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31 May 2004

AsiaWorld-Expo receives encouraging response from international exhibition

AsiaWorld-Expo, the new international exhibition centre at the Hong Kong International Airport, today announced extensive bookings for 2006 onwards, demonstrating a very favourable response from the international exhibition community.

Guests of honour Mr. John Tsang, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr. Mike Rowse, Chairman of AsiaWorld-Expo and Director-General of Investment Promotion at Invest Hong Kong and Ms. Clara Chong, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board joined AsiaWorld-Expo at the press conference.

"With the positive and overwhelming response we received from the local and international exhibition and event organising community, we are delighted that AsiaWorld-Expo is strengthening Hong Kong's position as Asia's leading trade fair hub," said Mr. Nicolas Borit, Chief Executive Officer of AsiaWorld-Expo Management Limited.

"The fact that AsiaWorld-Expo will generate an operating profit in its first full year of operation in 2006 is simply a win-win situation for us, the exhibition industry and Hong Kong's economy. These results have surpassed all our previous business forecasts. We want to express our sincere gratitude to many exhibition organisers who voted strongly for AsiaWorld-Expo and for Hong Kong," added Mr. Borit.

"We have already confirmed twelve (12) major international exhibitions for 2006, a majority of which will become recurring annual events at AsiaWorld-Expo. We are pleased to have one of these organisers, the Nasdaq listed Global Sources Ltd join us today. Global Sources will launch its major significant tradeshows, that will take all the space of AsiaWorld-Expo in Spring and Fall 2006. The WorldWide Retail Exchange (WWRE), which represents 64 of the world's largest retailers, such as AEON, Albertsons, Best Buy, El Corte Ingles, MARKANT, RadioShack, etc, with combined annual sales of US$900 billion, has endorsed the new China Sourcing Fairs in Hong Kong. It is expected that the China Sourcing Fairs, together with the other new trade shows to be held at AsiaWorld-Expo, will bring in many new international exhibitors and buyers to Hong Kong. We are also in the process of considering many other expressions of interest for staging trade exhibitions and public events at AsiaWorld-Expo -- including those catering to the needs from light to heavy industries," continued Mr. Borit.

Mr. Tsang said, "The excellent response to AsiaWorld-Expo so far and favourable projections for the future have enhanced Hong Kong's position as the premier location for international exhibitions and events in the region."

"AsiaWorld-Expo will complement our outstanding facilities at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and, together, they will ensure that Hong Kong has top quality facilities fully capable of staging a wide range of exhibitions and events," Mr. Tsang added.

Mr. Rowse said, " AsiaWorld-Expo is one of the most important investments made by the Government in recent years. This demonstrates the Government's commitment to retaining and expanding Hong Kong's leading role as the international centre for exhibitions and conventions. Moreover, the expanded exhibition and convention industry in Hong Kong will play an important role in enhancing the city's position as the best international trading hub for doing business in Mainland China and the rest of the world."

A report announced today by international research company Business Strategies Group (BSG), highlights the substantial economic contributions of AsiaWorld-Expo . According to the research report, AsiaWorld-Expo will contribute over HK$2.8 billion in economic benefits to Hong Kong in its first full year of operation (2006) -- far exceeding all previous expert forecasts. A previous economic forecast projected that the total economic benefits of the project over 25 years would be at HK$10 billion.

BSG, which has previously undertaken research work for the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association (HKECIA), anticipates that the new venue will generate as many as 350 jobs in the exhibition industry directly and an additional 2,200 in related industries such as hotels, restaurants, retail and transport.

Ms. Clara Chong, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said that the Board has thrown its full support behind the development of AsiaWorld-Expo . " AsiaWorld-Expo will offer even greater opportunities to attract new business, and cement Hong Kong's reputation as Asia's premier location for international conventions and exhibitions," she said.

Ms. Chong added that this exciting new facility would be joined by a host of major new additions to Hong Kong's tourism infrastructure in late 2005 or early 2006. "All of these exciting new attractions will help us encourage convention and trade show visitors to extend their stay - and, better still, to bring their families so they can all experience the amazing variety that Hong Kong will have to offer."

"We are pleased to report that AsiaWorld-Expo will contribute an economic return amounting to over HK$2.8 billion in our first year of operation in 2006 alone. The billions of dollars each year thereafter, generated by AsiaWorld-Expo , will be bonuses for the economy of Hong Kong," said Mr. Allen Ha, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of AsiaWorld-Expo Management Limited.

AsiaWorld-Expo has received a number of messages from the international exhibition community including:

Mr Vincent Gerard, Managing Director of UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry was quoted as saying: "The economic benefits of trade shows go far beyond off-the-floor sales figures. The assessment estimates provided by BSG's analysis clearly indicate that AsiaWorld-Expo will contribute significantly to regional revenues and employment."

China Association for Exhibition Center (CAEC): "The emergence of AsiaWorld-Expo is in itself a truly important event for the exhibition industry both in China and internationally!K We are very pleased with and proud of the substantial economic benefits that AsiaWorld-Expo contributes to Hong Kong's economy within such a short period of time!K" (translation)

XM - Associated Exhibition Organisers based in Europe: "We are sure that AsiaWorld-Expo will rank among the world's top exhibition venues. The generation of an enormous economic spinoff (in HK$ Billions) in the very first year is an international success for Hong Kong. This is an achievement which is difficult to match."

Media Contact

For media enquiries, please contact AsiaWorld-Expo Management Limited:

Kenneth Chan / Daisy Tang
Tel: (852) 2838 8808
Fax: (852) 2561 2822