Interview| Exhibition World18| February 2011| Group MD of Conference and ExhibitionManagement Services, and the SingaporeAssociation of Convention and ExhibitionOrganisers and Suppliers Edward Liu steps down aspresident of SACEOS in April. Here he speaks to EWabout his goals for the association, his presidency atAFECA, his plans to set up a Singapore MICE allianceand his own future.How did you get into the international exhibitionsindustry? My entry into the exhibition industry was in part, due tomy one-year journalistic stint in London in the mid 1970s.While working as a correspondent for the Straits TimesinSingapore, I had visited the Daily MailIdeal Home Showon two occasions. The exhibition left an indelibleimpression on me. Therefore, after having spent eightyears in journalism by 1977, I decided to take the plungeinto the commercial world, and began publishing awoman's magazine modeled after Miss London! It was adisaster, as we could not secure sufficient advertising tosustain it. In a sense, I was ahead of my time! With lossesstacking up, I quickly switched to organising exhibitionsand launched Homemakers - a model of the Daily MailIdeal Home in Singapore in 1979. That was the baptismof fire for my entry into the world of exhibitions.What is SACEOS's mission this year? Our mission for this year is to implement the SACEOSStrategic Plan 2020 which has nine strategic initiatives,including closer collaboration with the relevantgovernment agencies and other trade associations; theenhancement of our Singapore MICE branding throughmore international cooperation and networking;THE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW.EXHIBITION-WORLD.NETGoing global in AsiaEWspeaks to outgoing SACEOS president Edward Liu about his thoughts on the'Asianisation of the international exhibition sector', his plans for the numerousassociations he presides over, and his love for Singapore's Jaguars.
THE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW.EXHIBITION-WORLD.NET19Exhibition World | Interviewconducting more educational and training courses tofurther upgrade professionalism in the MICE industry;and the development of an ecosystem for thesustenance of our MICE industry in Singapore. What are the key challenges that face SACEOS in thenext 12 months? As stated above, the challenges would be to execute theStrategic Plan in the coming year. In particular, we aim toestablish a Singapore MICE Alliance to create a platformand voice for the MICE industry in the private sector; aspart of the ecosystem to provide sustainability to theindustry. Another key challenge would be to find a newteam of younger captains of industry to lead ourSingapore MICE association as I will be stepping down inApril, after serving as president for the past four years.What objectives are you working on this year? My personal objectives are to help establish theSingapore MICE Alliance, which has received positiveresponse from related associations to-date. It is also myobjective to create a more structured Annual GeneralMeeting with a concurrent conference component toprovide a regional networking opportunity for SACEOSmembers with our counterparts from the AsianFederation of Exhibition and Convention Associations(AFECA). My final objective is to help launch a diplomaor degree programme with a recognised university oreducational institution, as part of our ContinuingEducation and Training (CET) initiatives.How are you benefiting from your partnership withUFI? What ongoing projects are in place? UFI is a well established and recognised internationalassociation for the global exhibition industry, and wewere delighted and honoured to have hosted the recent77th UFI Congress in Singapore. As an association,SACEOS is an active member of UFI and our membersparticipate in many of its activities and programmes,including contributions and feedback to the Barometersurvey. UFI leaders are often invited to various judgingpanels being organised by the Singapore Tourism Board, which promotes awards events for the MICE industry in Singapore.| February 2011|Have you formed partnerships with any othernational or international associations recently? If so,why? SACEOS is one of the seven founding members of theAsian Federation of Exhibition and ConventionAssociations (AFECA) in 2005. Headquartered inSingapore, AFECA now boasts 23 associations and 45corporations.Our vision and mission is to create a platform fororganisers in Asia to network and to forge businessrelationships amongst members. We also aim to upgradethe professionalism of our members by conducting CETprogrammes, such as the master class for seniormanagement personnel in Asia.Are there any countries or regions that you areworking with in particular? As one of the longest established associations in Asia,members of SACEOS are pioneers in the organisation ofconventions and exhibitions in the region. It has alsodeveloped excellent continuing education and trainingmodules for its members since 1990. Consequently,SACEOS has been invited by our fellow associations inAsia to hold our PCM and PEM programmes in India,Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia and Taiwan.On a personal level, I have been active in China, India,Korea and Taiwan and throughout Southeast Asiapromoting closer collaboration among members withinthe AFECA family of MICE organisers and suppliers. Inrecognition of my efforts, the China Council for thePromotion of International Trade (CCPIT) headquarters inBeijing has appointed me as an exhibition industryadvisor since 2005. Subsequently, the ChongqingConvention and Exhibition Bureau has also invited me asan honorary advisor since 2009. In particular, I havebeen assisting the CCPIT HQ in organising the mostimportant annual CEFCO event in China in the pastseven editions.Have you formed any joint ventures with otherinternational organisers? In line with our vision of closer cooperation amongmembers of AFECA, my company partners with ChanChao International of Taiwan to organise the IGATEXseries of garment and textile machinery exhibitions inIndia and Pakistan over the past decade. In addition, wealso cooperated with Services International of India andRoyalindo of Indonesia to organise Safety and SecurityIndonesia and the International Fire, Rescue andEmergency Equipment exhibition in Jakarta lastDecember. We are constantly exploring opportunities towork with fellow members of AFECA in Asia.Are there any new technologies you are backing, orkeen to see work for international exhibitionorganisers and venues? Every organiser the world over is leaving no stoneunturned to develop or acquire the most effective