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2018 HKECIA exhibition survey reflects strong foundation of Hong Kong’s exhibition industry despite US-China trade war

Over 300 HKECIA members and guests attended the HKECIA 29th anniversary dinner at the HKCEC on 6 June
The Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Industry Association (HKECIA) has released the latest in its series of annual surveys of the exhibition activities in Hong Kong, covering the calendar year 2018.  The survey results show that Hong Kong’s exhibition industry remains steady, in terms of the number of “trade” and “trade & consumer” exhibitions, with a slight decrease in the number of participants.

In 2018, a total of 138 exhibitions (over 2,000 sqm) were held in Hong Kong, of these 68 were “trade” exhibitions, 20 were “trade and consumer” exhibition, and 50 were “consumer” exhibitions.  The 2018 HKECIA survey is based on the data collected from 78 respondents out of 88 “trade” and “trade and consumer” exhibitions.  “Consumer” exhibitions were not included in the survey.  

In total, over 69,000 exhibiting companies and more than 2.3 million visitors participated in the “trade” and “trade & consumer” exhibitions in Hong Kong last year.   

The total number of exhibiting companies fell by 3.9%.  The numbers from Hong Kong, International and Mainland China dropped by single digit whereas the number from Regional rose by 11.7%.  Overall visitors fell by 1.7% with all regions down in number apart from Mainland China from which visitor number increased slightly by 0.3%.  

The drop off was mainly due to US-China trade war which started in the beginning of 2018; higher tariffs imposed by both countries have seen reducing demand for their products, taking into account that these nations are both the largest manufacturers and consumer markets in the world.   

Chairman of the HKECIA, Mr Stuart Bailey, says, “Hong Kong exhibition industry has a strong foundation.  Although economic data and the survey results reflect that the challenges faced by Hong Kong have been increasing, Hong Kong remains a favoured destination for exhibiting companies and visitors alike.  The drop-off is in fact less than might have been anticipated.”  

While realistically acknowledging the fact that apart from the US-China trade conflict, Hong Kong is also experiencing slower momentum of economic growth in Europe, uncertainties caused by Brexit and escalating geopolitical tensions of various regions, Mr Bailey is confident that Hong Kong’s exhibition industry can face these headwinds and ride out the storm together.   

“We are fortunate that there are also new opportunities for us to grasp.  The recently released Outline Development Plan for the Greater Bay Area reaffirms Hong Kong’s leading position in the exhibition industry and gives a clear direction of consolidating and enhancing Hong Kong’s status as an international high-end convention, exhibition and sourcing centre,” he adds, “building close ties with our counterparts from other cities in the Greater Bay Area while exporting Hong Kong’s expertise in organising high quality exhibitions will bring benefit to all parties.”

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