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.