More than 280 delegates from over 20 countries and regions attended the 13th UFI Asia-Pacific Conference last week. The conference, UFI’s second largest event, was held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on 1 and 2 March.
Industry leaders from around the region discussed and debated the future direction of the exhibition industry in Asia under the theme, “New Approaches, Different Angles”. Keynote speaker, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala, CEO of Pemandu, provided a compelling overview of the on-going transformation of the Malaysian economy. UBM Asia’s Wolfram Diener shared his experiences managing UBM’s highly successful portfolio of jewellery exhibitions and the geo-cloning strategy behind those events.
Quan Yu from Alibaba’s Ant Financial discussed how digital payments are reshaping the way business is conducted in China. The conference also included a session with Talk2 Media’s Matt Pearce who shared his views on opportunities in the B2C exhibition segment, as well as a venue panel starring Aloysius Arlando (Singex), Loy Joon How (IMPACT) and Aage Hansen (ICE) who debated future sources of income for venues in Asia.
The UFI Asia-Pacific Conference featured two days of networking and learning as well as an Educational Forum, held on 28 February, which attracted nearly 50 delegates. The theme of the Educational Forum was “HR Managers as Business Partners”. Other onsite activities included a members’ meeting for UFI’s Asia-Pacific Chapter led by the new Chapter Chair, David Zhong; an Association Committee meeting chaired by UFI’s CEO, Kai Hattendorf; a Welcome Reception for all delegates held at Kuala Lumpur’s newest venue, MiTEC; city tours and much more besides.
“The initiative in having the 13th UFI Asia-Pacific Conference here in Malaysia is in line with the government’s aspiration to position Malaysia as a preferred Business Events or MICE hub and a choice destination in the region,” said YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Bin Tan Sri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia, at a reception for participants.
Kai Hattendorf, UFI’s CEO, stated: “The conference highlighted the potential for further growth in the exhibition industry in the Asia-Pacific region. I am pleased to see that UFI’s regional flagship event is connecting industry leaders from all over, leading to new collaborations, and opening up business opportunities.”
This year’s UFI Asia-Pacific Conference was hosted by the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) and supported by the Malaysian Association of Convention & Exhibition Organiser and Suppliers (MACEOS). It was also supported by UFI’s Diamond Sponsors: the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and Global Experience Specialists (GES). A wide range of local, Malaysian sponsors also backed the event.
This was the second time that UFI has held this event in Malaysia. The previous time was in 2009 when the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) hosted the conference. Next year, the UFI Asia-Pacific Conference will take place in Tokyo (Japan) on 14 and 15 March.