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August 25, 2009

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Exhibition industry survives tough year

DESPITE the challenging global economic climate in the latter half of last year, Hong Kong's exhibition industry fared better than expected, with a relatively mild decrease in trade visitors during the year, according to an annual market survey released yesterday by the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association.

The survey said last year's trade visitors totaled more than 551,000, falling 9.4 percent compared to 2007.

"Given the extreme economic circumstances facing most economies in the second half of the year, the result shows Hong Kong remains an important global sourcing hub as other countries had drops of 10 to 25 percent," HKECIA said in the report.

The number of trade visitors from the Chinese mainland declined 3 percent on year to more than 170,000. The numbers of visitors from companies based in Australia and New Zealand reached 174,000, a 13 percent drop compared to 2007.

"These strong visitor numbers from the Chinese mainland are a powerful reminder that Hong Kong plays a pivotal role in connecting China to the rest of the world," the report said.

The report also said the space occupied by exhibitors in 2008 declined 2.44 percent compared to 2007. The number of exhibitions occupying a gross area of more than 1,819 square meters increased 1.05 percent to 96 last year.

"These survey findings are an encouraging reminder that Hong Kong remains Asia's premier sourcing hub and a truly global marketplace," said Stanley Chu, HKECIA chairman, adding that with government and industry support, he was confident the industry would exit the current recession and once again take the lead as a major engine of economic growth.


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