Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Websites in China go grey

Today, leading websites in China have gone grey in memory of the 2,000+ victims of the Qinghai earthquake.

Check out:

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."

Exhibitions in Europe impacted by volcanic ash

Trade Show Executive has a good round up of exhibitions hit by the (ongoing) Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption.

"Germany’s massive bauma 2010 trade show for the construction equipment industry was among the exhibitions that opened as scheduled in Europe. The April 19-25 triennial event, organized by Messe München International [which] said in an advisory that it was recruiting stand-ins to man the orphaned booths and basically collect business cards. 'These temporary employees will accept and collect any enquiries for exhibitors and pass them on to the respective company employees as soon as possible,' the advisory said."

Here is a series of photos of the impact on the London Book Fair - empty booths. has a piece on the impact on European meetings.

van der Kamp takes a run at the HKTDC

In today's South China Morning Post, Jake van der Kamp takes on the HKTDC - and not for the first time in his career. Jake's piece is out just ahead of today's meeting of the Panel on Commerce and Industry which will feature a who's who of the exhibition industry. The public gallery is reportedly already fully booked for this event.

van der Kamp makes some worthy points, but he also gets a bit over-excited as he often does. Here is an example of that:

"[The HKTDC] are not really promoting Hong Kong's exports now. They are promoting China's exports and, when you ask them why, they excuse themselves on the grounds that these exports come substantially from Hong Kong-invested companies across the border… There are many thousands of Hong Kong ID card holders in Vancouver and a good number of them are also involved in the export business. Why does the TDC not promote Canadian exports, too, in that case? What about it, fellas? It follows from your logic."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Asian Paper 2010 postponed

UBM Asia has announced that the decision has been taken to postpone Asian Paper 2010. The exhibition and conference was due to be held on 21-23 April at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre in Bangkok.

Due to the violence and continuing political protests in the past few weeks, UBM Asia has rescheduled the event to 16-18 June at the same venue. The 2008 edition of the event featured 357 exhibitors and over 5,000 visitors from nearly 70 countries. Asian Paper was previously held in Singapore, but was relocated to Bangkok in 2006.

This is the first B2B exhibition to be impacted by the ongoing political unrest in Thailand.

Reed acquires Singapore comic event

Reed Exhibitions has jumped into the world of spotty teens with unusual hobbies following the acquisition of the Singapore Toy Games & Comic Convention. The event was launched in 2008 and was owned by PI events.

The next edition is scheduled to take place in December at Suntec. The event reportedly doubled in size in 2009 and it was expanded to a three day event with a conference.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to BSG's database, this is the first event acquisition in Singapore since the 2007 IIR Exhibitions' acquisition of HQ Link.

HKCEC Phase III debate heats up again

The South China Morning Post reports this morning that Global Sources has stated in a position paper submitted to Hong Kong's Legislative Council that the company will relocate its Hong Kong-based trade shows to mainland China if Phase III of the HKCEC goes ahead.

The SCMP quotes the position paper: "It is clear that if the third phase of the HKCEC proceeds, AsiaWorld-Expo will fail totally. We will certainly be forced to take our events elsewhere, likely to China where the government is extremely supportive of our activities."

In my opinion, approval for Phase III is highly unlikely in the short- and medium-term as the HK government is otherwise occupied with a series of large infrastructure projects. That, however, has not stopped Phase III from becoming a hot topic over the past six months with much of the debate aired in the local press.

The Legislative Council's commerce and industry panel is schedule to discuss the exhibition industry next week which will likely generate more heat and headlines.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

GSOL: Ten years on NASDAQ

Ten years ago today, Global Sources began trading on NASDAQ following a reverse merger with the listed shell of the Fairchild Corporation, an aviation component manufacturer. It was a volatile first day coinciding with the rapid deflation of the dot com bubble. No shares traded on 14th April 2000.

As one would expect, there have been some fairly extreme highs and lows in the past decade. GSOL's share price dropped under US$1.80 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. More recently in October 2007, Global Sources traded over US$30 in the lead up to the Hong Kong IPO of

In the past ten years, revenues have more than doubled rising from approximately US$90 million to a high of US$207 million in 2008. In the same period, RFIs (requests for information), which are a measure of buyer activity on the company's flagship website, have skyrocketed from just over 2 million in 2000 to an incredible 136 million last year! Congratulations to the team in Vita Tower on the achievements of the past decade and we're looking forward to what the next decade holds in store!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Alibaba is now a bank

The SCMP reports that the Alibaba Group is now licensed to offer microfinance loans to SMEs in China. According to the company’s spokesman, they are the first e-commerce firm in China to be granted such a license. The company also announced that it plans to invest over US$730 million to upgrade Alipay, its online payment platform. Alipay already has over 300 million registered users and close to a 50% market share in the online payment market in China.

These moves mark another step towards realising Alibaba’s strategic goal of establishing a comprehensive online “ecosystem” serving SMEs in China – including online sourcing, marketing, payment and fulfilment services.

On top of all that, CEO David Wei told Reuters that he expects revenue growth of 40% to 50% in the next 12 months. They will be nothing if not busy in Hangzhou.