Monday, December 22, 2008

UFI Open Seminar in Asia 2009 to be held in Malaysia

Paris, 15 December 2008: UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, will hold the fourth UFI Open Seminar in Asia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 12-13 February 2009. The theme of this seminar focuses on "Ten Steps to Better Exhibitions - Practical tips on how to run an exhibition in a time of crisis".

As in the past, the UFI Open Seminar in Asia 2009 welcomes all UFI members and non-members to participate. Registration is now open with early bird rates available until 31 December 2008.

The seminar will be hosted by Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, one of UFI's members in Malaysia. UFI Asia/Pacific Regional Manager Paul Woodward commented "we decided to hold the 2009 seminar with a very practical focus on ten interesting topics about how to run exhibitions beginning from planning to looking at your future business. We're delighted to be working with the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on this project".

According to Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre's General Manager, Peter Brokenshire, "The Centre is honoured to be the host venue for the UFI Open Seminar 2009. This is an excellent platform for the local and international exhibition professionals to have a quality knowledge exchange and networking opportunities. The need to meet and connect with their counterparts is even more crucial in the current economic environment.

"In addition, we hope the delegates will also enjoy a first-hand experience of the space and flexibility at our venue, the team's professional and friendly service and of course, the gastronomic offerings specially prepared by our culinary brigade of 51 chefs during the event."

A group of experienced executives from the exhibitions industry as well as a group of major exhibitors and some outside experts will share their expertise in Kuala Lumpur. They will provide delegates with real-world stories and practical tips for running better exhibitions.

The UFI Open Seminar in Asia 2009 is strongly supported by a number of important Malaysian organizations and include Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), AOS Convention & Exhibition Sdn Bhd, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), Kuala Lumpur Tourism Action Council, Pico International (M) Pte Ltd, and the host, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

A group of presenters in the following list has been assembled for the programme with others to be confirmed.
- Stanley Chu, Chairman, Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd and UFI Asia Pacific Chapter First Vice Chairman, Hong Kong SAR.
- Peter Brokenshire, General Manager, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia.
- Nat Wong, President, Agility Fairs & Events Logistics Pte Ltd, Singapore.
- Glenn Hansen, President and CEO, BPA Worldwide, USA.
- Skip Cox, Exhibit Surveys, USA
- Michael Duck, Senior Vice President, CMP Asia Ltd, Hong Kong SAR

The Seminar runs from 1:30 - 5:45PM on Thursday 12th February and 9:00AM - 1:00PM on Friday 13th February followed by Seminar Lunch at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Seminar programme and registration info are available at

For additional information please contact: UFI
Ms Lili Eigl, Manager Communications
35bis, rue Jouffroy-d'Abbans
75017 Paris, France
Phone: (33) 1 4267 9912

Seasons greetings from the BSG team

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Projecting resilience

BSG CEO Paul Woodward is quoted in this article on the impact of the economic crisis on the MICE industry. The basic theme is that "conventions and exhibitions in the region will weather the global financial storm, despite a drop in delegate attendance". Corporate meetings and incentive travel are expected to be hit harder.

Woodward is quoted as saying "We can safely assume that the third and fourth quarters of this year will be pretty weak compared to previous years, as companies cut back on international travel in the face of future uncertainty. There are mixed reports coming from the major trade fairs under way now. Some are reporting flat visitor figures while others are conceding a 15-20 per cent reduction in international participation. The expectation is certainly that participation in Asian events from North America and Europe will be lower.”

Thursday, October 09, 2008

China National Commitee meets in Ningbo

I was honoured to be able to attend the meeting this week of China's National Technical Committee on Exhibition & Convention Standardization in Ningbo. OK, it may not be a title to get the pulse racing, but it is actually the only official, national level committee of any kind for the exhibitions industry in China. It is chaired by Chen Xianjin from the Shanghai World Expo Group who is also the chair of UFI's Asia/Pacific Chapter. The 20 or so key members are a real who's who of the industry in China.

