Friday, February 27, 2015

Alibaba Group restructures loans division

News this week: New York-listed Alibaba Group has announced the company’s completed restructured relationship with Zhejiang Ant Small and Micro Financial Services (Ant Financial) – now officially parent company of Alipay and Alibaba’s small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) loan business.

Alibaba Group and Ant Financial first agreed on a purchase agreement prior to Alibaba’s IPO in September 2014. The restructuring sees Alibaba reduce its risks involved with the loan business and refocus on the e-commerce sector. According to Alibaba, Alipay has more than 300 million registered users and processes more than 80 million transactions per day as of December 2014.

The Alibaba Group will no longer consolidate the financial results of the SME loan business in its future financial filings. Ant Financial’s businesses portfolio offers a range of services complimentary to Alibaba’s “e-commerce ecosystem” including Alipay, Alipay Wallet, Yu'e Bao, Zhao Cai Bao, Ant Micro Loan and Sesame Credit.

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dmg events opens new offices in India

News this week: Earlier this week, dmg events Middle East and Asia announced its expansion through the opening of the company’s new Indian headquarters in Mumbai and offices in Bangalore. dmg events has appointed Mr. Sajid Desai as country director to lead its operations in India.

The Dubai-based event organiser’s portfolio includes building and construction show, The Big 5 Construct India and ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi. The upcoming 3rd edition of The Big 5 Construct India will take place in Mumbai this September, and is jointly organised with the Federation of Indian Chambers Of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Mike Allsopp, senior vice president of dmg events Middle East, India and Asia, commented, “With an energetic and visionary new government looking to stimulate key sectors of the Indian economy, dmg events are looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunities that will emerge. Sajid is an experienced professional who is well versed in operating in the Indian market with over two decades of experience in business-to-business, special interest and business-to-consumer industries in exhibitions, events, media and online.”

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BOL revenue up, profit down in 2014

New this week: Earlier this week, Bangkok-listed business information provider, Business Online (BOL), announced its financial results for the year ended 31st December 2014. The company reported revenues of US$14 million, up 13% year-on-year. However, net income in the year decreased by 12%, down to US$2.4 million. Diluted earnings per share in 2014 were Baht 0.10 (US$0.0030).

More than half of BOL’s revenues were generated through its flagship online information service, amounting to US$7.0 million. This represents a 10% decrease from the previous year. Other service generated revenues of US$6.4 million, a growth of 59%. The remaining revenues were generated from other income, which the company did not supply details regarding these revenue categories.

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Mega Expo’s interim revenue down 10%

News this week: Last week, trade show organiser Mega Expo Holdings Limited announced its interim result for the six-month period ending 31st December 2014. The company generated revenues of US$23 million, a year-on-year decrease of 10%. Net profit during the period was US$5.6 million, flat against the same period in 2013. Diluted earnings per share in the period were HK$0.2075 (US$0.027).

According to the company, the majority of its revenues were generated from the organising of exhibitions, which dropped by 10% to US$22 million. The company’s remaining revenues were generated from exhibition-related services and ancillary services.

The company’s management attributed the drop in revenue to the end of a co-operation agreement for the Asia Expo-Singapore and Fujian Commodities Expo-Singapore, as well as competition from other exhibition organisers.

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Informa’s exhibitions revenue up 25% in 2014

News this week: Earlier this month, international organiser, Informa plc, released its financial results for the year ended 31st December 2014. Group revenues in the year were £1.1 billion (US$1.8 billion), flat against 2013. Adjusted operating profit in 2014 was also flat at £334 million (US$521 million).

The company reported revenues generated from its global exhibitions grew 25% year-on-year, reaching £200 million (US$312 million). Adjusted operating profit was £67 million (US$105 million) in 2014, an increase of 35%.

In Asia, Informa reported a strong performance of the China Beauty Expo, which the organiser acquired in 2013. A total of 1,837 companies occupying 6,433 booths exhibited at the 2014 event, and attracted 252,200 visitors from 80 countries and regions. The event covered an exhibition space of 127,000 m2 over 11 halls at Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC).

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TCEB highlights Australia in 2014 results

News this week: The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has revealed Thailand’s business events industry in 2014 was driven by significant growth in visitors originating from the Australia and Oceania region. For the financial year ended September 2014, Thailand received a total of 919,614 business events travellers generating more than US$2.1 billion.

