Global Exhibiting: Special Edition–The APAC Region


For the last post in our series on global exhibiting, we thought we should give special attention to the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region (includes Australia) which has become the new go-to destination for trade shows and events. It is the fastest growing trade show market in the world. As European markets become less predictable, show managers, associations, and planners are looking to cities such as Phnom Penh, Manilla, Yangon, Colombo, and Saigon.

Experts predict that 40% of the world’s economic growth through 2050 will occur in the APAC region.

Are you ready to take your trade show program this part of the world? If the APAC region isn’t on your trade show schedule yet, it will be soon.

In its report on the Trade Fair Industry in Asia, UFI reported:

  • Total exhibition space sold at Asian trade fairs increased by 5.6% in 2015.
  • 56% of that space was sold in China, with Japan the second largest trade fair market.
  • India has the fastest growth rate in the region.
  • Net space sold at Asian trade fairs jumped by 5.6% in 2015 to almost 19.7 million net square meters (m2): 19.69 million m2 of net space sold to exhibitors in 2015, up from 18.64 the year before.
  • Asia’s venue capacity will exceed 7.8 million m2 by the end of 2016, and the number of venues operating in Asia this year will reach 207 – that is more than double the 100 venues that were in operation in 2004.

Need some inside information? Here are some basic tips that will help.

Once again, the best place to start is with your domestic exhibit house, the one you usually work with, the one that knows your brand, your preferences, and your marketing goals and messages. Then…

  • Be prepared for major differences—not only from your home country but from country to country within the APAC region. For example, labor rules in Japan are spelled out: unions are specified, and hours are clear, with overtime billed at 1 ½ times straight time and beginning at 6:30 PM, but weekends are straight time. Korea and Taiwan also have clear union jurisdictions. However, in China there are no unions, and everything is billed at a flat rate, including labor.
  • You will encounter the term “build and burn,” which simply means a one-time usage. The properties are generally recycled. Many countries in the APAC region, where the population as a whole is approximately 3.5 billion, have limited storage facilities to handle crated exhibits.
  • Don’t expect consistency in your choice of materials. Remember you are dealing with a number of countries, not just cities. From the choice of flooring to wall materials, you will find it best to leave your expectations at home, especially if you’re from North America and are used to double padded plus carpet and particular brands of laminate. Work with your domestic exhibit house and your regional affiliate to learn accepted practices in the country where you are exhibiting, and to determine what works best for your exhibit and your budget.
  • Electrical standards and height restrictions vary from country to country, from city to city, and from venue to venue. Always ask the organizer about hanging signs: are they allowed or not? Lighting practices vary as well. Theatrical lighting is not common, and ambient lighting is often influenced by skylights.
  • Transportation regulations differ from country to country. If you are shipping products to a country in the APAC region, allow sufficient time for those products to clear customs. The best practice is to ship as little as possible from outside the APAC region. Within the region, you may find it economical to transport properties from one country to another. For instance, production in Hong Kong is expensive, and it might make sense to use a builder from a neighboring country.

Don’t panic when your sales and marketing departments decide that the APAC region is the next place for major expansion and trade shows are part of the initiative. Be ready for adventure!

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