Total number of exhibiting companies grew by 6.5% over the previous year, while total number of visitors grew by 5.8%. Such encouraging performance is particularly significant with the “Occupy Central” movement taking place in the major business districts of Hong Kong during the peak trade fair season last year.
Questionnaires were sent to organisers of a total of 108 “trade” and “trade and consumer” exhibitions utilising over 2,000 sqm held during 2014. Responses from 101 “trade” and “trade and consumer” exhibitions were received. Purely consumer exhibitions were not included in the results.
The survey showed that the total number of exhibiting companies at 66,164 grew by 6.5% over 2013. In 2014, the growth is shown across Hong Kong, Regional and Mainland China. Particularly significant was the 18% jump in regional exhibiting companies, indicating the growing importance of Hong Kong to regional businesses as a trade and exhibition hub.
Visitor numbers traced the rise in exhibiting company numbers, with total visitor numbers rising by 5.8% from 2013, to almost 2 million in total (1,945,993). The numbers of international and regional visitors were particular strong, jumping by 9.9% and 9.6% respectively.
This strong attendance showing is especially positive in the light of the “Occupy Central” movement that took place in Hong Kong in October and November 2014. Despite one major exhibition venue being in the heart of the affected area, the efforts of its management and staff alike enabled trade events being held there to proceed largely uninterrupted. This achievement in the face of difficult external circumstances is another powerful reason why Hong Kong has established itself as the Trade Fair Capital of Asia.
The net meterage occupied by exhibitors dropped slightly for the year by comparison with 2013, down by 3.2% to 897,618 sqm, as exhibitors sought to maximise space economies. This translated into a small rise in approximate stand rental revenues achieved for the year, of around 1.8%.
In announcing the results, HKECIA Chairman Mr Javed Khan commented that the survey reaffirmed without a doubt the leading position that Hong Kong has established in the industry. “In 2014, exhibiting company numbers, visitor numbers, and rental revenue generated from exhibitors were all positive, especially for exhibiting companies and visitors from outside Hong Kong,” he said.
“This is an excellent testimony of the trust that is placed in our city’s capabilities in a time of global economic uncertainty. In particular, the strong growth we have seen in regional and international numbers demonstrates the confidence that overseas suppliers and buyers have in the trade platforms provided by Hong Kong. We are in an excellent position to continue in our role as one of the world’s leading sourcing hubs for local, regional and international companies alike.”
The HKECIA’s announcement of the 2014 annual survey results comes as the Association celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Earlier, in March, the HKECIA and the Hong Kong Tourism Board played host to the 10th edition of the Open Seminar in Asia and Sustainable Development Focus Meeting of UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. The Seminar enjoyed a record-breaking attendance of over 300 participants from 21 countries and regions. More recently, on 30 June, the HKECIA held its 25th anniversary dinner at the HKCEC, which was attended by 450 members and guests including government representatives Mr Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, and Mr Philip Yung, Permanent Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development.
“These positive survey results for 2014 highlight an excellent year for the HKECIA,” said Mr Khan. “We have once again demonstrated how important our industry is for Hong Kong, and we look forward to working together with the government and other stakeholders in the years to come in developing initiatives that will further strengthen our contribution to Hong Kong’s economic momentum.”