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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

COUNTRY PROFILEIssue 2 | 2012 www.48exhibition-world.netRegional developmentThe Pearl River Delta (PRD) in which Hong Kong sits, is an incredibly fast-growing and populous region. In 2011 the Chinese Central Government announced a vision for the area's development; the 'Outline of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan for the National Economic and Social Development of the People's Republic of China'. More than simply a snappy title, this plan envisions the creation of a dynamic pan-delta metropolis that will further expand one of China's most powerful regions of national and global economic growth. It will link Hong Kong to Macau and Zhuhai by an immense trans-delta bridge; to Shenzhen, across the border in China, by the Shenzhen Western Express high-speed rail line; and beyond that to Guangzhou via a new Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, taking passengers from Hong Kong to Guangzhou in 50 minutes, halving the current journey time.The new links will place all three economic powerhouses within 20 minutes reach of Hong Kong, affording the region tighter integration and seamless cross-border collaboration. Ongoing projects and development schemes in these cities include the Hengqin Development Zone in Zhuhai; the Qianhai Development Zone in Shenzhen; and the Nansha Development Zone in Guangzhou. But are these neighbouring destinations likely to take a slice from Hong Kong's pie? Cliff Wallace, managing director of HKCEC management fi rm Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Management, thinks not. ORGANISERS: HONG KONG HEAVYWEIGHTSDespite a strong presence from international organisers, two local outfi ts take the lion's share of events in Hong Kong. The resident organiser at HKCEC, as might be expected, is venue owner, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC). The company is responsible for the jewellery fairs produced early in the year, as well as the HK Book Fair, HK Gifts and Premium Fair and HK Fashion Week.The NASDAQ-listed Global Sources is the big local player at AsiaWorld-Expo, where it pitches itself as the primary facilitator of two-way trade with Greater China. The company staged 14 sourcing fairs in Hong Kong in October 2011, featuring 7,400 stands. Its electronics fairs were also the largest ever last year.To begin a company in Hong Kong you need one director, one Hong Kong dollar (minimum start-up capital) and one hour to register your company online. Getting set up on the mainland would take months."Galpin spends a lot of time identifying companies that should have a base in Hong Kong, and interestingly it's not just companies heading for China but companies heading for South East Asia that are showing interest. While Bangkok and Singapore present more obvious claims to the title of regional hub, he believes Hong Kong has the market and the prerequisite qualities of market infi ltration and accessibility.In addition, and contrary to other countries where the practice is more complicated, it is possible to extract the full stock of your company once the timing is right without penalty. Effectively here today, gone tomorrow if that's all part of your plan or - woe betide - the market spits you out. LeftPublic transport in Hong Kong is clean and effi cientBelowThe West Kowloon Cultural Development 41millionThe number of visitor arrivals to Hong Kong in 2011, an all-time high and 16.4% year-on-year increase