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German Trade Fairs Head East

At the ongoing CeBIT 2009 in Hanover, there is a visible decline of exhibitors from Asia. But countries such as India and China are still strongly represented with around 30 and 150 exhibitors respectively.

Shanghai has been hosting the CeBIT Asia

Shanghai has been hosting the "CeBIT Asia"

At the CeBIT, the world's largest trade IT fair, the mood is upbeat despite an overall drop of 25% in exhibitor’s participation as compared to last year. According to a CeBIT organizer, those exhibiting are pleased that there is less competition and more genuine visitors to their stands.

Like CeBIT, most leading trade fairs are held in Germany but German trade fair companies are now expanding across the world, notably in Asia. In 2008, the total number of German exhibitors who participated in German trade fairs abroad was around 80,000. That they have been making inroads with their brand of fairs in Asia could be one of the reasons behind this sector’s strength.

"Asia is the most important market"

For the year 2009, German trade fair companies have planned more then 220 fairs abroad, with China playing host to at least 80 such fairs and India to 27. Marco Spinger, the director of global markets at the Association of German Trade Fair Industry, or AUMA, says: "Asia is the most important market abroad for German trade fairs."

The Cologne Trade Fair’s Managing Director in Singapore, Michael Dreyer, agrees, saying that the Asian markets are very important for his company. "We purchased the leading event in Asia for wind-power energy: Windpower Energy which is held in Bejing every year," he says. "In 2009 we will have an exhibition on other renewable sources like solar power or bio-mass. And we will have more regional events in 2009 in Asia."

Showing the flag

Another trade fair company, Deutsche Messe India hosted four fairs in the South Asian country last December. About half of the participants were from abroad. Germany was the largest single exhibitor. S.J. Patil, the head of Deutsche Messe India attributes this to the fact that the Indian market is still considered lucrative by international companies. He describes the significance of trade fairs amid the financial meltdown:

"If the economy cycle really changes in the last quarter it will be almost imperative for the exhibitors not to miss the show. Otherwise they will lose touch with their markets and somebody else will come into that slot and may capture their business. Doing fairs in Germany as well as in Asia or other prospective markets is like the two wheels of the same vehicle. Both of them have to be active and running parallel. Only that will help the German or European industry."

The trend of holding German trade fairs in Asia started back in 1987 when Messe Frankfurt held its Intertextile Fair in Hong Kong. The fair which has been a resounding success ever since, laid the platform for other German fair organizers to follow in Messe Frankfurt's footsteps. Exhibitors are hoping that the German trade fairs on the Asian market will help them sustain themselves through the current economic crisis. Going by the bookings for 2009, it is still paying for German trade fairs to go east.

  • Date 05.03.2009
  • Author Rajeena Pflug 05/03/09
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  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/LsRK
  • Date 05.03.2009
  • Author Rajeena Pflug 05/03/09
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/LsRK