Friday, January 28, 2011

Exhibition industry in Malaysia ready for new exhibition venue

News this week: Malaysian Association of Convention Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS) president Jonathan Kan was quoted in an article in The Star Online highlighting the need to have a purpose-built centre capable of hosting multiple events under one roof.

Kan noted the industry would welcome the new Matrade centre which will be built next to the existing exhibition and convention centre. The new centre will have a gross area of 100,000 m2 with three floors and 12 halls. It is expected to be completed by 2014 with a budget of just over US$300 million.

Management of the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) have also voiced their concern when the upcoming March edition of the show is forced to co-locate at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) and the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) due to limited spacing, citing extra resources spent in terms of cost and staff needed.

UBM legal dispute continues in China

News this week: Following a Shanghai court ruling in favour of United Business Media (UBM) in November and against the Publishers Association of China Game Publication Committee (CGPA) together with Beijing Howell International Trade Fair Co. (Howell) for violation of the “PRC Anti-Unfair Competition Law,” further rulings have been made, this time against UBM, at the Second Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing related to the original dispute.

UBM has been found guilty of conducting unfair business practices including dissemination of false propaganda and business defamation. The court’s decision essentially states that “UBM claimed to have hosted alone or together with IDG the event of China Game Developers Conference 2007, but the said claim is not wholly factual and, thus, constitutes dissemination of false propaganda.” The court also found that UBM had not registered the trademarks, ‘Game Developers Conference’ or ‘GDC’, in China.

The court has ordered UBM to publish an acknowledgement of this finding and to compensate Howell for damages of just RMB 1.

More details here: Exhibition World article

Adelaide venue and Suntec form partnership

News this week: Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC) and Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Services announced the signing of a partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, Suntec will promote ACC internationally. This is the second overseas agreement of Suntec following its contract with the Vancouver Convention Centre last year.

Suntec will aim to attract events from Asia to Adelaide as the sales and marketing representative of ACC. The ACC also announced that its expansion plans are currently well underway. Construction began in September last year and is expected to be completed by 2016 - doubling its current capacity.

Quoted in a Conference + Meeting World article, CEO of ACC, Alec Gilbert, said, “This arrangement offers us immediate and direct access into the market and we believe that, with the number of direct flights emanating from Asia, Adelaide will make inroads into this sector.”

Pico posts record revenues in 2010

News this week: Hong Kong-listed, Pico Far East Holdings has announced its results for the year ended 31st October 2010. Revenues reached a new record high of US$395 million, a year-on-year 38% increase. Net profit grew an impressive 54% to US$26 million. The company attributed the growth to the revenues from the Shanghai World Expo. The dilute earnings per share for the year were HK$0.1589.

The exhibition and event marketing services generated 78% of the company’s revenues (US$307 million). Revenues from that business jumped 31% over the previous year. The remaining revenues were generated through its museum, themed environment, interior & retail businesses (US$38 million), brand signage and visual communication (US$36 million), and conference & show management segments (US$13 million).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Indiamart to raise US$20 million

Indiamart Intermesh Ltd, owner of the Indian online B2B market place,, has plans to raise US$20 million of capital from private equity investors. Reports in the Indian press suggest that PE firms Bessemer Venture Partners and Warburg Pincus will be involved in the fund raising. Indiamart CEO and founder Dinesh Aggarwal declined to comment on the reports.

If this round of fund-raising goes ahead, this will be the third time the privately-held company has raised capital from outside investors. Indiamart raised US$10.8 million in 2008 from Intel Capital India Technology Fund in exchange for a 14% stake in the company – valuing the company at that time at approximately US$77 million. Similarly in 2007, US$3.4 million was raised from Brand Equity Treaty Ltd (Times Private Treaties) for about a 5% stake in the B2B platform valuing Indiamart at roughly US$68 million.

The Indiamart portfolio of businesses consists of the online B2B platform, Indiamart Sourcing guides, international trade shows and internet promotion services. The company states that it has been growing at a CAGR of 60% and doubled its staff (to an unspecified number) after the Intel Capital fund raising in 2008.

Management plans to allocate the new funds to support customer acquisition and marketing activities and R&D development. Indiamart claims to have participated in over 100 international and 200 domestic trade shows in 2009 to promote its online platform. Indiamart claims to have 700,000 products and 300,000 suppliers listed on its platform. It has 32 offices across India. BSG’s October edition of the B2B Online Media Report ranked Indiamart 4th out of all B2B websites in Asia (based on traffic data), behind,, and

Indiamart views and Global Sources as its key competitors in the Indian market and both of those companies have put significant emphasis on the Indian market in recent years. Global Sources has increased its presence in India now with a significant sales team in place and the Hong kong-based company also organises a number of exhibitions and "Private Sourcing Events" there. has partnered with local B2B media firm Informedia18 and now claims to have more than 1.45 million registered users in India. With so much attention on the Indian market from the key B2B online platforms, it will be worth watching Indiamart to see if their strategy is to actually compete or to be acquired.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Alibaba's untapped information asset keeps growing

The Economist highlighted in a recent article the fact that through its various subsidiaries, the Alibaba Group holds a highly valuable, but as of yet, largely untapped resource: data covering the online buying behaviour and credit histories of millions of individuals and small- and medium-sized enterprises in China.

Alibaba now has a “live data monitoring room” at its headquarters in Hangzhou which offers real-time figures on the millions of users trading on the company’s various e-commerce platforms. The company’s B2C arm, Taobao, boasts 300 million registered users and facilitated transactions valued at US$29 billion in 2009 alone.

Earlier this month, Alibaba pulled back the curtain a bit to give us a glimpse into the level of information it has at its disposal. In Beijing, the company held what it calls its “inaugural Taobao e-commerce data sharing event.” At this event Alibaba released a wide variety of metrics and user trends related to online spending habits - based on its aggregated consumer data.

Alibaba reported that on average on Taobao, 48,000 items were sold per minute in 2010 and Alibaba demonstrated that it can, for example, map the number of mobile phones sold in Shandong Province by age, gender and method of payment. And as Alibaba builds its’ recently announced US$4.6 billion logistics infrastructure across China, the company will have even greater insight into exactly who is buying and where the buyer and seller live.

Alibaba’s records are an unrivalled database of the spending habits of China’s emerging middle class. The company is understandably cautious about how it will utilise this data – typically citing privacy protection issues. It is also a particularly sensitive issue given that the central government in China tends to cast a wary eye towards companies in the private sector with control over that much data. Alibaba does, however, enjoy a very cordial working relationship with the Chinese government at all levels.

Those risks aside, it is clear that Alibaba is sitting on a mountain of data treasure which is growing by the minute and the company has ample opportunities to cash in on this asset. For example, Alibaba could leverage the information to better target buyers and sellers on its on platform or it could potentially aggregate and package the data to sell it to a wide variety of players such as financial institutions looking for better credit data in China or manufacturers looking to identify opportunities to sell to Chinese consumers.

No matter how you look at it, this is a growing information asset and Alibaba is just getting started.