Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Eddie in action

It's good to see my friend Eddie Choi back at his blogging desk. Like me, he has been blogging 'lightly' for a couple of months but his Marketing, Technology, and Entrepreneurial Experience - Blog by Tradedot blog is now back in action. There have already been a couple of very interesting posts: "Bring Sexy Back to B2B" is an interesting piece on how several leading trade fair companies are beginning to look more innovatively at their e-marketing with the help of Eddie's company, Frontiers Digital.

Now, today, he has posted on Global Sources' 'cyber-squatting' on the cantonfair.com domain name...and running a site on it. All's fair in love and war and, as Eddie points out, "Domain name is like real estate. If you own it, you own it". And, nobody ever accused Global Sources of not fighting for its corner very keenly!

Monday, September 15, 2008

I sold my old gold commode

I was going to restrict myself to one post a day (I know - it's been more like one a month the last few weeks), but couldn't resist this one. The heading comes from one of the comments to a Wall Street Journal blog piece on the name change at my friend David Zhong's Millionaire Fair in Shanghai. That event, franchised from its Dutch founders, is now to be known as "The Fair".

I think that's quite cool. According to the China Journal "its focus will shift from the extravagant luxury goods and lavish parties of yore to a more modest sounding “roundtable on China’s well-being and charity.”

Visa restrictions coming to an end?

One of the more unfortunate side-effects of China's desire to pull off a 'perfect' Olympic games was the clamp down on issuing visas to foreigners. It is not untypical of Chinese bureaucrats to take sledge hammer sized solutions to walnut sized problems and this is a case in point with all regular travel to the country having been seriously disrupted for several months. This has caused a slow down in a lot of regular business activity and has impacted foreign visitor attendance at those events outside Beijing which were allowed to continue.

Now, I see from Fons Tuinstra's blog, that word is that this will all be rolled back once the current Paralympics are finished and after the 1st October National Day holidays. He is quoting from Dezan Shira's China Briefing which says the Public Security Bureau has indicated that:

Beginning in the second week of October, China will start issuing one year multi-entry F visas, making it far more convenient for those traveling to China on business to enter the country. The new measures will assist with the various trade shows, such as the Canton Trade Fair, that China traditionally holds during the Autumn.

Interesting that the change of tune should be linked to exhibitions. It suggests that those in power are, contrary to popular opinion, aware of the very negative impact that the visa policy has had on business.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Watch out JCK

UBM's David Levin kicked off day 2 of the FIPP/ABM conference in New York with a compelling presentation of the company's strategy and performance. Challenged to explain "what happened to CMP", he had a few of the big media brand bosses squirming when he argued that small is beautiful and that the media brands themselves are not really relevant to the customers.

He told the 290 delegates that he was on his way to Asia for the Shanghai Furniture Fair and for CMP Asia's September Jewellery Fair in Hong Kong. Despite the revolting jewellery associations, he says that the CMP team has "JCK in it's sights" and plans to become the world's largest within a year or so.

I asked him if he was planning to follow the lead he has set in the US and Europe, breaking up CMP into what he calls "Tiger" and "Lion" companies. No Dragons in Asia yet it seems. As the Asian business has always been mainly an events one, he said it was different and doesn't need to be broken up....
Sent via BlackBerry.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Avoiding PIGS

I'm now in New York where I shall be attending next week's FIPP/ABM B2B industry meeting which is usually very worthwhile.

A couple of things catching my eye here: firstly, the news that Alibaba Group is merging it's online advertising business Alimama with its eBay killing auction site Taobao is intriguing. On the surface, there's not much to link those two other than the fact that they both fall outside the listed Alibaba.com B2B business. Is another IPO in the making? That would be one explanation.

Then, I noticed an interesting piece on ExpoWeb about a new research study undertaken by my old friend Denzil Rankine of AMR for the boutique investment bank DeSilve + Philips. The piece reports on a panel which discussed AMR's research at the bank's recent conference in New York. The research proposes (and I agree) that events are likely to be much more resilient in these currently-straitened economic times than other forms of media. They also predict that M&A will hold up in this sector which must be a great relief to them all.

What really caught my eye, though, was a remark attributed to Richard Kerr, head of group development for CMP's parent, United Business Media plc. "UBM's Kerr", Expoweb says, "outlined conditions in the Middle East, India and China, and added that he avoids “the PIGS—Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain.” I think he should be careful about what's been added to his soup if he decides to dine in any Portuguese, Italian, Greek or Spanish restaurants in the near future.