I gave an overview of developments with the ISO's new standard and in UFI's own standardisation efforts. Pictured here, next to Woodward are Chen Xianjin (L) and, next to him, the Head of Ningbo city government's Convention & Exhibition office.

Other leaders of China's exhibition industry in the picture (and taking leading roles in the Committee) include (from the left) Tang Guifa from Shanghai, and Chen Fang and Li Kai from Beijing. Not pictured included old friends from the industry in China such as Wang Mingliang of CMP Sinoexpo, Mike Jiang of Reed's Shenzhen Sinoexpo business and many others.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blogging has resumed

After a long-ish summer break, regular blogging has resumed on our Asia Business Media blog. We explain where we've been and what we are now looking at in our first post.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

UFI/BSG report records 18% growth in Asian exhibitions


Trade fair market in Asia grows by 18% in 2007 according to UFI market report

Paris/Hong Kong, June 24, 2008: The trade fair industry in Asia expanded strongly again in 2007.Net area sold by organisers in Asia grew by nearly 18% reaching a total of 13.2 million m2 according to the fourth edition of UFI’s annual report on the trade fair market in Asia. The research and analysis was once again undertaken for UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, by Business Strategies Group (BSG) in Hong Kong.

The report shows that China remains the largest trade fair market by a substantial margin. Year-onyear, net square metres sold in China grew by 21% outperforming the regional average of 14%. India was, however, Asia’s fastest –growing market in 2007, up 50% followed by South Korea which grew by 32%. Over 6.7 million m2 were sold in China in 2007 – accounting for 51% of the total across Asia. The second largest market, Japan, grew by just 1% last year with sales of 2.2 million m2. Revenues from trade fairs in Asia increased from US$2.57 billion in 2006 to US$3.25 billion in 2007 – an increase of 26.5%. China continued to extend its lead over other markets in 2007. Last year, trade fair revenues in China were nearly US$1.12 billion. This is a massive increase of 47% over the US$760 million recorded in 2006.

This annual industry report provides detailed information on the development of trade fairs and supporting facilities in 15 markets: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The report also includes analysis on actual market performance in 2007 as well as forecasts and commentary on key trends in each market.

Vincent GĂ©rard, UFI Managing Director, commented, “The publication of the fourth edition of this report is an important contribution to UFI’s global research efforts. It shows that Asia remains one of the most dynamic areas for growth in our industry. It is exciting to see the predicted takeoff in India becoming a reality along with the many other exciting markets in the region”. As an added-value service, each UFI member will be entitled to receive a six page executive summary of the research and to purchase the full report at a substantial discount.

The report has again been edited by UFI Asia/Pacific Regional Manager and BSG Principal, Paul Woodward. He commented, “In the last five years, we have seen the trade fair industry undergo a remarkable transformation. In 2003, the region recorded space sales of 5.7 million m2 at 101 venues. Last year, the number of venues had surged by more than 50% to 156 venues and sales had more than doubled to 13.2 million m2.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Featured in TradeShow Week Power Pack

BSG founder Paul Woodward is featured in TradeShow Week's Power Pack 100 listing of the "most influential people in the exhibition business". Very kind, thank you guys. They say:

From his perch in Hong Kong, for years Woodward has had his hand on the pulse of the Asian tradeshow industry, churning out detailed reports on all aspects of the continent's business. He seems to know as much about what's going on in the relatively low-profile countries of southeast Asia as he does about the enormous industry in China. Woodward also runs UFI's Asia/Pacific office...
They go on to credit me with writing UFI's new global venues report. That was actually produced by Christian Druart in UFI's head office with Asia input from BSG.

Monday, June 02, 2008

In Thailand

I was invited to Bangkok last week to join in a press conference organised by my friends at the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau. They were announcing a new initiative to support exhibitions in Thailand which included the launch of an Approved Event by TCEB scheme. Drawing on UFI's international standards, this will require data to be audited and international participation levels.

