The overall trend in terms of attendance at the Asia Pacific Coatings Show is one of steady growth, and contrary to the report in the July issue, the data reported by Coatings World and other publications supports this trend (See Table 1).
The show is the only major event outside of China and Japan and the early events attracted about 3,000 visitors. The economic strength of the Asia Pacific region resulted in an expansion in the number of events by dmg, which were designed to reach the smaller regional markets, while the Asia Pacific show moved to the major regional hubs of Malaysia and Thailand to cater to local representatives and attract international visitors.
Attendance fell during the financial crisis of 1999, but since then the event proved to be increasingly popular, with 3,650 visitors in Thailand 2001 followed by the show’s highest attendance of more than 3,800 visitors to APCS 2002 in Singapore.
Was the Asian economy the sole reason for the strength of the show? Dmg’s publishing and exhibitions director, Ian Faux, said, “After the financial crisis, the need for a regional event became even greater, both to re-establish contacts and to build confidence again as trading conditions improved.
“In 2001 we increased our investment in the show and the benefits on offer to exhibitors and visitors. We wanted the event to offer a range of opportunities for dialogue and interaction.
“In partnership with the local associations, we launched the Asia Pacific Coatings Awards, focusing on the technical excellence of the industry and giving the winners an opportunity to be acknowledged in public. We also added a business presentation area, allowing exhibitors to discuss their products to a room of potential customers.
“The visitors are the most important people at an event and features like this add value to their time spent at the show. Both innovations have been an enormous success.
“We are delighted that attendance at the show has increased since 1999, and despite the unexpected challenge of SARS this year, the underlying pattern has been of consistent growth since the event started.”
As a result of the international reluctance to travel this year, the show suffered badly in terms of visitor numbers but despite these problems, many of the exhibitors tried to make the most of a difficult situation. “There was still an attempt to make the most of the reduced visitor numbers,” said David Vaughan-Lee, editor of the Asia Pacific Coatings Journal, “Exhibitors used the time to meet local staff and seemed pleasantly surprised to still meet one or two new clients.”
The Asian coatings industry must still be strong because two more events were added to the calendar this year, with the launch of the Asia Coatings Forum in Vietnam and the Korean Coatings Show. Trade shows are seen as a good way to promote companies and products in the region.
With the previously high attendance in Thailand, we can look forward to an exiting event in Bangkok next year, especially considering that many of the visitors that missed the 2003 event are likely to be eager to attend next year’s show to ensure their companies have the best technology available.