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Trade Fair Industry Shows Increasing Promise
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CMP Asia, an organizer of trade fairs and exhibitions, plans to extend its service and reach in the mainkand's growing exhibition market, a senior executive said.

The mainland is already one of the company's biggest markets, said Peter Sutton, the firm's president and chief executive officer.

The Hong Kong-based fair organizer currently focuses its mainland business in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing, with Shanghai as its core market, where it holds about 30 events a year, some 75 percent of its total.

But the firm is now looking to further extend its services to other regions, Sutton said.

"We are striving to extend our services to more cities and regions," he said.

The exhibition organizer, he said, is working to develop "a business model that is suitable to small and medium-sized cities" so that it can expand its presence in those areas when the conditions are right.

CMP is also considering further forays into fairs based on industry sectors "to serve as platforms where buyers and sellers can meet", he said.

It already hosts fairs in consumer goods, furniture, jewelry and accessories.

Due to a growing economy and flourishing foreign trade, China's exhibition industry has boomed in recent years.

More than 3,800 trade fairs were held in the country last year, compared to 1,000 in 1997, according to an annual report on China's exhibition industry compiled by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

The industry, which is projected to grow an average 20 percent annually, chalked up 14 billion yuan in revenue last year, the report said.

Sutton declined to elaborate on his company's finances, but claimed they are "commercially successful and growing at a rate that is commensurate with China's economy".

CMP Asia is competing with other exhibition giants such as Reed Exhibitions and VNU. It is also facing challenges from a fleet of local fair organizers, which Sutton said "are growing quickly" in service and professionalism.

The company has one wholly owned subsidiary in South China's Guangdong Province, the CMP China (Guangzhou) Co Ltd, and Shanghai CMP Sinoexpo International Exhibition Co Ltd, a joint venture in Shanghai.

The fair organizer last year made a joint acquisition with Italy's BolognaFiere Group for a majority stake in the Guangzhou Beauty Fair, the biggest such exhibition on the mainland.

(China Daily January 31, 2007)

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