Friday, June 30, 2006

Singapore wins UFI Marketing Award

I was very pleased to see UFI's annual Marketing Award come to Asia for the first time. Based on the presentation I saw in Helsinki, Suntec Singapore's campaign was innovative, simple and very well executed. So, a good choice by the judges.

In this picture, Elena Arabadjieva, Director of Marketing Services & Communications for Suntec Singapore, is accepting the trophy from UFI President Tom Beyer and Berislav Cizmek, UFI Marketing Committee Chairman. Semi-finalists for the 2006 competition were: CES, USA; CeBit, Hannover; Excel, London; Messe München, Munich; RAI, Amsterdam, and Suntec, Singapore.

Update: Read the full press release here.

Problems still not solved

We posted last November on the negative impact on business events of the post-9/11 tightening of visa procedures which has made the US an unappealing destination for many travellers. I was interested to see, then, the MeetingsNet site reporting on a Congressional panel meeting in which the problem is clearly reported to be remaining a major issue.

"Travel and tourism industry leaders last week told a Congressional panel that the United States still faces a daunting task in attracting international visitors", it says. It goes on to note that "...overseas traffic into the United States was down 16.5 percent in 2005 from its peak in 2000, when 51.2 million travelers visited the U.S".

Sunday, June 25, 2006

On the road again

Last week in Sri Lanka, speaking at a workshop organised by the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and ICCA. Now on the road again, heading to UFI's Summer Seminar in Helsinki. I'll try to post a bit on both but it may be a while before we're back to normal.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Marketing jobs online in Asia

Interesting to see in an e-mail today that Haymarket's Media magazine, based in Hong Kong, is branching out into the online employment business. The new site is linked with the UK Brand Republic branding.

has done good, solid business for many years with the traditional trade magazine staple of classified job ads for the advertising, PR and marketing industries. The revolving door nature of those trades helps to keep business good of course. Now, presumably, the Haymarket team are taking pre-emptive action to make sure that they can keep that business as it inevitably migrates online.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Having a Digg with Hugo

Hugo E. Martin in Germany has been leading the charge with a number of innovations in the B2B media consulting field. His was certainly the first B2B blog I started to look at and he kindly provided both direction and encouragement when I started this one.

So, I am intrigued by the news of his latest venture, b2b-media and publishing, which he describes as a "Digg-like Website".

I'm honestly not sure he will achieve the critical mass of activity required to make something like this work in the B2B field. We're not dealing with real enthusiasts here (or are we?). However, it's very good to see somebody pushing the boundaries of how we work and communicate to see what works and what doesn't. I for one will certainly keep an eye on it and, time permitting (in short supply right now I'm afraid), try to contribute.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Busy week for Reed in China

It's been a busy week for the Reed Exhibitions China team. We reported just two days ago on its gaming show venture with the AGA. Now we see that it is working through its Reed Huayin JV in Shanghai to hook up with the China National Machine Tool Corporation and Capital Exhibition Services on what they're calling "China's foremost Machine tool exhibition" - China International Machinery & Equipment Show (CIMES).

Chirac-san search plans

John Battelle points us towards news that the Japanese government is taking a leaf out of the Chirac playbook - rarely a good plan - and ponying up government funds to develop a Japanese search engine to fight back against the global domination of those nasty Google and Yahoo! people. Too late boys, too late.

It has been an unkind maxim among Hong Kong investors for years that, as they are usually so slow to arrive, Japanese funds coming into a strong market are a good sign that it has run it's course and it's time to sell. So, perhaps, the great search bull is about to be neutered. We shall see...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rolling the dice in Macau

Neat little acquisition here in Macau: Reed and the American Gaming Association (AGA) have teamed up to buy the Australasian Gaming Machine Manufacturers Association's Asian Gaming Expo which is currently underway at the Macau Tower. It will be re-branded G2E Asia, bringing it into line with AGA's events in the US and, in 2008 will be able to move into the more spacious surroundings of the Macau Venetian.

Call me cynic if you will, but I find myself less mystified now by the stories appearing in local newspapers at the beginning of the week from the expo's current organisers bemoaning the lack of space in the Macau Tower and saying that many more stands could have been sold if only there were a bigger hall.

