The Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Industry Association (HKECIA) has released the latest in its series of annual surveys of the exhibition activities in Hong Kong, covering the calendar year 2017. 

The survey data shows that Hong Kong’s exhibition industry has performed well over the year despite fierce competition from new facilities in the region.  Key indicators of the survey, such as the number of exhibiting companies and the number of exhibition visitors, show encouraging growth year-on-year of 5.2% and 11.8% respectively.  The results reaffirm Hong Kong’s leading position as the Trade Fair Capital of Asia.

In 2017, Hong Kong hosted a total of 135 exhibitions occupying at least 2,000 square metres of gross floor area.  The 2017 HKECIA survey is based on the data collected from 78 respondents out of 87 “trade” and “trade and consumer” exhibitions.  A further 48 exhibitions of this size were held during the year that were purely “consumer” exhibitions, and were not included in the survey.

Although the total number of “trade” and “trade and consumer” exhibitions held in Hong Kong fell slightly from 2016 to 2017 (from 91 to 87, a 4.4% decline), this was offset by a 5.2% rise in the total number of exhibiting companies across all responding exhibitions, to over 72,000.  The number of exhibiting companies from two categories International and Mainland China performed especially well and grew by 12.6% and 20.2% respectively.

The rise in exhibiting companies was accompanied by a substantial rise in visitors, with visitor numbers for 2017 soaring by 11.8% to over 2,465,000 compared with the previous year. In fact, the numbers of visitor were up in all the key categories of Hong Kong, Regional, International and Mainland China, with the most significant rises being Regional visitors (up 27.7%) and Mainland Chinese visitors (up 29.6%).

From an economic perspective, total approximate stand revenues rose by almost 12% for the year to HK$3.8 billion, reflecting the rise in the number of exhibiting companies despite a small fall in the net square meterage. This data indicates continued strong demand for Hong Kong exhibition exposure on the part of exhibitors from near and far, and reinforces the continued importance of Hong Kong for companies and industries seeking high-level exposure in Asia.

Re-elected Chairman of the HKECIA, Mr Stuart Bailey, notes that Hong Kong clearly remains a favoured destination for exhibiting companies and visitors alike.  Although the survey data supports the view that the current economic environment is favourable for exhibition activities, Mr Bailey cautions against any form of complacency.  “The sign of a robust industry is that it is prepared for difficult times as well as good ones,” he says.  “With the Hong Kong exhibition industry on the precipice of change, now is the time for all our industry partners to come together and prepare for the challenges that we know we will face in the coming years.  We must have a strategy that clearly recognises the new future ahead.” 

While realistically acknowledging the tough competition facing Hong Kong from regional competitors, Mr Bailey is confident that Hong Kong’s skills and achievements give it capabilities that more recent competitors just cannot match, so long as the industry pulls together and collaborates closely with government.  “The latest survey shows our significant advantages,” he says, “and reinforces how much status Hong Kong has internationally as an exhibition destination.  Now it is time to see how we can build on this to tap into the changes ahead.  In particular, we view the Greater Bay Area as a huge opportunity.  It is essential that we work closely with our government and mainland partners to ensure that Hong Kong’s role as a key MICE hub is fully understood and recognised.  This in turn will help us maintain the momentum we have built up over many years.”