Unconventional conventions: Asia’s most intriguing trade shows of 2010
Industry expos are like giant toy stores for adults. Where else can you find thousands of giggling attendees swinging on designer chairs, testing the latest electronic gizmos, tasting chocolates from around the world and posing with barely-dressed cosplayers? Those bored by museums will find endless entertainment at the flashy booths and pitchmen who press balloons, fans and all sorts of other freebies into your hands.
Asia is host to hundreds of trade shows. You’ll probably want to skip Poultry India and Tank Storage Asia, but here are 14 expos anyone can enjoy, and possibly do some business.
Nakshatra Astrology FairWhere: Hall No.15, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
When: February 1-7, 2010
Nakshastra is a hippie smorgasbord, with booths for palmistry, numerology, yoga, feng shui and tarot readings. Tune into mantra CDs and “computer astrological software,” drop in, turn on and tune out the physical realm.
Thailand Coffee, Tea & DrinksWhere: MCC Hall, The Mall Bangkapi, Bangkok
When: February 18-21, 2010
The third annual coffee, tea, drink, bakery and ice cream show promises to be the biggest and best in Thailand. Make sure you skip breakfast. Highlights include a latte art contest and workshops taught by coffee cupping and cake decoration experts.
Japan Golf FairWhere: West Halls 1 and 2, Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo
When: February 19-21, 2010
Tokyo’s Golf Fair is a launching ground for products from Bridgestone, Callaway, Ping and other leaders. Try on a Pearly Gates shirt and give the latest forged iron clubs a swing. The expo is free and open to the public on all days.
Dhaka Motor ShowWhere: Bangabandhu International Conference Center, Dhaka, Bangladesh
When: March 18-20, 2010
Bangladesh is the leading region of India for alternative fuels, and this auto show puts the spotlight on green technologies. Toyota, Hyundai, BMW and Nissan are among the participants to show off slick models -- both human and vehicular -- in over 250 booths.
Hong Kong FilmartWhere: Hall 1, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, Hong Kong
When: March 22-25, 2010
Hong Kong is a Mecca for movie-makers, and Filmart brings together Asian film companies hungry for funds and collaborators. The public can enjoy free screenings and smirk at C-list horror titles, such as “Ghost With Hole” and “Sorry I Made Your Wife Pregnant.”
Boat AsiaWhere: Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore
When: April 15-18, 2010
Rub shoulders with the ritzy at Singapore’s yacht expo. Savor vodka cocktails on a deck, watch runway shows by La Perla, and waltz at the black-tie charity gala. Be warned: the 'special networking suite' might look great but it is exclusive to “High Net Worth Individuals.” So forget it, or bring your best bling.
Giftionery TaipeiWhere: Hall 1, Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei
When: April 23-26, 2010
Now here’s a catchy portmanteau: Giftionery, an expo for gifts and stationery. Expect over 500 booths filled with smiley panda pencil cases, golden lion paperweights, rainbow pet collars and other artsy, crafty goods.
Computex TaipeiWhere: Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei
When: June 1-5, 2010
With over seven floors of exhibition space, Computex is one of the largest computer and technology fairs in the world. Powerhouses such as Intel, Mac and Microsoft lift the curtains on inventions that have yet to hit the market.
ComiketWhere: Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo
When: August 13-15 and December, 2010
Another clever portmanteau: Comiket, a Tokyo comics market for dojinshi (self-published manga) that attracts over half a million fans. Many will show up in intricate cosplay, or costumes modeled on anime and manga characters, so bring your camera.
Parenthood Expo MalaysiaWhere: Mid Valley Exhibition Center, Kuala Lumpur
When: August 20-22, 2010
Kuala Lumpur’s premier event for the parents of young children. Octomom would go wild for the interactive exhibits, such as fertility services, maternity wear, organic infant formulas, early education and mommy groups.
Tokyo Game ShowWhere: Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan
When: September 2010
Sebastien Van Damme is a Tokyo-based translator who has attended the Game Show several times. He says, “It gives you the opportunity to try out new games. You can buy exclusive goods, talk to people in the gaming industry and meet personalities, and do or observe cosplay. If you can cope with some overcrowding and queuing, then you should be able to really enjoy it! And those who like to take pictures of 'booth babes' won’t be disappointed at all.”
China Toy ExpoWhere: Shanghai New International Expo Center, Shanghai
When: October 12-14, 2010
It’s a Chinese version of Santa’s Workshop: 1,700 booths and 36,000 square meters of space make the Toy Expo one of the country’s largest industry fairs. I don’t think I’d be able to resist climbing on the playground equipment and squeezing the stuffed toys.
Herbal AsiaWhere: Matrade Exhibition Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
When: October 21-24, 2010
No, it’s not that type of herbal celebration -- Herbal Asia is a trade show for natural products and alternative treatments. I’d turn down the samples of ginseng powder but take up the offer on a holistic massage.
Tokyo Garden, Exterior and Flower ExpoWhere: Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan
When: October 28-30, 2010
A gardener’s paradise, Gardex has over 300 exhibitors from traditional Japanese bonsai to high-tech lawnmowers. Visitors can purchase flowers and seeds, compare garden tools, and pick out a stylish pair of gloves.