Indian business newspapers

There's certainly no lack of ambition among the backers of new business papers in India. reports on the latest project with a new business paper in Delhi. Initial print run for the new paper is reportedly 35,000 with the backers targeting 75,000. Perhaps not surprisingly, given its base in the national capital, ‘Political & Business Daily’ will devote 1/3 of its space - 6 pages - to politics.

While new newspapers jostle for position, we reported back in April that business magazines are losing readers. To newspapers? Probably not...

HK reports strong trade fair growth in 2005

Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world publishing detailed (and, we think, pretty accurate) statistics about its exhibitions industry. It has just released 2005 numbers and they show good growth in total space sales - up 9% - and very strong growth in visitor numbers - up 34%.

The city was still space-constrained for the period covered by these stats as AsiaWorld-Expo didn't open until December. We can expect really stunning numbers in 2006 as the existing fairs have been doing pretty well and many of the new ones at the new venue look pretty solid too.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Mixing it up in the Gulf

There is a good deal of activity in the Gulf region among exhibition organisers trying to build a key event to link Asian traders with Middle Eastern buyers. We reported back in April that Global Sources was launching a Dubai fair. Back in December, we had noted Kenfair's plans to launch a fair in Bahrain.

Today, we noticed a piece on the Trade Arabia web site announcing another China products fair in Bahrain for September, this one launched by another Hong Kong company, New Century International Exhibitions. Can't find any background on that company although it's event is listed by the Bahrain Convention & Exhibition Bureau with which we recall Kenfair was partnering on its event. A check then on the Kenfair web site shows that their Asia Expo in Bahrain has been "postponed to the end of 2006" with the "exact date to be announced in due course".

It seems that peace agreements may not be breaking out all over the Middle East.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Authentic flavour of the Chinese trade fair

A hard-hitting piece from Mike Buetow, editor-in-chief of UP Media's Circuits Assembly magazine on Nepcon China which captures the chaos and opportunity which abound at trade fairs in the Middle Kingdom:

Despite talk of crackdowns, the show floor reveals IP pilfering is alive and well.

If you've never walked the Nepcon China trade show, here's what you have missed:

• Boatloads of attendees.

• Scores of vendors (some of whom actually paid for their booths).

• The potential to buy watches, jewelry and other trinkets from some of the most aggressive salesmen you may ever meet (some of whom are badged!).

• IP theft at its most brazen.

Thanks to B2Blog for pointing us in this direction.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ad Age tries the subs route in China

We reported yesterday on the one year anniversary of Crain's Plastics News China. They also launched an English-language e-news version of Ad Age at around the same time. We see now that they are taking two important steps forward with this project:

  1. It is going weekly from next week.
  2. They will then make it a subscription service.

Hong Kong-based Editor Normandy Madden tells readers "China is the world's fastest-growing ad market, so keeping up-to-speed on news, analysis and data on China's marketing and media worlds has never been more important". No word yet on what they think this is worth but it is interesting to see the different strategies being used to monetise China-related B2B online activities.

TechTarget juggernaut rolls on

The global roll-out of TechTarget partnerships has been progressing at a dramatic pace this year. We see that they are now moving into Australia and New Zealand with well-established niche technology player Westwick-Farrow.

The first sites down under will be on line in October. They will be linked to Voice&Data Online, Westwick-Farrow’s daily IT news and eNewsletter portal, which currently has 35,000 monthly user sessions from over 6,800 subscribers across Australia and New Zealand according to the news release.

According to TechTarget CEO Greg Strakosch. "The Australian information and communications technology market alone is today worth US$38 billion and is the third largest in the Asia-Pacific region, after Japan and China".

Back in early May, TechTarget announced, in the two years of operation of its international division, that it has expanded its portfolio of international media properties to 39 media properties in 25 countries across Asia and Europe. The division's head Susan Odell has been busy!

Back in January, the company announced a partnership in Singapore with Netremedia to cover south-east Asia. We covered that here while last year we posted on Strakosch's comments on Asia here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Plastics News China web site reports strong traffic

We reported a year ago about Crain's innovative approach to China publishing with its Plastics News China web site and e-newsletter. One year on, the company reports that the web site "quickly is approaching a quarter-million page views a month" while the newsletter is going to 18,000 people each week.