It's a good initiative which can help cement Thailand's strong position. According to our data, it is already the leading host of trade fairs in south-east Asia. I'm a big fan of promoting higher professional standards in the events industry.

Here I am with TCEB Exhibitions Director Supawan Teerarat and CMP Thailand's Nucharin Paradeevisut. You can read more of the news here but your Thai will have to be pretty good!

Monday, May 05, 2008

BSG quoted in reports on Alibaba, Microsoft & Yahoo!

We may be somewhat inaccurately described as an IT consulting firm here (we focus on business media, information and events), but thanks anyway to the XFN for including our comments in this piece on the impact of Microsoft's break-up with Yahoo! on Alibaba:

"I believe the slump in its share price today has more to do with worries about its first-quarter earnings more than Microsoft's decision to drop its takeover bid for Yahoo," said Paul Woodward, principal at information technology consulting firm Business Strategies Group.

"I doubt if there is any direct link between its share price and the proposed Microsoft deal," he said.

"'s earnings depend to a large extent on world trade and with the slowing of the global economy it's understandable for investors to worry about its earnings," he said.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tracker newsletter adds PE analysis

We have been tracking the stocks of Asian listed B2B media companies since 2001. Today, we added to our Asian Business Media Tracker service a new feature; a weekly report on PE ratios of the companies listed in Asia which we follow.

This is published in the subscriber version of our weekly newsletter. A free version of the newsletter, without the PE tables and many other important features, can be obtained with a sign-up form on our website (at the bottom of the Tracker page....yes, it needs a clearer in progress).

Results of the first week's analysis show that the highest PE of the companies we track is Info Communication (the parent company of Paper Communication Exhibitions) at 137.3. This makes 5th placed Alibaba look quite modest at a mere 66.3. The 'cheapest' stock in our table is Tokyo-listed Xinhua Finance at a bargain 3.1.

Of the 23 stocks we track, 9 have no real PE as they are loss-making.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

BSG announces link with Cue Ball


BSG announces link with Cue Ball

Hong Kong, 10th April: Business Strategies Group Ltd. (BSG), Asia’s only consultancy focusing on the business media, information and events industries, is pleased to announce a new alliance with Cue Ball LLC, advisors and brokers to global media. BSG will assist Cue Ball in the licensing of its client's B2B properties throughout Asia.

For Cue Ball, BSG will represent the B2B properties, brands and services of Nielsen Business Media (, Vance Publishing Corporation ( and BowTie Inc. ( Other trade media groups could be added to BSG's licensing brokerage services in the future.

Cue Ball’s CEO John Cabell commented “the growing markets of Asia obviously represent very exciting opportunities to many international publishers. We are very pleased to be able to work with Paul Woodward and his team at BSG to bring together our portfolio of leading international publishers and their network of contacts across Asia”.

On behalf of BSG, Paul Woodward noted “as Asia’s publishers continue to build their B2B activities, there are many interesting new ways in which they can work together with the well-established publishers in North America and elsewhere in the world who are represented by Cue Ball. We look forward to developing this exciting new part of our business”.

B2B publishers in Asia who are interested in these opportunities should contact BSG CEO Paul Woodward or Director Kim Cheng for more information.

For the full announcement, see the BSG website at

For information, please contact:

Paul Woodward, Principal, Business Strategies Group Ltd.

Tel: +852 2525 6163

e-mail: paul at

John Cabell, CEO, Cue Ball LLC

Tel: +1 (505) 466-4826

e-mail: info at

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

BSG quoted in TradeShow Week article

TradeShow Week magazine in the US has put together a very thorough review of the possible impact of economic slowdown on the exhibitions business. Given the publciation's focus, it naturally concentrates on the US situation. It does, however, also report on the possible impact on China and Editor Michael Hart interview BSG's Paul Woodward, CMP Asia's Michael Duck and CIEC's Zheng Shijun for the article. Highlights:-

“We recorded 30-percent growth in 2006,” Woodward said. “It seems impossible to continue that in '07. If there is any slowdown, it's probably more of a maturing process. In other words, there might be 8- or 9-percent growth instead of 30 (percent).”

