Messe Frankfurt celebrates 30th year in Asia AsiaEurope

Messe Frankfurt is celebrating its 30th year in Asia, as Hong Kong marks the 20th anniversary of its handover to China.

Three decades have passed since Messe Frankfurt launched its first overseas fair – Interstoff Asia in Hong Kong in 1987. Since then, the company has established a foothold in Greater China and Asia.

Stephan Buurma, member of the extended board of management of Messe Frankfurt GmbH, explained how the geographical and economic advantages of Hong Kong have powered the company’s ongoing success in Asia. “Strategically located at the heart of Asia, Hong Kong enjoys close proximity to China and strong connections with the rest of the world. We also benefit from the well-established legal and financial systems the city offers.

“And of course, our professional and dedicated staff members constitute a big part of our success and continued financial growth. When we started a small office in Hong Kong in the beginnings, we had less than 10 employees. Today, this office has grown to become the headquarters for Asia, overseeing close to 700 employees across the region. The number of fairs and events we organise in Asia also expanded rapidly during this time, from three to over 70.”

Among these fairs are some world-leading events, including Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics and Automechanika Shanghai, which is the largest automotive fair of its kind in Asia.


1987: Messe Frankfurt launches its first trade fair in Asia, Interstoff Asia – International Fabric Show, in Hong Kong in October.

1994: The company’s second Asian subsidiary, Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, is established in July to cope with the growing business in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

1995: A branch office of Messe Frankfurt (HK) is opened in Taipei to oversee the increasing participation of Taiwanese companies at trade fairs in Europe.

1995: Intertextile Beijing, which takes place in October, is Messe Frankfurt’s first event in Mainland China, held jointly with The Sub-Council of Textile Industry, China Council for Promotional Trade. This marks the start of a long and successful partnership for apparel fabrics and home textiles events in China in the years to come.

1996: A new fair for the stationery industry, Pen & Paper, is launched in Hong Kong in partnership with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. The event is renamed as the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair in 2001.

2002: The growing trade fair business in China and an increasing number of joint ventures and business partnerships necessitate the opening of an office in Shanghai in March – the company’s first office in Mainland China.

2003: Messe Frankfurt opens an office in Beijing in May to manage the rapidly growing outgoing business and assist Chinese companies to attend fairs in Frankfurt and around the world.

2005: In October, Messe Frankfurt establishes a joint venture company with Guangzhou Guangya Exhibition Co Ltd, forming Guangzhou Guangya Messe Frankfurt – organiser of the biggest lighting fair in Asia and the second largest in the world.

2009: Messe Frankfurt New Era Business Media Ltd becomes a subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd. Based in Taiwan, it is responsible for exhibitions, conferences, websites and magazines related to security.

2013: Messe Frankfurt New Era Business Media Ltd establishes a subsidiary in Shenzhen to better promote its safety and security portfolio, and offer expanded services for the Mainland China market.

2014: Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and the Guangdong Toy Association (GDTA) form a joint venture, Guangzhou Li Tong Messe Frankfurt Co Ltd, to organise the Toy & Hobby China and Baby & Stroller China fairs.


Tom Hall

Editor, Exhibition World