Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) has acquired the rights and equity interest held by IEC Investments Limited, and ultimately, the ownership of Hong Kong’s biggest events space, AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE). Through the deal, AA is now the sole owner of AWE, and manages and operates the conference facilities.
Based on a press statement, an AA spokesperson said that the authority is in an “advantageous position to realise the full potential of the synergy between SKYCITY and AWE, engendered by their proximity to each other and complementary businesses.” The spokesperson added that the acquisition would also enhance the overall “operational efficiency” at the Hong Kong International Airport.
“This is an interesting and positive development for Hong Kong’s exhibition market,” said Mark Cochrane, regional manager, Asia Pacific, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI). “It leaves two AWE shareholders, AA and the Hong Kong Government. This could clear the way to expand AWE or perhaps develop the surrounding area to include other attractions.”
Following the acquisition, Irene Chan was hired as new CEO of AWE to replace Allen Ha. Chan has held various managerial positions in AA in the fields of passenger services, commercial leasing and licensing.
“AA clearly has some operational and strategy changes in mind since they immediately appointed a new CEO of AWE. However, it is too early to say what those changes will be,” said Cochrane.
At the moment, AWE provides over 70,000 sqm of events space, and AA is planning to bolster that through the execution of Skycity, a neighbouring site for AWE’s Phase 2 developments. Skycity will be a major commercial complex complete with integrated dining, retail, entertainment, and a hotel.