The year that was… and a peep into 2017

Stephane de Montgros
Co-founder and director, Riviera Events

“Riviera has experienced unprecedented growth in China over the last few years. In 2015 our fourth office in Chengdu opened its doors to service the West of China and this year we are thrilled to start supporting our clients in Shenzhen with a new office in the centre of the city at OCT Loft. 

“For us, Shenzhen represents an abundance of opportunity and allows us to tap into the world’s leading tech firms that have their head offices based there. In 2017 we will not sit still as we launch our Macau office, a strategic move to be able to better service Greater China’s booming travel industry.”

Chris Dobson
Managing director, Imagination Hong Kong

“As the physical world becomes ever more digitised and connected, the role that physical spaces – both event and non-event -– play in the communication mix should be re-thought by both clients and agencies alike.

“Brands should no longer be defined by lines; above the line, below the line, online or offline. Instead, the focus should be on creating an eco-system of connected, integrated experiences, with the customer at the heart. This will make brands more valued, and valuable.

“More and more we see brands waking up to these possibilities, and the implications for live communications are huge. When you stop thinking of events as standalone activities, and start to rethink their role in a connected, experience-driven world, the creative opportunities are boundless.”

Lawrence Chia
Chairman of Pico

“2016 was full of change and uncertainty, which presented serious challenges to many industries across Asia. At Pico, we anticipated these changes and have taken a leadership role in this new environment. For example, we further expanded our Pico+ stream, providing more digital marketing and data-driven marketing solutions; and pioneered our P3 Innovation platform, which will test and launch our brand-new generation of disruptive service offerings.

“P3 Space is one of these new offerings – a new start-up incubator in Shanghai which will nurture innovation in the MICE industry. Change is certain to continue to play a central role in 2017. As we have done for the past four-and-a-half decades, Pico will continue to innovate and lead the way, growing and delivering excellence to our global client base.”

Darren Chuckry

In 2016, Uniplan delivered an array of events, including one of the largest grand openings in the history of Macau: The Grand Opening of Parisian Macao and the world’s first touring electric car race when Formula E came to Hong Kong. 

“We also had a huge presence in Auto China 2016, working with seven automotive brands including Maserati, Buick, Cadillac, as well as Chevrolet. We were also the co-organiser of the inaugural Shenzhen International Science Film Week, producing one of the most innovative opening ceremonies in the region, complete with face mapping, projection mapping and VR [virtual reality] technology that left guests in awe.

 “In 2016, we saw AI [artificial intelligence] and technology take a huge leap with VR and augmented reality and we look forward to another immense change in the coming years as we continue to understand and adapt new technologies to live events that connects brands with their audience in interesting and creative ways.

“As VR and AR become more and more prominent in live events, Mixed Reality will be the next big trend that will redefine live experiences in years to come.”

Darren Chuckry on why interactive technology is vital to ‘next-gen’ marketing

Ben Taylor
CEO, Asia Pacific for Project (George P Johnson’s parent company)

“George P Johnson in Asia Pacific is experiencing good growth – current forecasts for 2017 expect double digit growth across the region after some flattening (mainly in China) over the last couple of years. 

“Our growth is being fuelled by three principal drivers. First, we have developed significant digital capabilities with the launch of Juxt (a digital affiliate agency to GPJ) originally in China and now in Singapore and Australia. Secondly, our teams have become closer across the region and focused on collaborating better for the benefit of our clients. And third, we have brought in skilled professionals to expand our capabilities and offerings – particularly in experience and content marketing.”

Michael Chiay
Senior director, Asia Pacific, CWT Meetings & Events

“2016 was another year of growth for CWT Meetings & Events in Asia Pacific, despite a challenging environment in many markets across the region as a result of global economic uncertainty. Demand from China and India remained strong relative to other Apac markets, and was a key driver of increased traffic and prices. 

“Going forward, we expect to see increased momentum in Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) implementation in this region in 2017, and with our global expertise in SMM we are well positioned to lead growth in this sector.”

Jonathan Seevaratnam
Jiggee Events, Malaysia

“It’s been a tremendous year for Jiggee. We hit our 15th year of operations, moved into a new corporate HQ in Malaysia, set up our office in Singapore and embarked on acquiring some key new accounts, namely AirAsia and, while even producing events in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, and Singapore to name a few overseas events we ran in 2016.

“The main goal for 2017 is to expand more in the regional market, especially in Singapore. We have already landed our first event there in May – an international conference that will see heads of major corporations converge in Singapore for a few days of high-level discussions.

“We’ve been appointed technical support vendor, working alongside the client’s primary technical management company, which is based in Florida. So we’re definitely gunning for more international exposure come 2017.”

Robert Rogers
Events Man, Hong Kong

“Events Man has been producing bespoke events in Asia for 15 years. Through that time event budgets have peaked and troughed, yet there has always been opportunities for creative companies to flourish and prosper. With the current uncertainties in Europe and the US we are happy to call Asia home.

“I find I’m very happy remaining a boutique bespoke event design and production company. We work with high-net-worth clients who are very demanding; the level of service and customisation would be difficult to scale while keeping the quality. Best of all, we can currently pick and choose our clients – it is a great place to be.”

Beatrice Remy
Managing director, Asia at WRG Live

“What a year! WRG won the best event agency award on the back of our work in 2015, but 2016 was even more thrilling. With deeper client relationships, our teams made ‘live communication’ more relevant. In truth, creativity is easy but relevance is harder. 

“Asia will power the trend in 2017. The continent has a striking combination of youth, proficiency with mobile technologies, and an innate sense of inventiveness.

It is an incredibly diverse continent; from the highly sophisticated, to aspirational, or frugal markets, the region will seize the moment.”

Dan Hoffend
President, FreemanXP

When announcing the integration of Asia operations in November 2016, Dan Hoffend, president of FreemanXP, said: “Over the last year, we have continued to invest in our agency business with superior talent, building on the strong reputation and unmatched heritage of the teams.

“We are excited to create local expertise backed by global resources as we integrate our operations across Asia Pacific and around the world, providing our clients with access to the best minds from Freeman’s global agency.”

Matthew Chak
x2creative hong kong

”2016 has been a very rewarding year for X2 CREATiVE. In the coming year we aspire to grow our digital business while cultivating opportunities in new markets.”

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