Study reaffirms economic benefits of Hong Kong’s exhibition industry climb to HK$52.9 billion in 2014

8th Aug, 2016

Findings from the latest Economic Impact Study on the contribution of Hong Kong’s exhibition industry to the economy in 2014, released today, contained encouraging news for the industry and for Hong Kong. Overall, the study reveals that the exhibition industry contributed an impressive HK$52.9 billion (US$6.8 billion) directly and indirectly to Hong Kong’s economy in terms of expenditure, equivalent to 2.3% of the city’s total GDP for the calendar year 2014. This represents strong positive growth by comparison with the figures from the previous Economic Impact Study, covering 2012.

At HK$52.9 billion (US$6.8 billion), the expenditure effects of the exhibition industry in 2014 were up by 29% from 2012, at a CAGR of 13.9%. A significant part of this was contributed by the direct spending of international exhibitors and exhibition visitors, who according to the study tend to spend 61% more per visit than the average overnight tourist visitor to Hong Kong, with their spending focused in the retail, hotel and F&B sectors.

The Study, commissioned by the Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Industry Association (HKECIA), also shows that apart from direct economic benefits in terms of expenditure, the exhibition industry also provided equivalent of around 83,500 full-time jobs in the exhibition industry and other service and supporting sectors including hotel, F&B, retail, stand design and construction, and logistics and freight forwarding.

In 2014, the fiscal benefits (i.e. benefits arising from various government taxes associated with exhibition activities and participants) contributed by the exhibition industry amounted to HK$2.1 billion (US$269.9 million).

Commenting on the findings, Chairman of the HKECIA, Mr Stuart Bailey said, “We welcome this Study and the results because, once again, it highlights just how important our industry is for Hong Kong. The study shows in great detail the many ways in which exhibitions fuel Hong Kong’s wider economy – for example by spinning off economic benefits and extensive workforce to supporting industries, and attracting high-spending international business visitors to the city.  The Study also reveals that overseas exhibition exhibitors and visitors continue to spend more than international overnight tourists.  We should put efforts in making them visit the exhibitions in Hong Kong regularly."

Mr Bailey continued, “To continue providing Hong Kong with benefits at this level, our exhibition industry needs to remain attractive, efficient and competitive. We must continually be looking for ways of differentiating ourselves from regional competitors, in terms of things like providing premium exhibition space, ample capacity, and exceptional value-added services. I hope our policymakers will take the findings of this Study into account as they plan for the infrastructure and facilities that Hong Kong needs in the years to come.

This is the sixth in a series of Economic Impact Studies, which have been carried out biennially since 2004. It was once again conducted by KPMG Advisory (Hong Kong) Limited, a respected independent research consultancy.


Economic impact of Hong Kong’s exhibition industry in 2014 and 2012

Area Benefits (2014) Benefits (2012) Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)
Expenditure effects

HK$52.9 billion

(US$6.8 billion)

HK$40.8 billion (US$5.2 billion) 13.9%
Fiscal impact

HK$2.1 billion

(US$269.9 million)

HK$1.4 billion

(US$179.9 million)

Employment 83,500 FTE 69,600 FTE 9.6% 

Hong Kong’s exhibition industry contributed expenditure effects of around HK$52.9 billion (US$6.8 billion) to the Hong Kong economy in 2014, up by 29% from 2012, representing a CAGR of 13.9%.  This was equivalent to 2.3% of Hong Kong’s GDP, up from 2.0% in 2012.Expenditure effects continue to grow due to growing visitor number and expenditure

  • HK$52.9 billion (US$6.8 billion) – up by 29% from 2012, representing a CAGR of 13.9%
  • Direct expenditure covers expenditure by Visitor Personal (exhibition visitors) and Business Related (exhibition organisers and exhibitors) and amounts to HK$26.5 billion (US$3.4 billion)
  • Visitor expenditure remains the largest expenditure segment at HK$16.1 billion (US$2.1 billion) in 2014, representing a CAGR of 22.0% from 2012. It is because of a significant increase in the number of visitors from outside Hong Kong in 2014 and an increase of the average spending by visitors
  • Visitor personal expenditure spilt between international and domestic spending is around 93% to 7% (the spilt was 92% to 8% in 2012)
  • Retail, hotel and F&B sectors were the largest recipients of director visitor expenditure, accounting for 67% of the total visitor personal expenditure
  • Business-related (exhibition organisers and exhibitors) expenditure amounts to HK$10.4 billion (US$1.3 billion) in 2014

Fiscal impact grows with increased visitor and business spending

The tax take enjoyed by the Hong Kong Government in 2014 as a result of exhibition activities is estimated at around HK$2.1 billion (US$269.9 million), based on the total expenditure effects of HK$52.9 billion (US$6.8 billion). 

Derived from three taxes:

  • Profits tax: HK$961 million (US$123.5 million)
  • Salary tax: HK$1.0 billion (US$128.5 million)
  • Airport tax: HK$88 million (US$11.3 million)

Equivalent of 83,500 full time jobs provided by the exhibition industry

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employment amounted to around 83,500 in 2014, representing a CAGR of 6.5%, up from 69,600 in 2012.

  1. Around 3,400 FTEs, or 4%, were directly employed by exhibition organisers and venues.
  2. Remaining 96%, or 80,100 FTE jobs was provided across various supporting sectors. Amongst this group, around 57% of the FTE jobs created came from retail, hotel and F&B. Other supporting industries such as international transport, stand contractors, advertising and others accounted for the remaining 43%.

International exhibition visitors and exhibitors contributed more than overnight tourists

The report showed that international exhibition visitors and exhibitors spent on average 61% more than overnight tourists. 

  • International exhibition visitors spent an average HK$12,776 (US$1,642) per visit; international exhibitors spent an average HK$12,829 (US$1,649) per visit; compared to overnight tourists spent an average of HK$7,960 (US$1,023) per visit

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