In particular, TCEB highlighted Australia’s position as a top six source market for Thailand’s MICE industry, as Australian business events travellers jumped 137% year-on-year to reach 37,947 generating an estimated US$91.3 million. For the overall Oceania region, business events travellers were up 81% to 47,446. During the first quarter of 2015, a total of 190,660 business events travellers generated revenues of more than US$428 million.

Mr Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, president of TCEB, commented during the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne, “As the Thai government’s official flagship body for the business events sector, a core part of TCEB’s mission is to foster the close connections that have been developed with our counterparts and business travellers in key markets such as Australia and Oceania. A 137% increase in Australian visitors in 2014 confirms that our direction in this region is attuned with market demands, especially within the corporate meetings and incentive travels segments.”

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Alibaba to invest in handset manufacturer, Meizu

News this week: China’s leading e-commerce company, Alibaba Group, announced it invested US$590 million in exchange for a minority stake in Meizu, a smartphone manufacturer based in China.

Under the terms of the deal, Alibaba and Meizu will cooperate to develop Meizu’s hardware and Alibaba’s mobile operating system. Alibaba will provide Meizu with resources and support in e-commerce, mobile Internet, mobile operating system and data analysis for developing Meizu’s smartphone ecosystem, while Alibaba’s online shopping marketplaces will become distribution channels for Meizu’s smartphones and other devices.

Jian Wang, chief technology officer of Alibaba Group, said, “The investment in Meizu represents a significant expansion of the Alibaba Group ecosystem and an important step in our overall mobile strategy as we strive to bring users a wider array of mobile offerings and experiences.”

This post is excerpted from BSG's weekly e-newsletter which is part of our subscription research service, BSG Tracker. Visit our website to find out more about this service. You can also follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates.

ISPO Beijing posts new show record

News this week: Sporting goods exhibition, ISPO Beijing, concluded last month with new record numbers. A total of 434 exhibitors with 656 brands were showcased at the event and it attracted 29,948 participants.

Organised by Messe München GmbH, the event ran from 28th to 31st January 2015, at China National Convention Center (CNCC) in Beijing. Covering about 40,000 m2, the event featured products from the outdoor, action sports, ski, sportstyle and fabrics & fibres segments. International exhibitors originated from Austria, Korea, Czech Republic and Taiwan.

Klaus Dittrich, chairman of the Management of Messe München GmbH, said, “The four trade show days once again showed that the sporting goods industry continues to grow in China. This is also evident in the increasing number and quality of the exhibitors.”

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UBM’s CPhI India features over 1,000 exhibitors

News this week: UBM EMEA, a subsidiary of UBM plc, concluded a record-breaking edition of CPhI India hosting 1,089 exhibitors from 95 countries and regions as well as some 32,000 attendees. The three-day event was held at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) in Mumbai from the 2nd to 4th December 2014.

According to UBM, visitor numbers grew 7% over 2013 with visitors originating from 95 countries and regions. CPhI India featured a number of group and country pavilions including those from the U.K., U.S., Brazil and China. New features this year saw the launch of a new mobile app to provide additional content to enhance show attendees’ experience.

Chris Kilbee, group director of the pharma portfolio at UBM EMEA Amsterdam, said, “CPhI India success clearly demonstrates the continued growth and recognition of the CPhI portfolio around the globe. Our strategy of carefully listening to our customers, incorporating integrated elements and continually opening up the exhibition to other sectors of the pharmaceutical supply chain, and when appropriate, jointly branding events – such as with P-MEC in India – is integral to our global, yet local, business approach.”

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Plastindia draws 2,000 exhibitors to new venue

News this week: Earlier this week, the 9th edition of Plastindia concluded at the new Mahatma Mandir Convention cum Exhibition Centre. The six-day plastics industry trade show featured 2,000 exhibitors from 40 countries and regions. Plastindia was held from 5th to 10th February. According to the show’s organiser, close to 200,000 visitors attended this year.

Plastindia was previously held at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan. While the media reported some exhibitors are concerned about lower attendance from foreign buyers due to the move away from New Delhi, the show’s organiser, Plastindia Foundation, has stated the next edition of Plastindia in 2018 will remain in Gandhinagar.

