THE WORLD’S leading event organiser sees Asia as its most promising market for business expansion amid the rapid growth of key markets in the region, including China and India.
Stephan Kurzawski, senior vice president of Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH, said in an exclusive interview that the presence of Asian companies in their events around the world has been on the rise for the past few years. Chinese companies at the recent Ambiente19, for example, had the largest representation based on the number of exhibitors to the world’s largest trade fair for consumer goods, which was held in Frankfurt from
“Asia has great potential because most of its markets are growing,” he said. “Many Asian companies are committed to broaden their horizons so they join our trade fairs.”
According to Kurzawski, the firm plays a vital role in boosting international trade by linking high quality manufacturers with international distribution giants. Every month, the firm organises large events around the world in different categories. It employs a workforce of 2,500 at 30 sites and generates annual revenue of around 715 million euros (Bt25.3 trillion). Its services include renting exhibition premises, trade fair construction and marketing, human resources and food services.
“We believe in the power of partnerships. That is why we have sales agents around the globe. Our partners and representatives span across more than 160 countries, dealing with their respective governments,” he said.
“Our partners are very important to us because we do not have market knowledge in every single country. We cannot do many things alone. With their support, we manage to hold a lot of block-busting shows worldwide.”
According to Kurzawski, Asia’s big markets including China, Japan, Korea and India could contribute hugely to the firm’s presence outside Europe. Yet, the firm is not neglecting smaller markets, including Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, as the Asean market continues its growth. Due to this, the firm has appointed Su Shwe Nadi Trading Co as their official representative for Myanmar.
“In a small market like Myanmar, only a few companies would need a world-class trade show. Also, they must have the products that can be sold to the world on a very large scale. They need to be sure that they can produce enough to meet the global demand,” he said.
“Ambiente is like a big ocean. If you are jumping into the water, make sure that you can swim. It does not make sense if you want to go to the Ambiente without proper preparation. For businesses, preparation is much more important than participation.”
In light of Asian companies getting stronger, Messe Frankfurt has chosen India as its partner country for this year’s Ambiente. Driven by its huge market size and productivity, India will be the last in the series, as the firm has decided to stop its partner-country concept, aiming to put more emphasis on designs instead.
“We will have a similar concept but it will focus on designs. We want to stay as No 1 in the categories we represent and we have made a lot of small changes in our concepts. This is our challenge,” said Kurzawski.
“Bringing together buyers and sellers is the principal aim of our events. But, it is not the only one. We have more objectives, such as getting people to know what is trending, what is new and what will come. This will help them put the stuff together to meet the needs of the world market in the future,” he said.
The firm also prioritises the protection of intellectual property rights by exhibitors and innovators. Since 2006, an initiative named “Messe Frankfurt Against Copying” has been in place to ensure that innovations are well protected at their trade fairs.
In response to the rise of digitisation in the retail sector, the firm has developed “nextrade”, a digital B2B (business to business) marketplace for the consumer goods industry in cooperation with nmedia. To set up the initiative, nmedia will migrate its entire portfolio of 1,000 retailers and 500 suppliers from the EDI (electronic data interchange) to the new marketplace, and Messe Frankfurt will acquire new suppliers and retailers who want to be part of the marketplace.
“This will allow buyers to spend more time on exhibitions. We need to help our clients jump into the digital world without forgetting participating in the old world of exhibitions,” said Kurzawski.