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Exhibition World | Feature272010 look promising: Taiwan has moved up three spots toNo.32 in the ICCA country rankings and the capital Taipei isranked seventh among Asia's cities for the number of largequalifying association conventions held. The massiveComputex Taipei and Taipei Cycle exhibitions andconventions continue to grow as global leaders in their fields. Delegations from Shanghai's World Expo and theorganiser of the Taipei International Flora Expo sharedinsights into their business strategies at this year's AsianMICE Forum, which took as its main theme: destinationmarketing through mega events.Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs' most recent fullyear statistics for 2008 put the country's MICE marketoutput at NT$25.74bn (US$830m), a sector now supportingnearly 10,000 jobs. Key presentations at the Asian MICE Forum came fromUBM's senior vice-president Christopher Eve, the AsianFederation of Exhibition and Convention Associations(AFECA) president, Eduard Liu, and UFI's regionalmanager for Asia/Pacific, Mark Cochrane, among others.TAITRA's executive director of its exhibition department,Jeremy Horng, told EWthat his company had organised 30shows over the past year."TAITRA's top six shows are actually growing," he said,"as Taiwan is able to provide a complete products supplychain. Our USP is 40 years' experience combined withbeing able to answer the big question from potentialexhibitors looking for return on investment."Using TAITRA's Computex Taipei show as an example,Horng said part of the TAITRA organizing success wasdown to introducing one-on-one procurement meetings in2004. "We now offer more than 3,000 such meetings for ourexhibitors and visitors at Computex Taipei. Together withhis deputy, Brian Lee, Horng is also campaigning for moreexhibition space in Taiwan. Currently TAITRA has100,000sqm of space under its management.Flora ExpoOne of the big forum discussion was Taiwan's investmentin its bid to host the Taipei International Flora Exposition.The Flora Expo cost the local government more thanUS$150m to stage and three years in preparation. The show runs from 6 November until April 2011, and willbe spread over 92 hectares, 70 of which will be covered byfloral landscapes. The city mayor Hau Lung-Bin is clearly hoping for apolitical dividend on the big investment. "It will be the firstsuch internationally recognised exposition to take place inour city, and the seventh of its kind to take place in Asia,"he said. "We have been hard at work upgrading ourinfrastructure and improving our services, transformingTaipei into a city of gardens. Flora Expo has 14 exhibition halls and occupies groundsstretching east from Yuanshan MRT station. Above all, theevent symbolises the bloom in relations between Taiwanand the Chinese mainland, with Taipei passing the baton onto Xian in China, which will host Flora Expo from April toOctober 2011.Identity crisisTaiwan has much going for its exhibition industry, not leastthe backing of a Government MICE AdvancementProgramme. However, the feeling at Exco and AMF wasthat this was a state still seeking out a strategy forpositioning itself. One recommendation coming in loud and clear fromforum participants and MICE industry professionals wasthat a national convention bureau was needed. At present,the functions associated with such bureaus are beingfulfilled variously by different Government departmentsand independent organisations. Taiwan has a highly developed manufacturing base,but its MICE offer is not yet first rate and, therefore, itsbusiness tourism chiefs shy away from going head tohead with Hong Kong and Singapore in presentingthemselves as the full premium package; but neither doesthe island have the strong leisure business and low pricesto be found in Thailand.Clearly, the years in the political wilderness have nothelped this identity crisis, but a new attitude of positiveengagement, allied to fast improving infrastructure andstrong manufacturing sectors to build new shows around,gives every cause for optimism that Taipei is on the righttrade show track.THE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW.EXHIBITION-WORLD.NET| Nov/Dec 2010|TAITRA's Brian LeeOne of the 236 stands at this year's Exco event