Subhash Kadakia, president of the Mumbai-based Plastindia Foundation, was quoted saying, “Plastindia 2015 has surpassed all our expectations.” A board member of the PlastIndia Foundation added, “The footfall was higher than at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. Besides India, the show saw participation from companies in U.K., France, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, China, Taiwan and Korea, etc.”

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Baidu’s revenue jumps 54% in 2014, announces business restructure

News this week: Earlier this week, NASDAQ-listed Baidu, the leading Chinese-language Internet search provider, reported its results for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year in 2014. Revenues in the year were US$7.9 billion – representing overall growth of 54%. The company posted net income in 2014 of US$2.1 billion, an increase of 25% over the previous year. Diluted earnings per share in the period were RMB 37.32 (US$6.01).

The majority of Baidu’s revenues were generated from its online marketing services. In 2014, the company had about 813,000 active online marketing customers, up 8% compared with 2013. Revenue per customer was US$9,574 in 2014 – representing year-on-year growth of over 40%.

Separately, Baidu announced the company plans to integrate its existing business groups and business units into three major business groups: the mobile service business group, the emerging business group and the search business group.

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New exhibition venue to open in Sendai, Japan

News this week: Sendai, hard hit by the massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011, is set to open a new venue in April 2015 – the International Center Exhibition Building (ICEB). The venue features a configurable 3,000 m2 exhibition hall which can be arranged to hold up to 2,560 people. There are also four additional meeting rooms capable of hosting up to 200 people each.

The new venue adjoins the existing Sendai International Center Conference Building, which will add to its main convention hall capable of seating 1,000, a 755 m2 reception/exhibition hall, as well as an additional 12 meeting rooms. ICEB will be served by Sendai’s Tozai Subway Line, which is expected to begin service by December 2015. The city, located in Miyagi Prefecture in north-eastern Japan, is connected to Tokyo via bullet train and is connected to ten domestic and six international destinations by flight.

ICEB’s inaugural event, the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, is expected to feature more than 40,000 participants. The conference will be supported by a number of public events including symposia and exhibitions on disaster preparedness and recovery.

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Friday, February 06, 2015

Alibaba.com partners to offer loans in U.S.

News this week: The Alibaba Group’s B2B e-commerce arm, Alibaba.com, announced the formation of a partnership with the Lending Club, a San Francisco-based lending company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, to provide credit loans to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the U.S.

U.S.-based SMEs can now apply for credit lines from US$5,000 to US$300,000 through Alibaba.com to finance purchases of goods from Chinese suppliers. Named Alibaba.com e-Credit Line, the new service is provided by Lending Club and aims to provide efficient supply-chain financing at lower costs than banks and conventional lenders.

Lending Club’s founder and CEO, Renaud Laplanche, said, “The hope is over time, as we continue to work together, we will collect more and more data on the Alibaba marketplace and on transactions between specific suppliers in China and buyers in the U.S. This will enhance underwriting and help us make decisions faster, at lower risk, and at lower interest rates.”

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3,800 booths at Taipei’s largest auto show

News this week: The upcoming Taipei 5-in-1 Mega Motoring Show will showcase 3,800 booths from almost 1,400 exhibitors from 14 countries at the Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) Exhibition Hall 1 and Nangang Exhibition Hall. The show will run from 8th to 11th April 2015.

The five concurrent shows include Taipei AMPA, AutoTronics Taipei, Motorcycle Taiwan, EV Taiwan and Tuning & Car Care Taiwan. Exhibitors from Thailand, Malaysia and China will each have large-scale national pavilions. Other international exhibitors include those from Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam.

A new event, the Tuning & Car Care Taiwan, will be launched as part of the four-day show featuring the latest tuning and car care auto products. According to Ministry of Finance (MOF) statistics, 2,626 car care suppliers in Taiwan generated profits of US$143.3 million in 2013 and US$129 million as of October 2014.

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Singapore EXPO expects 50,000 international visitors in 2015

News this week: Singapore EXPO Convention and Exhibition Centre, together with its convention venue, MAX Atria, will host a range of large-scale international events which are expected to attract an estimated 50,000 foreign visitors in 2015.

