29 Mar 2004
The groundbreaking ceremony for AsiaWorld-Expo , destined to be Hong Kong's world-class venue for exhibitions and events, was held today at its prime site at Hong Kong International Airport, marking a significant milestone in developing Hong Kong as the "Trade Fair Capital of Asia".
Speaking at the ceremony, the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, congratulated all joint venture partners on this very important milestone. He said, "Today marks the beginning of the construction for a world-class centre that will contribute significantly to Hong Kong's position as Asia-Pacific's convention and exhibition hub."
"The Government will be investing $2 billion in the project, which is expected to generate economic benefits of more than $10 billion over a 25-year period, and create good employment opportunities for the local workforce.
"Hong Kong is the premier location for international exhibitions in the region. I am sure that AsiaWorld-Expo will take our convention and exhibition business to a new level of excellence, and it will cement our position as the trade fair capital and the best international business centre in the Asia Pacific," Mr Tsang said.
Strategically sited in close proximity to the heart of the Pearl River Delta and virtually a stone's throw from Hong Kong International Airport, AsiaWorld-Expo will be easily accessible from most of the destinations in the world. There will also be ferry services and land transport network linking the venue to key cities in the Pearl River Delta and Macau.
To better serve the needs of the exhibitors and visitors, the Airport Express line will be extended to AsiaWorld-Expo by the time of its opening in 2005. A new station concourse, integrated with AsiaWorld-Expo , will provide convenient access to the railway service to the central business district and the MTR network as a whole. It will take only 25 minutes to travel from Central to AsiaWorld-Expo .
Upon completion in December 2005, AsiaWorld-Expo will provide more than 70,000 square meters of rentable space, including 66,000 square meters of ground level, column-free exhibition hall space and an arena-style multi-purpose hall equipped with the highest acoustic qualities, modular seating systems and backstage facilities making it ideal for concerts, sport and entertainment events as well as major international conventions. The "Meeting and Conference Centre" on the second level offers a range of divisible conference and meeting rooms for seminars, breakout sessions, VIP rooms, luncheon or dinner functions.
Mr Mike Rowse, Chairman of AsiaWorld-Expo , said at the ceremony, "We are pleased with the progress of this exciting project. The new AsiaWorld-Expo will become one more attraction to international exhibitors, in addition to the many advantages Hong Kong offers. Hong Kong provides an excellent environment for hosting large-scale trade fairs and exhibitions. We have a sophisticated business infrastructure and telecommunications services, world-class transportation network, as well as a pool of experienced exhibition professionals and practitioners in related industries. We look forward to the continuous growth of the convention and exhibition industry in Hong Kong, which will benefit the Hong Kong economy as a whole."
Mr. Benoit de Ruffray, Managing Director of Dragages Hong Kong Limited, reported on the building progress. He said, "Construction work is one month ahead in the commencement of foundation work and therefore we are confident that the project will be completed on time for opening in December 2005."
Mr. Nicolas Borit, Chief Executive Officer, AsiaWorld-Expo Management Limited, the operating company responsible for all the bookings, day-to-day management and operations of the venue, also said that event bookings at AsiaWorld-Expo had exceeded expectations. He predicted that, as industries in the Pearl River Delta become more sophisticated, the demand for exhibition and event venues would definitely increase and bring in more opportunities for the entire region. Mr. Borit expressed confidence that AsiaWorld-Expo would help position Hong Kong as the "Trade Fair Capital of Asia".