Eco Expo Asia 2017 announces record-breaking exhibitor and visitor numbers with an elevated international participation
Enhanced Eco Asia Conference delivered a strong lineup of talks and presentations. Debut Startup Zone proved a hit with exhibitors and visitors
The 12th edition of Eco Expo Asia, held from 26 ‒ 29 October 2017 at AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong, concluded with record-breaking numbers. The expo was jointly organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), and co-organised by the Environment Bureau of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The four-day fair welcomed 335 exhibitors from 18 countries and regions, including 16 overseas and local pavilions and group participations. The 2017 edition saw a record number of 14,029 visitors from more than 100 countries and regions, a 4% increase from last year. There was also a noteworthy 30% increase in overseas visitors at the fair which emphasises the strong international status that Hong Kong enjoys as well as Eco Expo Asia’s position as a global platform for the environmental protection industry.
Eco Expo Asia embraced a theme of ‘Innovative Solutions for Greener Cities’. Highlighted product categories included Green Buildings and Energy Efficiency, Green Transportation, Waste Management and Recycling, as well as Water Treatment and Quality Management. The fair provided an exceptional opportunity for the industry to not only learn about new trends and developments but also to explore new relationships and do business.
Urban Spring Co Ltd is dedicated to reducing Hong Kong’s plastic consumption by installing well-designed water dispensers all over the city. As a relatively young company and first-time exhibitor at the show, networking with potential new clients and increasing brand exposure were key objectives. Ms Helen Chan, Business Development Director, said: “I think about 70% of the buyers that have come to speak with us have been our target buyers. We have had discussions with quite a few developers including New World Development and Nan Fung Property Development. We have also met architects and design companies who are looking for new products to feature in their portfolios. As we develop new products and expand our business then we will certainly use platforms like Eco Expo Asia to reach new clients and meet with industry players.”
Many exhibitors spoke of their satisfaction at being able to connect with high-quality international buyers. Mr Jonathan Gur, President and CEO, ION Enterprises, Canada, remarked: “I am attending Eco Expo Asia for the second time and so far the feedback from visitors has been amazing. I have had quality professionals speak with me who understand right away the systems I am exhibiting. Hong Kong is the gateway to Asia which is the fastest growing market in the world. I‘ve had a very good meeting with Thai buyers who specifically came to find me during the show and do business. I will certainly be returning next year.”
Grasping the opportunity to meet with a high number of government officials, not just from Hong Kong but also from mainland China, was a significant incentive for many exhibitors. Equally, government departments welcomed the opportunity to discuss recent green projects and initiatives during the debut Government Departments’ Forum. Ms Ip Man-wai, Senior Project Manager, Architectural Services Department, HKSAR, explained: “The Government Departments’ Forum was a great platform to facilitate communication between government departments and industry players. Every project involves a series of policies and they may affect different stakeholders within the community. It was terrific to have such an interactive platform for us to showcase the technologies in the projects and share our ideas with the audience.“
Enhanced Eco Asia Conference delivered a strong lineup of talks and presentations
The Eco Asia Conference – a series of high-quality sessions and talks on environmental protection topics delivered by influential guest speakers from around the world ‒ was for the first time co-organised by the Water Supplies Department and Drainage Services Department for the ‘Smart Sponge City – Self Sustainable Water Cycle’ session; and the Business Environment Council and the Hong Kong Green Building Council for the ‘Green Buildings’ session. This new injection of expertise by the co-organisers saw nearly 50 government officials and experts deliver talks during the three-day conference.
Speakers and attendees alike praised the diversity of the topics up for discussion. Presenting his talk on how Hong Kong can implement its city-wide waste charging scheme, Mr Antoine Grange, CEO of Recycling and Recovery, SUEZ Asia, remarked: “It was rewarding to speak to the audience during Eco Asia Conference who are experts from the same field and have a rich understanding of the industry. This kind of conference is ideal for informational exchange due to the various presentations made by different stakeholders. Those messages are particularly useful for audience members who may not be familiar with a specific green sector. Through the conference they are able to keep abreast of the latest developments.”
Mr Michael Lai, Honorary Secretary, 350HK, an attendee at the Renewable Energies and Usage Session, was eager to learn more about industry developments during his fact-finding mission. “I was particularly impressed by the presentation made by Ms Cathryn Chu (Regional Director, APAC, SgurrEnergy Hong Kong), she shared concrete figures of wind and solar power generation that were only previously accessible to people working in the sector. By attending the conference I was able to meet different stakeholders and gather a full understanding of the latest industry developments and research figures. I hope we can use this information as grounds to lobby the government for better environmental policies and initiatives.”
Debut Startup Zone proved a hit with exhibitors and visitors
A new Startup Zone was organised this year to help green startups explore more business opportunities and connect with investors. A wide range of green initiatives was on display at the zone including smart-thermostats, urban farming designs, recycled bamboo footwear, air filters and EV charging equipment. Ms Michelle Hong, Co-Founder, Rooftop Republic Urban Farming, was keen to take advantage of the new initiative: “The ethos of our company very much aligns with the theme of Eco Expo Asia, environmental sustainability and green solutions. The show has helped us to broaden our clientele and reach out to new potential partners. We managed to meet representatives from the MTR and a couple of hotels whom we are keen to work with.”
As visitors at the show represent a broad spectrum of the environmental protection industry, forging unexpected relationships is a significant possibility at the fair. Ms Joanne Shi, Graduate Engineer, Acoustics Innovation Limited, Hong Kong, elaborated on such new opportunities: “We are the sole supplier of SilentUP, a retractable noise barrier. The response from visitors has been beyond our expectations and the signs are positive considering we are a startup. Before attending the expo most of our clients have been from the construction industry, however, after gaining feedback from visitors, we have realised that our product can be used in a diverse array of industries. We are looking forward to exploring these possibilities.”
A Startup Forum was also held for the first time and invited representatives of four startups delivered a series of talks introducing their innovative approaches to very Asia-centered issues. Topics under the spotlight included how to establish green communities in urban spaces, modern hygiene technology, and how to utilise air conditioners as air purification machines. One of the speakers, Mr Jacoe Yeung, Director, Eco Link Building Materials Limited, commented favourably on the new addition to the expo’s fringe programme: “I believe that the Startup Forum is a good way for the audience to get in touch with startup companies and learn more about new trends in the industry. I hope that the audience was able to feel inspired by the new products and technologies on display. The forum has been useful for me to network with industry peers, experts and interested members of the audience.”
Eco Expo Asia 2017 experienced another year of positive growth in terms of visitor numbers and bolstered its international vision. Eight of the top ten countries with the highest visitor figures were located in Asia, demonstrating the strong appetite for a fair concentrating on environmental protection in the region.