“If South China is going to get some slowdown in manufacturing because of a slowdown in orders from the U.S., then there could be something latent to care about,” Duck said.

The China Import & Export Fair, better known as the Canton Fair, takes place April 15-30 in Guangzhou, and sections of the China Sourcing Fair take place April 12-15 and April 20-23 at AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong.

“Those are entirely driven by exports,” Woodward said. “The attendance figures there will be very interesting to watch.”

“It's still a little early to tell,” Woodward said. “We're just getting into the main trade fair season.”

But go ahead and read the whole piece. It's very interesting.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

BSG releases report on Global Sources


Global Sources moves to consolidate position with large retail buyers

Hong Kong, 13th March: Business Strategies Group (BSG), the only consultancy in Asia specialising in B2B media and events, has released a new report profiling Global Sources. 2007 was a good year for Global Sources. Revenues grew by 16% reaching US$182 million. GAAP net income was US$24 million – down 15% from the 2006 figure primarily due to the write down of an acquisition and increasing non-cash compensation expenses.

The report also notes some key developments in Global Sources’ strategy in 2007.

  • The company continues to refine its strategic focus on large buyers by holding over 80 private sourcing events and strengthening the supplier verification services that they provide. BSG concludes that the successful execution of this strategy will be a key component of creating differentiation between Global Sources and the more SMEfocused
  • In November, Global Sources entered China’s online domestic sourcing market with the launch of BSG comments that this will put the company in head-to-head competition with’s Chinese language sourcing site. has a formidable head start and it will be interesting to see how much traction Global Sources can gain in 2008.
  • The report notes that Global Sources is committed to growing its presence in India in 2008. It has said that it will add sales staff, launch new exhibitions there and host private sourcing events which target large retail buyers.
BSG Principal, Paul Woodward, commented “we are expecting another eventful year for Global Sources – one of the most important companies we cover - as they focus resources on building up their presence in India as well as their domestic B2B sourcing service in mainland China. It will also be important to keep a close watch on their efforts to offer deeper supplier verification services which is a key component in their strategy to serve the larger buyer segment and differentiate their company from”

This BSG report was distributed on 12th March to BSG subscribers of its Asian Business Media Tracker service. The report features over 20 pages of information and analysis covering Global Sources key products, competitors, financial data and a review of the company’s overall corporate strategy. It is also available for purchase on a stand-alone basis.


New look BSG web site

The original BSG web site had been doing sterling service since early 2001. Without any major updates in design, it was getting a little hard to manage. So, not before time, my colleagues Kim and Wing have been working for a while on this new look site which is up today.

Nice job ladies!!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Delegates happy with BSG-managed seminar

UFI Press Release

The 170 delegates from 23 countries and regions meeting in Macau for UFI’s third Open Seminar in Asia have expressed high levels of satisfaction about the event. Focusing on the topic “New Exhibition Opportunities for Asia”, the seminar was hosted by the new Venetian Macau Resort & Hotel.

“This meeting is going from strength to strength” said UFI’s Managing Director, Vincent Gerard who was in Macau for the event. “We were wonderfully looked after by the Venetian which is a spectacular venue and the programme really seems to have struck a chord with delegates. The room was full from the first session to the last”. The meeting included some of the new features adopted in UFI’s European Seminar in Bilbao in June last year. These included “ask the expert” sessions, interactive panels and structured networking.

Speakers included Brand Events’ Chris Hughes and Media 10’s Lee Newton who both challenged delegates to think innovatively about how consumer events can evolve away from traditional exhibitions. A panel comprising Interads India’s Rajan Sharma, David Zhong of VNU Exhibitions Asia and Fiera Milano’s Shahin Javidi then gave some very different perspectives on the potential impact of joint ventures on exhibitions in Asia. This was clearly important to the audience as delegates voted 99% in favour of the view that more joint ventures are likely in the future in Asia.

Day Two saw Prof. Per Mollerup from Denmark wake delegates up with a very stimulating talk on “wayshowing”; his concept of how to reorganise venues and events so that they serve attendees various needs much better. CMP’s Michael Duck, David Zhong and Asia/Pacific Chapter Chairman Chen Xianjin then discussed various opportunities for regional trade fairs in China and India. All agreed that these would become increasingly important in the near future.

In the final session, Singapore’s Edward Liu was the expert who answered delegates questions about his views on operating in challenging markets. Vietnam was high on the mind of a number of the questioners. Finally, Pradeep Gupta, the CEO of Cybermedia from India, talked delegates through the different types of events which have emerged in the high tech sector.

As usual, delegates spent a good deal of time networking including using the Expostudio web-based appointments system and the social functions. These included an evening reception at the Macau TV Tower hosted by the Macau Trade & Investment Promotion Institute and a lunch hosted by the Macau Government Tourism Office.

Next year’s UFI Open Seminar in Asia will take place at the Kuala Lumpur Convention & Exhibition Centre on February 12 – 13.

Paul Woodward on B2B media trends

Thanks to Thomas Crampton for putting together this interview in the NextMedia studios. His full blog posting on this is here. We talked for 10 minutes about key B2B media trends including;

  1. The impact of manufacturing's move away from South China and Shanghai on B2B media;
  2. The increasing importance of regional markets within India and China;
  3. The impact of economic slowdown on the activities of major western B2B media companies in Asia, and;
  4. The ways in which print is being by-passed in direct-to-online launch strategies in Asia.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Final speaker confirmed for Macau

The 2008 UFI Open Seminar in Asia, managed by BSG, takes place next week in Macau. We're going to be looking at a variety of ideas for new types of events. I am really delighted with the quality of the group of speakers who will come together for this and have just confirmed the final participant in our panel on joint ventures.

Shaheen Javidi is the Chief Marketing Officer of Fiera Milano and will join David Zhong of VNU Exhibitions Asia and Rajan Sharma, Managing Director of Inter Ads India to discuss whether JVs still represent the most valuable future trend for business development. Delegates will be particularly keen to hear Javidi's insights following the recent confirmation of the joint venture for international business development between Fiera Milano and Deutsche Messe AG (Hanover).

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

BSG quoted in reports on MSFT/Yahoo! impact on Alibaba

We noted in our Asia Business Media blog yesterday that Microsoft's bid for Yahoo! was causing a fair bit of excitement in relation to One of the calls we received was from Xinhua Finance News who's piece is here:

" appears to be riding on the back of the big surge in Yahoo's share price following news of Microsoft's takeover bid for Yahoo," said Paul Woodward, principal at information technology consultancy firm Business Strategies Group.

"I don't think there is any case yet of anyone, such as Microsoft, showing interest in acquiring which is small relative to global players," he said.

I won't be going back on the Alibaba Christmas card list any time soon with later comments in the piece about valuations. Not that anybody takes too much notice of what I'm saying on this. I see the stock is up another almost 5% this morning.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Mail server troubles

BSG's mail server appears to have taken an early Chinese New Year holiday (along with the technician who runs it who is also AWOL). So, mail sent to us since Thursday evening Asia time is stuck somewhere.

In the meantime, please feel free to send me e-mail at paulw at or, for BSG in general, bsginfo at We'll let you all know once we're back online...and with a new mail server service provider!!

Update: All better now! Please feel free to use our e-mail addresses again. More robust systems on the way.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Press release on new BSG report


M&A activity in Asian B2B media sector increases by 75% in 2007

Hong Kong, 31st January: Business Strategies Group (BSG), the only consultancy in Asia specialising in B2B media and events, has released a new report tracking mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in Asia’s B2B media sector.

In 2007, the total value of M&A activity in this industry hit a new high of US$470 million. That is a 75% increase over the US$269 million recorded in 2006.

In 2007, there were 33 transactions – 50% more than the 22 deals in 2006. The average deal size was US$14.2 million which was an increase of 16% over the previous year. Significant deals in 2007 included:

· India-based Network 18’s purchase of 40% of Infomedia for US$45 million. The stake was acquired from ICICI, an Indian bank.
· Tarsus’ trade show-related acquisitions in India including its purchase of the India Label Show as well as a significant investment in Montgomery India Limited.
· The sale of a significant stake in Thailand’s IMPACT Arena to a foreign investor for an undisclosed sum. The convention and exhibition venue features of 136,000 square metres.
· Xinhua Financial was particularly active in 2007 closing four deals valued over US$90 million.

BSG is forecasting 37 deals worth US$650 million in 2008 – an increase of close to 40% over the 2007 figure. This substantial growth will be driven by deal flow from India and continued purchases by industry majors including Reed\ and CMP. is also expected to begin to play a significant role in the industry’s M&A activity in 2008. The company has indicated that it plans to use a significant portion of its IPO proceeds to acquire existing businesses.

BSG Principal, Paul Woodward, commented “we are forecasting 2008 to be another year of dramatic M&A growth in Asia’s B2B media industry. Continued economic growth in China and India and a potential slowdown in the U.S. will further heighten interest in the region’s B2B media firms. BSG anticipates that all eyes will be on and their war chest of US$1.7 billion.”

This BSG report was distributed on 29th January to BSG subscribers of its Asian Business Media Tracker service. It is also available for purchase on a stand-alone basis.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Carbon offsets

Running an international business is exciting and many of us love visiting different parts of the world as part of the work that we do. Over the past three years, I've averaged 63 flights and around 205,000km a year. Other colleagues are flying a fair bit, if not that far. I have been thinking for a while that this gives us big fat and not very green carbon footprint.

I was, therefore, pleased to see the Cathay Pacific/Dragonair flyGreener initiative. I am planning to use this service to pay an appropriate offset for all the travel that BSG staff and I do on business in 2008. I'm going to keep track of how much carbon we contribute and will post here on how we go about those offset.

Interesting to read the Economist's take on how poorly most companies are doing in this whole area of CSR, despite many good intentions.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Important new Tracker report released


BSG releases ranking of publicly-listed Asian B2B media companies

Hong Kong, 14th January: Business Strategies Group (BSG), the only consultancy in Asia specialising in B2B media and events, has released a new report covering all publicly-traded Asian B2B media companies. The report ranks 25 companies by revenue, gross profit and market capitalisation. It also provides profiles of all 25 companies featuring key financial metrics, the share price performance over the past 12 months and other data such as key shareholders and core business description.

In terms of revenues, Pico Far East, which provides marketing, logistical and advertising services to exhibition organizers, is the largest with revenues of US$231 million. is a new-comer to BSG’s ranking. The company debuts in the number two position with revenues of US$176 million in 2006. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) with revenues of nearly US$173 million for its publishing and exhibitions activities ranks third. Xinhua Finance (US$167 million) and Global Sources (US$156 million) round out the top five.

As of 8 January, the market capitalization of the top 25 companies ranges from’s US$16.8 billion down to Hong Kong-listed CCID Consulting which has a market capitalization of just US$7.7 million. Three companies have a market cap of over US$1 billion –, Baidu (US$11.4 billion) and Global Sources (US$1.1 billion). Surprisingly, Shenzhen-listed Zhejiang Netsun with revenues of just US$8 million ranks fourth with a market cap of US$604 million. NASDAQ-listed Xinhua Finance Media completes the top five with a market capitalization of US$383 million.

BSG Principal, Paul Woodward, commented “we expect the top five companies to continue to expand rapidly. Both and Xinhua Financial recently completed IPOs and BSG anticipates that both companies will pursue acquisitions as a means of growth. Meanwhile, Global Sources is also aggressively expanding its successful series of sourcing trade shows in new locations such as Dubai and India.”

This BSG report was distributed on 10th January to BSG subscribers of its Asian Business Media Tracker service. It is also available for purchase on a stand-alone basis.