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Event organiser UBM Asia concentrating more on Asean

UBM Asia, the world's leading event organiser, is keying in on Asean countries, especially Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar, to grow its business amid higher demand from Western countries eager to penetrate the Asean Economic Community.

"Asean is one of the major destinations for the company to organise many trade fairs under the company's expansion plan. The firm is projected to double its revenue after Asean integration in 2015," M Gandhi, managing director of UBM Asia (Thailand), said yesterday.

UBM Asia generated revenue of US$271 million (Bt8.4 billion) last year, up from $183 million in 2010. Of the total revenue, about 60 per cent came from China and India.

Although the revenue contribution from Asean is still lower than from those two countries, Asean will continue to play an increasingly significant role because more fairs will be held in the region.

Before the arrival of the AEC, most of its trade fairs will be held in Asean markets, focusing on Indonesia and Thailand.

The first fair in Myanmar, for livestock, will be held in October next year, to be followed by fairs in Yangon for food and consumer goods, energy and health.

UBM has opened 17 offices in Asean over the past 18 months. It used to be only in Bangkok and Singapore, but now it has offices in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Jakarta.

It now employs 120 local staff in Asean to serve the company's plan to organise more trade shows in the region.

This year, the firm had about 22 exhibitions lined up in Asean. About four fairs were held in Indonesia and nine exhibitions in Thailand. The company is shooting for up to 10 fairs in Indonesia next year.

One of the highlights in Indonesia is Food Ingredients Asia, which was held from October 3-5 in Jakarta. This is the second time for FI Asia to visit Indonesia, after making Thailand home for almost a decade.

As Southeast Asia is quickly developing into one of the major growth markets for food ingredients, with high-quality products and a growing consumer market, this trade show is now a destination for the industry's key players. The fair was projected to draw up to 10,000 visitors, from 7,000 in 2010.

Besides organising more trade fairs in Asean, making acquisitions is another component of the group's growth strategy. It has joined with many local partners to exhibit trade fairs in the region.

The company's challenge is to encourage producers and traders to take the Asean market more seriously.

Although the company will organise more fairs in Indonesia, Thailand with its good infrastructure will continue to serve as its centre for trade fairs. However, from a market perspective, Indonesia is tops in opportunities to serve as a centre for exhibition organisation, Gandhi said.

Nucharin Paradeevisut, general manager of UBM Asia (Thailand), said the AEC would bring more trade exhibitions to the region. Many foreign exhibitors and traders are keen to do business with Asean nations because of strong economic growth and the seamless market.

As an organiser, the firm is focusing its business plan on Asean countries. Indonesia shows great promise as a new destination for trade fairs because its population is the largest in Asean.

Although some events will be shifted to Indonesia, Thailand has not lost the opportunity to promote trade growth. The country can still be a marketing coordinator to support trade among Asean markets, Nucharin said.

With good basic infrastructure and expertise in trade organisation, Thailand is still one of the most favoured destinations for trade fairs and can draw many visitors. However, some concerns over political stability and unpredictable natural disasters could shake the confidence of exhibitors and traders, she said.

UBM Asia (Thailand) will organise nine trade fairs in the Kingdom this year. The firm will break its revenue record this year, with more than Bt800 million expected, thanks to BOI Fair 2011.


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