[Contribution] New Delhi’s IICC and the Status of the Korean Exhibition Industry
Association of Korea Exhibition Industry (AKEI) Chairman, Sang-Wook Kim
A large construction project is in full swing in Dwarka, 10km away from the New Delhi International Airport. Fields of weed still stretch for miles in the area of Dwarka, but this is the land Prime Minister Modi envisions to become the MICE industry leader of Southwest Asia. The Prime Minister’s cabinet has laid down the blueprints of this complex project which includes a convention center, hotels, complex shopping malls, arena, commercial facilities as well as foreign official residencies and a golf course; practically, it is a large scale construction project resembling a New Town Development Plan. For this multiple complex district, construction in connecting infrastructure such as subway, railway, and expressway from adjacent areas is also simultaneously being carried out.
Above all, what intrigues me the most is the construction of India International Convention & Expo Centre (IICC). The first phase of construction of the 300,000㎡ convention center is set to come to an end soon, and will introduce 50,000㎡ of exhibition space and a convention hall which can accommodate 8,000 people, by early next year. Other venues in the region are aging and are structurally more suitable for housing conferences rather than trade shows. Moreover, due to the long distance from the airport and inadequate conditions in transportation infrastructure, public accessibility is low for the alternatives of IICC. Under these circumstances, the construction of IICC is promising; in the Aero City adjacent to Dwarka, there are 4,000 hotel rooms and in the case the newly constructed complex development area is connected to the state-of-the-art IT valley of Gurgaon, there is potential for this area to become the new business belt of India.
A consortium led by the operators of Korea’s largest convention center, KINTEX, has obtained the rights to operate IICC for the next 20 years and is in full preparation. Last week, I attended OPEN SEMINAR hosted by the Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA) and an Asian Federation of Exhibition and Convention Associations (AFECA) board meeting in New Delhi and discussed the internationalization of the Korean exhibition industry with experts and opinion leaders from around the world. Everywhere I went, the center of interest was, without a doubt, IICC.
Recently, recognizing the importance of the MICE industry, the Korean government has made amendments in policy in its favor and many local governments have been competitively pursuing to erect or expand their local convention centers. The level of awareness towards the Korean exhibition industry has risin in the global market due to active overseas expansion plans, however, in terms of facilities, Korea is still in its infancy stages. All of Korea’s exhibition space combined is about 270,000㎡, merely equating to two thirds of a single convention center in Shanghai, NECC, which has 400,000㎡ of exhibition space. The exhibition area of KINTEX has reached 108,000㎡, however, it still ranks 40th in the world. Nevertheless, it has great significance that KINTEX prevailed as the final winner in the bid to operate IICC. This could be interpreted as Korea stepping into the center stage of the exhibition scene which was predominantly led by the West.
China, using its market size as a weapon, is cultivating the exhibition industry as one its national strategic industries. As a result, huge venues have been erected in areas such as Shanghai and Shenzhen. Singapore's economic recovery has been made by the government’s bold efforts to put emphasis on the MICE Industry. The home of the world's largest Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Las Vegas, has become the world's leading MICE city where businessmen must visit.
According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), although India was ranked the world’s fifth largest economy in 2018, it is expected to become the third in size following China and the US by 2032. India enjoys an economic growth of around 7% a year with a population of 1.3 billion and it is not far from becoming one of the central economic powers of the world. From this perspective, IICC is expected to stimulate Korean as well as international companies’ expansion into the Indian market. As Korea’s first overseas venue operators, I hope KINTEX will use its insights to contribute to the development of both Korean and Indian MICE industries.
AFECA Board Meeting and Sustainable Development Committee Presentation
OPEN SEMINAR and MOU Signing with the Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA)
AFECA Board of Directors Group Photo