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COUNTRY Issue 2 | 201247A MAJOR ICC FOR HONG KONG?If one area remains underserved in Hong Kong, it is the ability to cater for the giant roaming international conferences increasingly accompanied by international exhibitions. An International Convention Centre (ICC) would be a major boon to the Hong Kong exhibition scene.AsiaWorld-Expo can provide seating for 13,500 at the AsiaWorld-Arena, but it's not a purpose-built conference venue. And while the HKCEC 's location in the city makes it an attractive site for an international convention centre, there simply isn't space on Hong Kong Island. "We've long maintained the need for an ICC," says the HKCEC's Cliff Wallace. "We've plenty of events we want to attract to HK and an ICC would be key to winning them. Delegates and buyers come to a city because of its amenities, and Hong Kong has them all. An ICC, located somewhere in the harbour, would be a major marketing tool for us."One possible solution lies just across Victoria Harbour from the HKCEC. A long-mooted development titled the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), could be the answer. A multi-purpose concert hall could, in theory, serve as an ICC, observers claim.However the HKECIA's Daniel Cheung, who sits on the WKCD advisory board, says despite talks, such a multi-purpose venue remains purely a propect.Far from drawing attention from Hong Kong, the surrounding region's increased wealth is having a positive impact at the city's exhibition turnstiles, not only in terms of the number of regional companies represented on the show fl oor.Hong Kong's profi leInvest HK is a quasi-governmental organisation responsible for bringing new business to Hong Kong. Director general of investment promotion Simon Galpin, a director at AWE, says companies of all sizes are attracted to Hong Kong because of the security, protection of intellectual property rights including recourse through established international courts, and low tax rates. All factors that impact the full spectrum of companies from the very large to very small. "One of the misconceptions about Hong Kong is that we're only for big buyers," says Galpin. "But actually it's for SMEs and microenterprises. visitors accounted for almost 40 per cent of total international exhibition visitor expenditure, up from 31 per cent the previous year. Average per-visit retail spend by mainland China visitors to Hong Kong rose dramatically in 2010 to HK$10,900. This is more than double the fi gure for the next biggest spender, Taiwan, and dwarfs that spent by visitors from Europe, Africa and the Middle East at HK$4,700 and those from the Americas, who parted with HK$3,100 on average, per visit.LeftCulinary delights at the Tai O fi shing villageAboveSkyscrapers loom above Victoria Park