I've said it before and will continue to say that I think there is great potential in this approach to building brands and market presence through an electronic presence in difficult markets such as China. Of course, it's not without its challenges. Bob Grace, the Editor and Associate Publisher of Plastics News, talks of articles being ripped off by local competitors and that will certainly remain a thorn in the side of e-publishers in China and elsewhere. But, the approach has much to commend it that the alternatives lack.

Time for south-east Asia?

I have been speculating for a while that south-east Asia, off the business development radar screen for most of the past decade since the 97/98 financial crisis, is overdue some attention from the business media. China is looking an increasingly difficult media market and the industry that B2B media serves is beginning to look elsewhere. Costs are rising in China and companies are worried about putting more than 70% of their capacity in one country.

Today we see two stories which seem to back this up: firstly, the People's Daily quotes a Chinese economist saying that Chinese companies in southern China should "look at investing in other Asian countries where he says start-up costs and wages are much lower than on the mainland".

Then we see Donald Rumsfeld in the region drying to show his warm side to ASEAN (almost as scary as his normal, cold side). The BBC quotes him as congratulating "his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Van Tra, on the country's "amazing economic achievements" of the last 11 years". We commented just the other day on Hugo Martin's post about the likely rise of Vietnam as a business media centre. It's not often we find ourselves agreeing with Rummie.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Vietnam Internet Subscribers

Good post here from Hugo Martin on Vietnam. I share his enthusiasm for the market and think that it will develop in a very interesting way in the next five years. Previous efforts to get things started there may have been premature but I really do see things on the move now. Here is Hugo's post:

Vietnam Counts 12,5 Plus Million Internet Subscribers: "I passionated about Viet Nam and its friendly and eager people for a long, long time – even so I never succeeded to start CHIP Magazine in Viet Nam and had to close MM Industrial Magazine during the economical crises – but had interesting discussion and made good friends - therefore, I have to share this update on Viet Nam Internet (via Smart Mobs, taken from Bangkok Post).

Viet Nam News
reported (2-June-2006):


'In recent years, Internet Viet Nam has made a break-through development with more than 12.5 million Internet subscribers , according to the Global Internet Policy Init...

(Via Hugo E. Martin on Media, Marketing & Internet.)

Pay for performance search takes off in China

iResearch estimates that the search revenues exceeded Rmb1 billion (US$125 million) in 2005. Of this, over half is from paid-for-performance advertising, the category the research company expects to take off dramatically in the next five years.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Local language business publishing in India

We have written in the past of the decline of English language business publication (here and here). One of the reasons for this is the increased capacity of local publishers to address business communities in their own languages. This is a huge challenge in India with its multiplicity of dialects and received wisdom is that English remains the common language of the business elite and, therefore, the best one to use.

We noted with interest, then, this piece on the exchange4media site about Gujarati editions of the Financial Express newspaper. It quotes the Chairman and Managing Director of the Indian Express Group Viveck Goenka as saying, “We believe the India story goes much beyond the metropolises of the country. It resonates particularly strongly in Gujarat, which has been at the forefront of the economic reform and is now one of our fastest growing states".

It's hard to see the local language opportunities in India being any less competitive than the English ones but they certainly represent a sizeable market.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Growing pains at Taobao

The following is from the blog China Web2.0 Review:

Taobao May Cancel Zhaocaijinbao Service: "As...reported early, Taobao, the leader in Chinese C2C market, introduced a new service called Zhaocaijinbao to take advantage of keywords auction business model of search engine. However, less than a month later, Taobao may have to cancel the service.

Since the service favors big sellers than small ones, many sellers made an alliance to fight against Taobao’s Zhaocaijinbao service. They said to take action together to suspend their shops on June 1st and draw cash from Alipay, Alibaba’s answer to Paypal. While at the same time, Paipai, C2C service by Tencent, are trying to attract those angry sellers of Taobao to change to use Paipai.

So Jack Ma, CEO of Taobao and Alibaba, had to response the anti-Taobao campaign, and wrote a post to explain the situation. Taobao also decided to launch a vote to let all users to decide whether Taobao should keep the Zhaocaijinbao service. The vote started today and will be closed at noon on June 10th. Then by that time, we will know whether Taobao can successfully continue this service.