Hong Kong. Its first year of operation is expected to bring an extra economic benefit to Hong Kong of up to HK$1.46 billion, while creating 3,600 new jobs. "The HKCEC expansion marks a new era for conferences and exhibitions," said Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Executive Director Fred Lam. "Hong Kong will become a world leader in the scale of its trade fairs. We believe that there will be many more trade shows at the HKCEC in the future, attracting more international buyers and bringing substantial benefits to Hong Kong," he said.
It is expected that the cumulative economic benefits from the HKCEC expansion will amount to 3.38 billion euros, with up to 92,000 new jobs created between 2009 and 2025. "The exhibition business is a major pillar of the Hong Kong economy, contributing 6.4 per cent of its GDP and 6.5 per cent of its employment," said Mr Lam.
Mr Lam pointed out that HKTDC organises more than 30 trade fairs a year, eight of which are the largest of their kind in Asia. "These are among the must-attend events in the world’s sourcing calendar. The completion of the expansion will give them, and other fairs, space to grow, enabling some to become among the world’s largest," he said. "But we will need to explore long-term solutions in order to maintain Hong Kong’s status as Asia’s trade-fair capital."
About 20 new trade fairs will take place at the HKCEC in the coming year. They will cover a wide range of industries and sectors, including: baby products, financial services, the funeral business, home textiles, lifestyle products, lighting, medical equipment, retail technology and tea. In addition, 30 recurrent fairs will use the new exhibition halls in the HKCEC expansion.
Work on the project began in May 2006 and took 34 months to complete. The HKCEC expansion project included several construction records:
- The heaviest lifting operation ever undertaken in HK's building construction history (maximum load of 4,000 tonnes, equivalent to 22 Boeing 747s)
- The largest metallic bearing ever used (2,830 metres in diameter)
- The heaviest steel trusses ever used (five trusses used, each measuring up to 109 metres and weighing up to 2,100 tonnes)
Because of their size, each steel truss had to be shipped in separately on barges and delivered late at night. When the trusses arrived, workers welded the pieces together on location. Cranes were used to lift each truss gradually until it fitted onto a crossbeam, allowing it to slide into the appropriate position. With the expansion suspended above the harbour, an unconventional top-down approach was used for construction. Regulations allowed only 80 temporary supporting columns to be placed into the seabed at any one time, limiting the dimensions of the temporary construction site and making the project even more difficult.
A total of 28,000 tonnes of steel was used in the project, equivalent to that included in the International Finance Centre II – the tallest building in Hong Kong. This provides a floor loading of 12.5kPa, sufficient for just about any kind of exhibition. During the construction period, two pedestrian tunnels, linking phase I and II of the HKCEC, were constructed to maintain connectivity. Throughout the project, the HKCEC operated as usual, holding a wide variety of events, including the Hong Kong Book Fair, which attracted about 800,000 people.
Along with the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition), the new expansion will also open this month for the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Spring Edition) and International ICT Expo. All three fairs take place 13-16 April.