Khmer Times’ Sok Chan spoke with Isabelle Alfano, construction business unit director at Comexposium, and an organiser of the recently concluded Intermat Asean and Concrete Asia expo held in Bangkok. Ms Alfano spoke about this year’s show and how Asia is a hotbed for construction industry players and why Cambodia is not lagging behind.
KT: What was the theme of this year’s exhibition of Intermat Asean and Concrete Asia?
Ms Alfano: This year Intermat Asean was focused on earthmoving and demolition, roads, minerals and foundations, building industry and lifting, handling and transport. What was special with the show this year was that we decided to co-locate the two shows, Intermat Asean and Concrete Asia, in September. This year the show brought visitors, buyers and delegations from other Asean countries besides Thailand. They are Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore.
KT: How many brands and exhibitors participated in this second edition of the show and why did you choose Thailand?
Ms. Alfano: This year, we had over 500 brands and exhibitors. They are local brands, Thai companies, international companies, and big manufactures. What we are proud of is that the Intermat brand is famous among all participants. Intermat Asian is really dedicated to construction equipment and Concrete Asia for concrete products and equipment. The idea is to bring to public attention the innovations in construction material and in the latest equipment used. We chose Thailand because it is a Southeast Asian hub and the potential for the construction industry in Thailand is really big.
KT: How do such shows benefit the Cambodian industry players?
Ms Alfano: As you know, the show brought a lot of European manufacturers and companies together. Since there are no big construction projects in Europe, and most of the huge construction and infrastructure projects are in Asia, they brought in their relevant equipment. It does not only benefit the Cambodian players, but also the players from the region – in particular Thailand and Vietnam – who need this type of equipment for their infrastructural projects. Thus we had the relevant European and local players under one roof.
KT: What is your expectation for next year?
Ms Alfano: After the second edition of the show, in which we were building our brand name, we will continue to build further on the branding next year. The idea is to definitely growth the show because we think it has big potential. Our show is new, but it is bigger compared to existing shows and we will attract new exhibitors – particularly those who are approaching us in their bid to explore the markets here.
KT: Do you plan to hold the show in other Asean countries in the future?
Ms Alfano: For the moment we have no plans to hold the show in other countries except for Thailand. In my 22 years’ experience in running shows it is never good to move a show from one place to another because all that you have built over the years will be gone. Once you establish a show in a location people get the habit of it and visitors know where to go. If you go to other countries you have to jumpstart again with promotion and so on. However, if there are potential to do another show somewhere else in an Asean country we may try. But, we will still use Thailand for the main shows. In that case, a show in another country will be a local show.
KT: What do you think about the Cambodian construction sector?
Ms Alfano: We do see potential in the construction sector in Cambodia that is why we decided to promote the show even more in Cambodia to attract potential visitors. There is a lot of infrastructure being built in Cambodia at the moment so the idea is that Cambodian buyers or contractors can visit the Thailand show to seek opportunities to do business-matching and find partners. There is no doubt we want to establish long term business relationship in Cambodia.