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Asia is booming and Europe is lagging behind

Asia’s trade show industry is growing strongly, with IDEM Singapore showing significant expansion compared to established events, attracting a notable increase in new exhibitors from various regions. (Image: metamorworks/Shutterstock)

Thu. 18. April 2024


Asia’s trade show industry is experiencing robust growth, IDEM Singapore serving as a prime illustration of this internal dynamic. While stalwart events like the International Dental Show (IDS) are maintaining stability, IDEM Singapore has witnessed remarkable expansion, drawing a significant influx of new exhibitors, thus highlighting a disparity in growth rates between established shows and those in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. Companies from Europe, the US, South America, South Korea and, notably, China are seizing this opportunity.

ASEAN presents fertile ground for business across various industries, and healthcare is experiencing particularly vigorous growth. Constituting approximately 200,000 dentists serving over 650 million citizens, ASEAN’s dental care workforce is poised to potentially triple within the next decade. This trend underscores the appeal of IDEM Singapore, which not only showcases the latest developments but also convenes the entire industry and value chain.

This year and in 2025, Singapore is set to host more healthcare- and medical-related shows. UK-based conference and exhibition expert CloserStill Media, for example, is organising digital healthcare shows, and the Digital Dentistry Show (DDS), premiering in Berlin in Germany this June, is to be expanded to Singapore next year. Heralded as a groundbreaking event concept, DDS is poised to emerge as the premier gathering for the modern dental industry.

The proliferation of smaller, niche-oriented shows in the region signifies ASEAN’s burgeoning specialisation in specific industries. Whereas large horizontal exhibitions in Europe once monopolised global attention, now more international exhibitors are eyeing ASEAN, the Middle East and the US as markets of interest. While China and Europe stabilise, ASEAN’s sustained gross domestic product growth and relatively low inflation are drawing increased attention from international enterprises.

Singapore, positioning itself as an ASEAN—if not Asian—hub, has attracted a substantial influx of foreign investment and new corporate entrants establishing regional headquarters. Having prowess in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry, particularly in the business-to-business arena, Singapore offers an unparalleled environment for trade and networking, complemented by exceptional entertainment options. Moreover, the city-state fosters an ecosystem supportive of start-ups, particularly those with a focus on environmental technologies, service industries, banking and Industry 4.0 technologies.

The array of dental products being showcased at IDEM Singapore reflects Singapore’s status as a hub for dental services, solutions and cutting-edge technologies across various specialist segments. While physical instruments may wane in prominence, digital tools augmented by artificial intelligence herald the future trajectory of the industry.

Meanwhile, Europe faces the imperative to swiftly bridge the gap in the rapidly expanding global MICE markets and cultivate an ecosystem conducive to showcasing modern innovations and technologies. Encouragingly, Europe is witnessing growing trends in start-up creation and intensified scientific endeavours, setting the stage for it to reclaim global leadership. I anticipate IDS 2025 and DDS to serve as potent catalysts for growth in the dental industry, redirecting focus towards the European market. Ultimately, market dynamics will dictate where buyers converge and where business flourishes.

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