Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Get the HKTDC under control"

This afternoon in Hong Kong's Legco, 40 players from the local exhibition industry read prepared statements to lawmakers.

It was supposed to be a discussion focused on the "development of the exhibition industry in Hong Kong." The session quickly evolved into: "What is your opinion of the HKTDC?"

Unsurprisingly, perhaps the most spirited statement come from Global Sources' founder and CEO, Merle Hinrichs. It is unsurprising since Global Sources probably has the most to lose if the HKTDC gets its way and Phase III of the HKCEC is approved by local government. Global Sources generated US$55 million of US$175 million from its exhibitions business in 2009 and the vast majority of that is from the company's Hong Kong-based exhibitions held at AsiaWorld-Expo.

Part of Hinrichs' statement included the following:

"The TDC conveniently and opportunistically decides when to present themselves as a government representative, and/or when to behave like an aggressive private company. Suggesting that they do not compete with the private sector is a joke.

They target our exhibitors with offers of lower rates and priority locations if they “jump ship” to the TDC. They copy shows which we have spent years developing...

And we call on the government and this Council to take a firm stand on the TDC. Get it under control, rather than allowing the unmanaged, unaudited and unfettered TDC to do as it wishes for its own financial gain."

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