Mihas 2018 or my first tradeshow in Asia
Those who know me personally know that I travel on a yearly basis to South East Asia. As those trips seem to get more regular in the last few months, I thought of taking the opportunity to check out a trade fair in Asia during one of my visits. So that’s what I did by visiting one in Kuala Lumpur. And I did discover a very nice specimen with MIHAS, the Malaysia International Halal Showcase.
A few differences, but as professional as in Europe
Some warned me I would waste my time, others told me they were certain that shows in Asia must be “very very very very different”, … Basically, I heard many comments from experts who didn’t know anything. Anyway, the best way to learn about a tradeshow is to go and visit. And believe me when I say that in terms of differences, it’s mostly cultural. People speak a different language; the approach of the tradeshow discussion is of course a bit different, but all in all, my experience showed me that I was right not to listen to experts who have never been further than their own offices.
Some high standards
The organization in itself of the MIHAS was very professional. I was impressed to discover that many aspects I expect from a trade show were present. Let me highlight the most prominent ones:
- The venue itself was a very modern building with modern facilities. I can tell you that compared to venues I am used to in Europe, the MITEC has nothing to envy and is already one of my favorite sites. Although the layout of the event required you to be ready to do some stepping. To give you an idea: the show was on level 6 and 7 and the media room was on the other side of the building. So it’s a good thing I took good shoes.
- In terms of registration, I couldn’t have had an easier job. After registering online, I came with my registration QR code saved on my phone and could get my badge at one of the self-check-in counter. So no requirement to print a confirmation on paper, to have then a badge printed on location like for certain shows in Europe. It was weird though that once I had my badge; nobody was there to scan it at the entrance of the exhibition hall. Nevertheless, easy and no paper wasted, so I liked it.
- A conference program: throughout the show, seminars and workshops lead by industry experts or exhibitors were held and anyone could attend. Although if the organization could avoid announcing very loudly every five minutes the start of the next session, I am sure it would make the trade show visit much more pleasant.
- A buyer’s lounge: registered buyers could participate to a networking event and meet directly with companies. For exhibitors, it was an extra opportunity to approach potential customers. Of course, the buyer’s lounge received its own dedicated area on the exhibition ground.
- A matching tool: prior to the show I could prepare my visit online, and even organize meetings with exhibitors thanks to the Mihas Connect system. Again, a matching tool is something every tradeshow should put at the disposal of its visitors.
My 20/CENT: pleasantly surprised
All in all I didn’t experience any shock when visiting this MIHAS. On the contrary I had a very pleasant experience discovering a new trade show and trends in the halal industry. And when I mean industry, I need to point out that MIHAS covers not only the food and beverage categories but also offered non food sections, an area dedicated for ecommerce, another one for travel and tourism, and last but not least one for finance and banking.
Finally I have to point out I was surprised that most of the country represented were from Asia. It seems that all international state agencies, Europeans, North and South Americans, are completely unaware of the event. All you say? No not all! Belgium was the only international ‘non Asian’ pavilion on the fair, next to a lonely French manufacturer. Well I guess that it shows that the MIHAS has still a great growth opportunity and can attract many more foreign visitors and exhibitors.
Ps: check out the next article about my findings on the show
Check out 20/CENT Retail on YouTube here : https://youtu.be/AEspTw3B7KA
Check out the pictures of 20/CENT’s visit to the event on the Facebook @20CENTRetail: https://www.facebook.com/pg/20CENTRetail/photos/?tab=albums