Events Council Blog

Insight from the Hall of Leaders: Edward Liu

Jul 25, 2018

edward-liu2018 Hall of Leaders inductee Edward Liu is the group managing director of Singapore-based CEMS. We talked to him about his long history of success in the events world.

What would you identify as your most enduring contribution to the events industry?

To me, strategic events and exhibitions which anticipate and precede major economic trends play an important role in galvanizing industrial sectors and supporting national economic development and growth. I was involved in launching the first professionally organised “Computa” trade show in Singapore in 1979, three years before the establishment of the National Computer Board by the Singapore government in 1982. Similarly, together with the government agencies, I played a major role in organising and marketing the inaugural airshow, Asian Aerospace 81 in Singapore, as part of the government’s strategic plan to develop the aerospace industry in the country. I am delighted to say that both industries are now key economic sectors in Singapore and major players globally.

In addition, as the first elected President of the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS) in 1981 and the second President of the Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations (AFECA) in 2007, I was heavily involved in promoting Singapore as an international hub for the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibitions (MICE) industry in its formative years, initiating and leading business missions to Europe and the United States. Singapore is recognized as one of the leading cities in the global MICE industry.

When invited to join the IAEE Board in 2001, I had helped to forge active collaboration between IAEE and Asian organisations, especially those in China. My significant contribution was to help the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Headquarters to plan and launch the inaugural China Expo Forum for International Cooperation (CEFCO), in partnership with IAEE, SISO and UFI in 2004. CEFCO is now the second largest event of its kind in the exhibition industry worldwide.;

How do you plan to continue to make an impact on this sector?

 Currently, as the Honorary President of SACEOS and the Immediate Past President of AFECA, I am continuing to offer my services to IAEE in establishing footholds in the Asian exhibition landscape. IAEE is now known throughout Asia, with hundreds of events and exhibition practitioners being trained as Certified Exhibition Managers (CEMs). I have also taught various CEM modules in China and throughout Southeast Asia, especially in Singapore. I am hopeful that IAEE would re-establish a representative office in Singapore, to better serve the Asian region.

What are some of the key considerations event organisers should keep in mind to ensure that their events continue to appeal to and be relevant to global audiences?

Events and exhibitions will always have a critical and commercial role to play in the international marketplace. Event organisers must be mindful of the changing dynamics and demands in the local, regional and global economies. We must also be aware of the demographics and psychographics of our exhibitors and attendees, especially the millennials. To be sure, our events must generate real value and relevant experiences for all parties involved.

Increasingly, technologies are being applied to generate and connect exhibitors with their target audience at trade shows. We are likely to see more of these cutting edge applications being utilised in our events and exhibitions in the years to come.