13 May 2004
Showing Hong Kong To The World(HKTDC Hong Kong Trade Services, Vol 01,2004)
Vol 1, 2004
Room to spare: AsiaWorld-Expo will provide more than 70,000 square metres of rentable space when it opens in December next year
Maintaining its proud record for consistently thinking big and being first, Hong Kong is going the extra mile in providing a state-of-the-art exhibition venue next to the Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok.
Site formation and piling work has already started on the new AsiaWorld-Expo project, which will provide more than 70,000 square metres of rentable space when it opens in December next year.
AsiaWorld-Expo deputy CEO Allen Ha believes that the US$300m complex will add another exciting element to existing Hong Kong offerings such as the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
"We're not competing directly against the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre - far from it," says Ha. "The idea is that each will complement the other, and both will be good for the future of Hong Kong as vital cogs in the regional trading chain."
Ha believes there is "definitely an opening" for another big exhibition site in Hong Kong given the frenetic manufacturing taking place on the nearby southern Chinese mainland, and points out significant differences between the two exhibition venues.
"First, the new project's exhibition areas will all be conveniently located on the ground floor," Ha notes. "Each exhibition hall will have time-saving, tailor-made access points so that exhibits can be delivered by container lorry and unloaded direct into the correct area of the hall - and later re-packed and moved out the same way."
AsiaWorld-Expo will consist of 10 halls, including eight, totally self-supporting, interconnecting venues each offering 5,680 square metres divided by acoustic partitions.
More than 66,000 square metres of rentable space will be available in the ground level, column-free halls, which will allow several exhibitions to take place simultaneously.
Each of the 10 halls has its own offices, meeting rooms, catering areas and toilets, plus wide-access shutters along the outer walls to enable swift unloading of pre-mounted or semi-mounted exhibits.
The flexible design will also allow all 10 halls to be thrown open and combined into one giant exhibition space, while an extensive area adjoining the western entrance can also be used for extra exhibition space if necessary.
Ceiling heights range from 10 metres in Halls 2-11 to 19 metres in Hall 1 and the floor loading across the site is 3,000-5,000kg per square metre, allowing for heavier equipment shows to be accommodated.
The arena-style Hall 1, with its 13,500 seating capacity, is equipped to stage concerts, conferences and sporting and entertainment events, and is easily capable of accommodating the biggest conventions ever housed in Hong Kong such as the Lions Clubs International Convention.
A variety of supporting conference facilities ranging in size from 100-620 square metres complements the exhibition space and can be used for exhibitions or as a stand-alone facility.
AsiaWorld-Expo is not a solo project but the turnkey development in an exciting master plan that will transform the airport's commercial district into a fresh attraction that will eventually include a second airport hotel and a nine-hole executive golf course.
Ha is "highly optimistic" about the project, which is a private/public partnership funded by the Hong Kong government, Dragages Hong Kong Ltd and Yu Ming Investments Ltd. The Airport Authority is also a partner since it is contributing the land.
"This will take the Hong Kong exhibition industry to a new plane," claims Ha. "There is nothing like it anywhere else in Asia in terms of a complete offering."
He says AsiaWorld-Expo has already received "very positive feedback" from soundings made among a wide range of possible event organisers.
"Their reaction was generally most favourable...they liked the idea of such a large and purpose-built exhibition area, and many also saw considerable benefit in having such a facility within minutes of the airport," Ha maintains.
"The project represents further confirmation of Hong Kong's vital 'middleman' role in the region, and its location puts it within close touch of the entire Pearl River Delta heartland of the industrial southern mainland."
Little wonder then that Ha believes "AsiaWorld-Expo is not going to be just a very large venue of concrete and steel... it's a revolutionary new way of showing how the Hong Kong-southern mainland conurbation is reaching out to the entire world in trade goods and services."
The heart of Asia
AsiaWorld-Expo will inherit a huge range of integrated multi-modal transport facilities that are the envy of neighbouring Asian cities.
Strategically situated at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta, the complex will enjoy unrivalled transport links to the rest of the world that will provide easy access by air, sea, road and rail.
Hong Kong International Airport, for example, is Asia's premier hub, with 65 airlines operating scheduled flights to more than 140 destinations. Its international network of over 3,610 weekly flights is unrivalled in the region.
Similarly, new ferry terminal facilities located alongside AsiaWorld-Expo will offer a range of cross-boundary ferries to Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Macau and other major cities in the Pearl River Delta region.
AsiaWorld-Expo will also be easily accessible by road, with buses running to and from major cities in the mainland's Pearl River Delta. Several bus routes will link the site with key locations throughout Hong Kong while the city's 18,000 taxis will provide an efficient and speedy personal service.
Travel between AsiaWorld-Expo and Hong Kong by rail will be equally quick, easy and efficient. The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) provides fast, inexpensive services and a new station, specially built for AsiaWorld-Expo, will convey exhibitors and visitors directly into the centre's main lobby.
WRITTEN BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
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