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PALM Expo China 2012 Review With a new venue, an impressive track record and new highlights to attract visitors, PALM Expo China 2012, which was held from 24 – 27 May 2012, appeared to be set for an impressive showing. However, some exhibitors and visitors left the show feeling a little underwhelmed. Most of their comments were centred on the Expo’s new venue, the New China International Exhibition Centre in Beijing, which drew praise and criticism from the thousands of attendees. PALM Expo China 2012 was moved to its new venue for 2012 because the previous venue, the China International Exhibition Centre, which was closer to the heart of the city, was scheduled to be torn down. “The new venue is the largest, newest and most advanced exhibition hall in Beijing. With more than 200,000 sqm of exhibiting space and modern facilities, it is ideal to accomodate the show’s expansion this year,” said Juri Tan, Exhibitions Director for IIR Exhibitions Pte Ltd, the jointorganisers of the Expo. Many exhibitors agreed that the new venue’s modern structure, better facilities and spaceefficient layout were an improvement over the previous venue. “The new venue is more spacious and cleaner than the previous venue. It also has better facilities, a more consolidated layout and more restaurants. The seminar rooms were also decent,” said Wynne Cheung, General Manager for ETC Asia.

Jens Poehlker, Sales Director for MA Lighting Asia Pacific, concurred with that opinion. “I think the exhibition halls are very well suited. The previous grounds were a little scattered with halls here and there. They were also a little old and dusty. You also have a train station here which is something that impressed me. This new venue has a very good environment, I have to say, so congratulations to the organisers for this.” However, some exhibitors felt that the venue’s location, which is about a 40-minute drive from the heart of the city, was a deterrent for some international exhibitors. “This location doesn’t offer us the opportunity to take our customers out for dinner or sightseeing because we are far from the city. For this reason, some international exhibitors are not here,” said Fabiano Besio, co-founder of Italian lighting company LDR. “When you organise an exhibition, these factors have to be taken into consideration,” he added. Some exhibitors were also unhappy with the lack of transportation options to the new exhibition venue. Although it was closer to the airport than the previous venue, the remoteness of the location meant that some visitors found it difficult to find taxis to take them from the venue to their hotels or to the city. “I believe that any exhibition has to take into account transportation to and from the exhibition venue. In this case, the

transportation options are rather limited,” said Besio. Michael Muenz, General Manager – Asia, of GLP German Light Products, also bemoaned the transportation problems at the new venue. “The transportation system was bad around the Expo,” he said. “Sure, there is a train station close by but the taxi system, especially, was not organised at all. Taxi drivers were asking rediculously high prices and some didn’t even want to drive you to some locations that were too close to the Expo.” In response to the comments about the transportation situation around the new Expo, IIR Exhibitions Managing Director Rosalind Ng, commented, “We had organised shuttle buses from all the official hotels to the exhibition centre as well as 40 shuttle bus pick ups at the train stations from the city to the show venue. However, it appears that it is insufficient due to the high traffic so we will have to increase the number of shuttle bus pick ups next year. We will also look into ensuring more publicity for the shuttle bus services as many may not have been aware if it. There are always teething problems when going to a new venue. I would also like to highlight that with regards to the venue, we did not have much choice as some halls at the old venue have already been torn down thus it was not able to accommodate our space needs. Palm Expo has grown by 30% this year, from 85,000 sqm

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