Some major events scheduled to be held at Singapore EXPO in 2015 include a medical event, International Brain Stimulation Conference 2015; a logistics event, Last Mile Fulfilment Asia 2015; Radiology Asia 2015 for medical imaging technology; 28th Southeast Asian Games, Jeunesse’s Global Expo Unite Annual World Conference and Gastech 2015, which will be held in conjunction with Singapore International Energy Week.

Aloysius Arlando, CEO of SingEx Venues commented, “We are honoured to host these key industry events, some of which are being held here for the very first time. The robust line-up of business events represents our ability to reach into the key verticals that are aligned with Singapore’s vision of becoming a knowledge-based economy, while concurrently generating significant spin-offs for the tourism and MICE industries.”

This post is excerpted from BSG's weekly e-newsletter which is part of our subscription research service, BSG Tracker. Visit our website to find out more about this service. You can also follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates.

Pico’s full-year revenues up 14%

News this week: Last week, Hong Kong-listed, Pico Far East Holdings announced its results for the year ended 31st October 2014. Revenues were US$494 million, up 16% year-on-year. Profit in the year grew 14% to US$31 million. Diluted earnings per share for the year were HK$0.1972 (US$0.025). The management attributed the growth in revenues to the implementation of its Total Brand Activation (TBA) strategy in its exhibition business.

Pico’s largest business segment was its exhibition & event marketing services, which generated revenues of US$356 million, accounting for 72% of total revenues. This represents a 12% increase over the previous year. The remaining revenues were generated through its brand signage & visual identity business (US$61.4 million), the museum, themed environment interior & retail business (US$60.8 million) and its conference & show management business (US$16.1 million).

Lawrence Chia, chairman of Pico, said, “We are delighted about the significant increase in turnover in the second half of 2014. This year, we have made notable breakthroughs by offering a wider spectrum of services like digital marketing and sponsorship activation. We will continue to invest in our people to ensure that the skills of our different specialised teams can meet the ever-changing demands of our different business segments.”

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Reed Exhibitions buys Australian online medical platform

News this week: This week, Reed Exhibitions announced the acquisition of ThinkGP from GenesisEd Pty. Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. ThinkGP is an Australia-based accredited online education platform for general practitioners (GPs) and healthcare professionals. The organiser aims to provide additional online content to support its face-to-face events.

ThinkGP will be integrated into the Reed Medical Education division alongside the General Practitioner Conference & Exhibition (GPCE) portfolio of events, which are held annually in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. The staff team of ThinkGP will join up with Reed Medical Education together with Dr John Crimmins, owner and CEO of GenesisEd, who will move into a senior consultancy role.

Brian Thomas, managing director of Reed Exhibitions Australia, said, “We believe that this strategic acquisition is the right move for Reed Exhibitions and for ThinkGP. It will enable healthcare educators and suppliers to engage with the primary healthcare sector through a multi-channel approach, which is what our customers have been asking us to provide. It will help to enhance their businesses and also deliver them a superior product offering to support GPs, nurses, practice staff and other primary healthcare professionals.”

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ITE acquires Diversified’s Indian entertainment technology shows

News this week: Earlier this week, the ITE Group, announced the acquisition of Diversified Communications’ India-based entertainment technology portfolio for an undisclosed amount. The co-located events, PALM Expo and Music Expo, along with two publications, Pro Sound Systems and Studio Systems, will be managed by ITE’s Indian partner company, Asian Business Exhibitions and Conferences (ABEC).

Russell Taylor, chief executive of ITE, commented, “We have a growing business in India and we’re committed to further strengthening our position in Asia as well as expanding the diversity of the sectors that we cover globally. The PALM portfolio fits well with our strategic growth plans.” Manish Gandhi, COO of ABEC, added, “We are excited to work with the existing PALM management team to take this exciting portfolio to new heights.”

Separately, ITE released an interim management statement for the quarter ending 31st December 2014. Management reported the group’s performance in the first quarter of the financial year was in line with expectations and largely unaffected by the economic slowdown in Russia. Revenue for the quarter was US$38.9 million (£25.4 million), up from US$55.7 million (£36.3 million) in Q1 2013. Adjusted for biennial cycling effects, like-for-like (constant currency) revenues for the quarter are down 4% over the same period in 2013 (down 18% on an actual currency basis).

This post is excerpted from BSG's weekly e-newsletter which is part of our subscription research service, BSG Tracker. Visit our website to find out more about this service. You can also follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates.