Thursday, December 17, 2009

Check out details now of UFI Open Seminar in Asia programme

This event, as always, managed by BSG for UFI is looking very exciting this year in Taipei. We're expecting a big audience and some exciting speakers on the subject of "Innovation for Growth". Click on the postcard here to go to the programme and registration details:

Keep an eye out for the Twitter hashtag #ufitaipei for regular updates on speakers and the programme.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TAITRA: Asian MICE Forum 2009 to Be Opened on 19th November

I'm going to be heading to Taipei on Thursday evening from Beijing to attend this event wearing my UFI 'hat': TAITRA: Asian MICE Forum 2009 to Be Opened on 19th November

It looks as though there will be a good cross-section of the business events industry represented with ICCA, UFI, SITE and IAEE all present.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New BSG Leadership Plans Announced

Hong Kong, 23rd October 2009: Business Strategies Group Ltd. (BSG), Asia’s leading consultants to the business media and events industry, has announced new management plans for 2010 and beyond.

From 1st January 2010, BSG founder Paul Woodward will become chairman of the company with Mark Cochrane taking on the role of Managing Director. They will lead the business together until 1st July when Mr. Woodward leaves Asia to take on the full time position of Managing Director of UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry. At that point, Mr. Woodward will become non-executive chairman of BSG and Mr. Cochrane will assume overall management responsibility for the company.

Mr. Cochrane has been based in Hong Kong for 12 years. Prior to joining BSG in 2006, he worked for Global Sources and the Gartner Group in a variety of roles. A graduate of Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management, Mr. Cochrane has worked on a wide range of BSG’s consulting projects and, for the past three years, has been the primary author of the company’s annual study, “Trade Fairs in Asia.”

Commenting on the transition, Mr. Woodward said “We are all delighted that Mark will be stepping into this leadership role to take BSG forward into its second decade of business. The need which we identified back in 2000 when the company was formed for high quality, reliable information and advice on the business media industry in Asia still very much exists today. Mark’s experience means that he is very well positioned to provide what our clients need in the future.”

Regarding his new role, Mr. Cochrane said, “As Asia continues to be a growth centre, this is an exciting time to be managing BSG as it further strengthens its position as a market leader. I look forward to continuing to build on BSG’s long track record of providing clients with the advice and data that they need to successfully navigate change in this fast-growing industry.”

Friday, October 09, 2009

Nice piece from Shangri-La newsletter has me looking forward to our Taipei seminar

Taipei's a great city and this piece from Shangri-La hotels has me looking forward to being there in March next year for our UFI Open Seminar in Asia (4 - 5 March...more details soon on UFI web site):

Shared via AddThis

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

HKTDC links to BSG news

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council's website is a very rich resource for companies wishing to trade with Asia. As well as listings and company information, it includes all kinds of business and economic research. Some of this is undertaken by the TDC's own, excellent research department and other items come from third party research and consulting firms including BSG.

Thanks to Marsha Ho at Edelman in Hong Kong for pointing out to us this piece which quotes a recent BSG Tracker Service report on the Impact of the Economic crises on the Asia B2B events industry.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

New UFI/BSG research reports continued growth in Asia

Trade fair market in Asia grows by 8.7% in 2008 according to UFI report
Issued: Thursday, 30th June, 2009

June 30, 2009 – Paris/Hong Kong: The trade fair industry in Asia expanded by 8.7% in 2008 despite the weakening global economic environment according to the fifth edition of UFI’s annual report on the trade fair market in Asia. Net area sold by organisers in Asia reached a total of 14.3 million m2 The research was once again undertaken for UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, by Business Strategies Group (BSG) in Hong Kong.

China’s growth continues to outpace the rest of the region. It is the largest market in the region in terms of space sold and industry revenues. Year-on-year, net square metres sold in China grew by 14% outperforming the regional average of 8.7%. Over 7.6 million m2 were sold in China in 2008 – accounting for 53% of 14.3 million m2 sold across Asia. The second largest market, Japan, continues to lose ground to China. The Japanese market shrank by more than 6% last year with 2.0 million m2 sold.

A number of much smaller markets grew faster than China last year. Space sold in Macau expanded by 69% on the back of the opening of the new venue at the Venetian. Taiwan grew by 26% and Vietnam by 24% in terms of square metres sold which was also primarily driven by additional, new capacity in both markets.

Revenues from trade fairs in Asia increased from US$3.25 billion in 2007 to US$3.45 billion last year – an rise of just over 6%, down markedly from the 26% revenue growth recorded in 2007. China outperformed all of the top five largest markets (measured by revenues) by a wide margin posting a 20% increase in revenues for a total of US$1.33 billion.

This 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 2008 as well as forecasts and commentary on key trends in each market.

Vincent Gérard, UFI Managing Director, commented, “2008 was another noteworthy year for the exhibition industry in Asia. Despite a challenging economic environment, space sales in the region as a whole grew by close to 9%. Seven different markets posted double digit growth – and of those four grew by more than 20%. Even this difficult year should be no exception with major markets forecast to continue expanding and several exciting new venues coming online by the end of 2009.”

As an added-value service, each UFI member will be entitled to receive a four 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, “Asia continues to be one of the most vital and exciting exhibition markets in the world. Despite the global economic recession, in 2009 BSG is still forecasting growth in several of the region’s key exhibition markets including China and India. The pace of change here has been nothing short of remarkable. In 2003, there were 101 venues in the region and space sales were just 5.7 million m2. By the end of this year, Asia will be home to 162 venues generating space sales of 14.6 million m2.”

For more information on this study, please contact UFI in Asia at:
UFI Asia/Pacific Office 1101, Wilson House 19, Wyndham Street Central, Hong Kong
Tel : +852 2525 6129
Fax: +852 2525 6171

Friday, May 29, 2009

BSG quoted by TCEB

BSG CEO Paul Woodward has been quoted by the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau, one of BSG's key clients, in a press release about exhibitions in Thailand. When talking about awareness of Thailand in Hong Kong and China, he says:

In Hong Kong there is a pretty high level of awareness of what Thailand has to offer. The levels of knowledge in China are still developing and we are working hard to help people there realize that Thailand is a good business base as well as a leisure travel destination for which it is currently most famous. Once people have seen the quality of the infrastructure in Thailand and international standard services to support it, they are very enthusiastic about the opportunities in the country.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Green shoots in Asia?

UFI Info, the e-newsletter of UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, has just published an opinion piece by BSG founder Paul Woodward talking about early signs of recovery in Asia's trade fair industry:

I will be really interested to see the results of round
two of UFI’s barometer research. If I were a betting
man (which I am not), I’d place a decent wager on the
general mood being better than when UFI first carried
out this research early in the year.

Yes, the economic news is still quite mixed and au-
gust organisations such as the IMF are warning us
that things may be even worse than they feared.
Worthy journals like the Economist are cautioning us
against being too excited by the 'green shoots' which
people are reporting.

I am not an economist. But every business person I'm
talking to right now is seeing those green shoots.
They accept that 2009 won’t be a great year, but it is
now looking, in Asia at least, as though it just might
not be as bad as they had feared.

There are some encouraging signs emerging. After a
series of very disturbing reports about motor shows
around the world, for example, Auto Shanghai (an
UFI Approved Event) reported numbers up on all
measures and attracted huge international attention.
This is partly because China's car market is now big-
ger than that of the US. Porsche used the event to
launch a car for the first time outside Germany or the
US. The CEOs of many of the world's car companies
were there. For those of us in the trade fair business,
we were not surprised to see that the car industry
chose an exhibition as it tried to restart its economic

In Hong Kong, the large Spring sourcing shows
have been better than expected. The January
fairs were relatively quiet, but the early April
events, to the surprise of some, were bigger
and, for at least some of the events, visitor num-
bers were up by 10%. Although some of the
other big sourcing fairs in the region were still
struggling to attract visitors in the usual num-
bers, factory owners in South China are report-
ing that orders are beginning to pick back up.
The buyers clearly need good quality trade fairs
to locate next season’s products.

In Asia at least, the general economic news is
looking up. Just last week, two respected banks
(there are still a few) upgraded their forecasts
for China. They are now expecting 7.5 to 8%
GDP growth this year. Korea just reported first
quarter growth, albeit very slim growth, when all
had expected recession. Taiwan’s March ex-
ports were down, but much less than the pundits
had been expecting.

The good news for UFI members is that the fairs
supporting these mini revivals which are doing
best are those which lead their field. There is a
clear flight to quality and events which are new
or number 3 or 4 in their field continue to strug-
gle. UFI Approved Events by definition are well-
established and are usually the leaders in their
field. Now, more than ever, the UFI Approved
Events are proving their worth in this difficult, but
not impossible market.
BSG manages the Asia/Pacific office of UFI.

Monday, March 30, 2009

BSG issues report on crisis and B2B in Asia


Impact of global economic crisis on Asia’s B2B media industry: Online revenues holding up well, exhibitions and publishing weakening

Hong Kong, 30th March: Business Strategies Group (BSG), the only consultancy in Asia specialising in B2B media and events, has released a new report analysing the impact of the global economic crisis on the Asian B2B media industry.

Key players including, Global Sources and CMP Asia have all weathered the economic crisis quite well so far.’s 2008 revenues increased 39% year-on-year. Global Sources’ revenues came within guidance increasing by 14% and CMP Asia’s revenues jumped by 19% in 2008.

The leading companies have reacted to the economic crisis with a variety of initiatives and strategies, but there are some common themes.

There is an emphasis on new markets to generate alternative sources of growth. Both Global Sources and allocated additional resources to India in 2008. is also making a concerted effort to diversify its paid supplier base outside of China – including more markets in Europe.

Both and Global Sources have restructured their core online offerings to create lower cost products. Global Sources has discontinued a non-core business and has focused more resources on big buyers services (i.e. Private Sourcing Events).

In a show of confidence, both Global Sources and have repurchased shares. has board approval to repurchase up to US$258 million worth of shares on the open market. Global Sources bought back US$50 million worth of shares through a tender offer.

Business events, primarily sourcing exhibitions, have held up well until now, but most organisers are expecting 2009 to result in a significant drop in business. Consequently, governments around the region have launched a number of initiatives and schemes to boost the sector.

The Hong Kong government earmarked HK$150 million (US$19.4 million) to promote Hong Kong’s conventions and exhibitions business overseas and is also considering significantly expanding the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. The Hong Kong Tourism Board set up a new team, “Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong” (MEHK), to support the industry.

Singapore has established a US$60 million fund to boost tourism including the MICE and business travel sectors. The Singapore Expo venue is undergoing a facility upgrade. The Media Development Authority in Singapore has committed US$60 million to support its media sector.

Taiwan, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia have launched comparable efforts to support their MICE industry through subsidies, promotional activities and venues expansion projects.

BSG Principal, Paul Woodward, commented, “We are anticipating a challenging, but eventful year in Asia’s B2B media industry. 2009 will undoubtedly be a down year for the exhibition business, but the impact on the B2B online sector is still an unknown. Global Sources’ 2008 online revenues increased by 24% and’s by 39%, but the key question is: how will their revamped online products will hold up this year.”

This BSG report was distributed on 26th March to BSG subscribers of its Asian Business Media Tracker service. The report features over 30 pages of information and analysis covering the impact of the economic crisis on key B2B media companies including Global Sources, CMP Asia (now UBM Asia), and the HKTDC as well as a detailed review of the activities of governments across Asia. The report is also available for purchase on a stand-alone basis.

For information, please contact:

Paul Woodward, Principal, Business Strategies Group Ltd.
Tel: +852 2525 6163
e-mail: paul at

Distributed through Edelman on behalf of Business Strategies Group Ltd.

Marsha Ho
Telephone: 852 2837 4705
Fax: 852 2804 1303
Email: marsha.ho at

Thursday, March 26, 2009

ABM quotes BSG on Asia

ABM, the Global Association of Business Information Companies (née American Business Media) has published some thoughts on Asia and the crisis from BSG's Paul Woodward in its Global Industry Insights e-newsletter. We say:

Given the number of resumés arriving in Hong Kong from the US, it would appear that there is some optimism that Asia can provide some reprieve from the worst of the downturn. The truth is more mixed. Research Business Strategies Group (BSG) has been preparing suggests that, while the region has certainly not escaped the downturn, there are some bright spots.
In the same edition, Neal Vitale of 1105 Media talks about China. he says:

In the January edition of ABM's Global Industry Insights, Tom Gorman of Fortune China noted that China will offer "solid, if slower, growth for well-managed media businesses with strong brands." At 1105 Media, we couldn't agree more.
ABM is gearing up for what it is calling its first Global B2B Day during its spring meeting at Amelia Island in Florida in early May.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


One of our jobs is to track trends which may affect the businesses of our clients in B2B media companies in the next year or so. It is clear that Twitter, love it or hate it, has reached a critical mass in the past few months and engaged the consciousness of business people and particularly media business people.

Once dear old Gary Trudeau of Doonesbury picks up on a tech trend - he's no spring chicken you know - you know its so mainstream that it may almost be over. However, we press on.

The only way to work out what all this means is to use it. So, I have started twittering at pwoodwardhk. Do follow me there if you're interested. I'm learning that people are increasingly using it less to post on the colour of their socks (mine are red by the way), but to provide links to tidbits of news and insight relevant to their particular interests.

I just posted on Jack Ma's interview with the New York Times:

#Alibaba's Jack Ma tells New York Times that recession will last 3 - 5 years:

I can't promise that some of it won't be trivial, but I can promise that I'm trying to work out whether this does any more for a business than burn up staff time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

UFI Open Seminar in Asia 2009 opens in KL with record crowd

This event is managed on behalf of UFI by the Business Strategies Group team:

UFI Open Seminar in Kuala Lumpur – A record audience

Paris/Kuala Lumpur, 12 February 2009: A record 208 delegates from 26 countries and regions have gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this week for UFI’s annual Open Seminar in Asia. The focus of the meeting, hosted by the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, is "Ten Steps to Better Exhibitions" with a group of experts from around the world providing practical tips on how to run exhibitions in a time of crisis.

UFI Managing Director, Vincent Gérard, speaking in Malaysia, said “we are more than delighted that, in this challenging economic time, such a strong group of our UFI members as well as non-members from around the region has chosen to come together in Kuala Lumpur to exchange ideas on how they can protect and continue to build-up their businesses. It’s a real affirmation of the value UFI can provide in sharing information and networking opportunities to the industry. At the same time, a successful gathering like this really promotes the value of face-to-face events”.

Peter Brokenshire, General Manager of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, said “The Centre is honoured to be the host venue for the UFI Open Seminar in Asia 2009. With strong support from Malaysian organisations, this event marks an excellent opportunity for industry professionals to experience first-hand what Kuala Lumpur city has to offer and the Centre’s world-class facilities, the team’s professional and friendly service and of course, the gastronomic delights specially prepared by our culinary brigade of 51 chefs during the event”.

The UFI Open Seminar in Asia 2009 is strongly supported by a number of important Malaysian organisations which 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.

Day one speakers at the event include Byung-Kwan Bae, President & CEO, COEX, Korea, Stanley Chu, Chairman, Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd and UFI Asia Pacific Chapter First Vice Chairman from Hong Kong, Peter Brokenshire, Nat Wang, President, Agility Fairs & Events Logistics Pte Ltd, Singapore, and, bringing a perspective on sales from outside the industry, Anthony Solimini, Author of "Trust, Comfort, Confidence - Three words that will change the way you sell".

Following an evening reception jointly hosted by Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau
(MyCEB) and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, day two speakers include Gunnar Heinrich, Managing Partner, adventics GmbH, Germany, Glenn Hansen, President and CEO, BPA Worldwide, and Skip Cox, President and CEO, Exhibit Surveys, Inc, USA, Michael Duck, Senior Vice President, CMP Asia Ltd and Hanson Toh, Han-Son, Malaysia Country Consultant, Google, Inc., Malaysia. The final session will bring together a panel of exhibitors to discuss what they need from the exhibitions they use today and tomorrow.

Other networking sessions include a lunch on Friday 13th sponsored by MATRADE, while a post-seminar guided tour of Kuala Lumpur is sponsored by AOS Conventions & Events Sdn Bhd.

Next year’s UFI Open Seminar in Asia 2010, to be hosted by TAITRA, will take place at the Taipei World Trade Centre on March 4 - 5.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The impact of recession

BSG Principal Paul Woodward is quoted today in Telecom Asia piece about the impact of the economic slowdown on conferences and other business events:

Paul Woodward, Asia-Pacific manager of exhibitions industry group UFI, said economic downturns usually hit smaller and niche events the hardest.

“What we normally see during a crisis is that big, major events hold up reasonably well. That applies across most sectors,” he said.

“People tend to pull their marketing and travel budgets from smaller events that are a bit more marginal.”

He said events in Asian consumer businesses, such as toys and consumer electronics, looked to be feeling the biggest impact of the recession.