represents an acceleration of user growth. 2004 reported 16% growth. Even more remarkable - and think of the business opportunities this represents - over half of all those Chinese Internet users - 64 million - have access via Broadband.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Las Vegas Sands Singapore partner pulls back

In a surprise announcement, the Singapore partner of Las Vegas Sands in its bid for the Integrated Resort there, City Development has announced that it is pulling out of the bid. The announcement comes exactly one month after the company announced its partnership with LVS and a somewhat inconvenient two months before the final bids are due to be lodged with the Singapore government.

In the announcement, City Development says it "...will, however, continue to provide counsel and advice to the non-gaming aspects of Sands' proposal, particularly in those areas relating to design, development and construction planning, as well as knowledge of the local market..."

Monday, January 16, 2006

A market of markets

The fact that China is not a single, homogenous market is something we have been talking with clients about for years. It still seems to come as a surprise for some but this article in today's IHT is a good summary of some important issues as they affect advertising and media.

The report notes:

For merchants, and therefore for advertisers, there are many Chinas, perhaps as many as there are countries in Europe, specialists say. To succeed in China, advertisers need to take into account wide regional variations in language, temperament, income, culture, climate, diet, demographics and history, they say.

Thanks once again to Fons Tuinstra for pointing us in the direction of this one. I'll have to read the IHT more. It keeps coming up with some good, solid insights.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Asia New Media Forum

Sadly, I can't be in KL this week, but will be interested to hear how the Asia New Media Forum shapes up. Fons Tuinstra of China Herald has posted on this and will, I see, be speaking.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Media Live/CMP - the Asian angle

How the mighty are fallen. I recall 10 years ago sitting in meetings with the Softbank team who had just paid goodness knows what for the Comdex and Networld+ Interop portfolios. They were going to take over the world and we would be privileged to assist them in the process.

CMP's $65 million acquisition of the remnants is an interesting one and we shall watch with interest to see what the company chooses to try to retrieve. We note that Hiroyuki Sugano will join CMP and continue to run MediaLive's Japanese operations. That marks yet another step in Japan for the company where it has been quietly building up quite an interesting portfolio over the last several years.

Back from Guangzhou

Just returned from Guangzhou where the CEFCO meeting finished yesterday. Some interesting elements to the event including an agreement signed between IAEM and CCPIT to crack down on patent and copyright infringement at China's trade fairs. A worthy initiative - good luck with the enforcement.

I was not there preparing the ground for the visit by North Korea's wacky "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il. The management of the White Swan Hotel must be thrilled to have had all their guests kicked out to protect his privacy!

Among other reasons, I mention this as it gives me an excuse to slip in what I still think is the best magazine (sorry, "newspaper") cover of the past 10 years. I trust that The Economist will indulge me for reproducing it again here.

CMP Cybermedia site launched

Back in September, CMP and Cybermedia announced a tie-up on their outsourcing-related media businesses. The company obviously felt that Friday 13th was a lucky day on which to announce that it was launching the first fruit of that collaboration, The site apparently includes a blog from Shyamanuja Das, Executive Editor Online.

The next step in the collaboration, the companies say, is the launch of the monthly magazine Global Services and the Global Services conference on February 2 in New York.

Xinhua Finance moves into advertising

We have been following for a while the emergence of Chinese financial information services such as Xinhua Finance and China Finance. We were interested to see an announcement that Xinhua Finance has acquired Chinese advertising group Ming Shing International.

It seems a step away from the core activity of disseminating financial information but also reveals Xinhua Finance's ambitions of extending its capabilities, Bloomberg-like, into a much wider range of business-related media services. The deal announcement says that Ming Shing "specializes in TV, radio and print, which are the same domains that Xinhua Finance is moving into to leverage its content". It's hard to see what else an advertising company could specialise in, but this does provide a clear signal of Xinhua's intent.

Tokyo Mother's board-listed Xinhua Finance, headed up by American Fredy Bush, recently acquired Beijing Century Media Culture, which produces TV programmes in China, and financial magazine publisher EconWorld. Ming Shing is expected to add US$25 million to Xinhua Finance's revenues, and $6mn to EDITDA

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Brain and fingers were obviously not fully engaged when I wrote Monday's piece about Nature in Asia. The company is, of course, headquartered in London and not the US.

I'm in Guangzhou this week for the Chinese CEFCO exhibitions industry conference. A gathering of the great and the good of the Chinese and international industries - 400+ from China and 100+ from around the world including the Presidents of UFI, IAEM and SISO.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Nature steps up the pace in Asia

Another major US STM publisher, the Macmillan's Nature Publishing Group, has announced a significant expansion of its activities in Asia. Effective today, the company says it will transform its Japanese representative office into a fully-fledged publishing hub. Nature Japan KK along with the publisher's Hong Kong and Melbourne offices will come together to form NPG Nature Asia-Pacific.

One of the major impacts of this decision will be the location for the first time of editors for the journal Nature in Asia. The company says that it expects to expand its editorial staff in both Japan and China.

For many years, the major STM publishers have concentrated on selling their international journals to university libraries and research institutes in developed markets like Japan, Australia and Hong Kong. Several of them are now taking advantage of significantly increased interest among researchers in the region in publishing in their own, Asian journals as well as having a more direct route to publication in the most prestigious international journals.

In late November, John Wiley also announced a major upgrade of its Asian operations, this time in Singapore.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

EC21 top 20

Back in August, we reported on the top 20 product groups in which users of were interested.

They Korean-based trading site publishes this list every six months and here is the list for the second half of 2006, showing movement since the last list and new entries:

The site still sits at #6 in our Asia B2B rankings with a little over 600,000 regular users based on our calculations and rankings.