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An In-depth Comparative Analysis of Seoul and Singapore, World’s Greatest Convention City 2. A Comparative Analysis of Supplied Infrastructure

2. A Comparative Analysis of Supplied Infrastructure

Total Supply of MICE Infrastructure in Singapore Is 4.4-Fold That of Seoul

Singapore: total size of 282,755㎡ (exhibition space of 193,940㎡ and meeting room space of 89,815㎡)
One single major indicator for the supply in MICE industry is the size of available infrastructure for holding MICE events. The MICE infrastructure available in Singapore and Seoul can be sized up in dedicated MICE facilities such as exhibition & convention centers and MICE multiplexes. For its dedicated MICE facilities, Singapore has secured Singapore Expo (with an exhibition space of 99,560㎡ and a meeting room space of 13,889㎡) matching the size of KINTEX (with an exhibition space of 100,000m2) in Korea, Changi Exhibition Centre (with an exhibition space of 38,660㎡ and a meeting room space of 1,905㎡) that matches the size of COEX (36,007㎡), and SUNTEC which secured through its 2013 remodelling a big multipurpose space (with an exhibition area of 23,970㎡ and a meeting room sapce of 15,000㎡). The total size of space available from the three facilities is 192,284㎡ with an exhibition space of 162,190㎡ and a meeting room space of 30,794㎡.

Integrated MICE facilities built according to Singaporean policy for reinvigorating services
The integrated MICE facilities, which Singapore has attracted according to its policy for revitalizing service industry, constitute infrastructure which includes hotels, shopping and entertainment facilities as well as exhibition and convention facilities. Among them, Sands Expo Convention Center possesses various premier-grade accommodation for events and participants with the size comprising an exhibition space of 31,750㎡ and a meeting room space of 43,148㎡ and partitionable big spaces in the form of ballrooms, while Resorts World Convention Center provides functions for hosting meetings and incentives with its secured meeting room space of 14,873㎡. The space supplied by the two integrated MICE facilities amounts to 89,771㎡, with an exhibition space of 31,750㎡ and a meeting room space of 58,021㎡. Meanwhile, the space available from the Singaporean MICE infrastructure supplied with the five facilities is 282,755㎡ with an exhibition space of 193,940㎡ and a meeting room space of 88,815㎡.

Seoul: total size of 64,414㎡ (exhibition space of 51,377㎡ and meeting room space of 13,037㎡)
Seoul has only dedicated MICE facilities, and its big three facilities are COEX, aT Center, and SETEC. COEX is the largest facility in Seoul that can accommodate large exhibitions and meetings with a total space of 47,130㎡ comprising an exhibition space of 36,007㎡ and a meeting room space of 11,123㎡. And SETEC has a total size of 8,787㎡ that includes an exhibition space of 7,948㎡ and 839㎡, whereas aT Center has a total size of 8,497㎡ comprising an exhibition space of 7,422㎡ and a meeting room space of 1,075㎡, thus equipped with a total space that can handle small-and-mid-sized exhibitions and meetings. Meantime, the total exhibition space available from the three Seoul facilities is 64,414㎡ with an exhibition space of 51,337㎡ and meeting room space of 13,037㎡.

Changes to Available MICE Infrastructure

Singapore: about 2-fold increase for last decade through expansion every 5 years of exhibition space and meeting rooms
Let’s look at the changes that arrived to the MICE infrastructure made available in Singapore and Seoul in the first decade of the new millennium and later. To begin with, Singapore began to build dedicated MICE facilities from the mid-to-late 1990s and coming into 2000, secured an exhibition space of 110,220㎡ and meeting room space of 33,068㎡. Five years later in 2005, the expansion of Singapore Expo added an exhibition space of 40,000㎡, thus increasing its total available exhibition space to 150,220㎡. Afterwards in the late first decade of the new millennium, the city acquired MICE infrastructure through integrated resort facilities to secure as of 2010 an exhibition space of 181,970㎡ and a meeting room space of 91,089㎡. In 2013, the city implemented the remodelling designed to add more exhibition and multipurpose facilities inside the SUNTEC facilities, thus increasing its space available in 2014 1.97-fold the size of 2000, with a total space of 282,755㎡ including an exhibition space of 193,940㎡ and a meeting room space of 88,815㎡.

Seoul: total supply stagnates for a decade since 2004
In 2000, Seoul came to acquire three facilities of COEX, SETEC, and Jungsogieop Exhibition Hall on Yoido, thus securing a total space of 65,220㎡ with an exhibition space of 53,258㎡ and a meeting room space of 11,962㎡. With the 2002 construction of aT Center (with an exhibition space of 7,422㎡ and a meeting room space of 1,075㎡), and with the 2003 closure of Jungsogieop Exhibition Hall on Yoido (9,303㎡), total available space dwindled to 64,414㎡ (with an exhibition space of 51,377㎡ and a meeting room space of 13,037㎡). In 2004 and later, there was no change to the available size of MICE infrastructure in Seoul, and as of 2014, the stagnancy continues.

Analysis of MICE Infrastructure by Facility

[Singapore] Diverse Available Infrastructure That Can Handle Demand Specific to MICE Type and Event Size

① Singapore Expo (SINGEX): largest MICE facility in Singapore

Super-large dedicated MICE facility with 100,000m2 responding to the changing global demand
As the largest exhibition and convention facility in Singapore, Singapore Expo was built in 1999 by PSA Corporation, the world’s largest port operator, with a budget (S$220mn) provided by Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). Singapore Expo came into existence as a facility that continued the tradition of World Trade Center (WTC), which was demolished after serving as the foundation for Singaporean trade fair during the 1980s and 1990s. Following its construction, it went on with expansion and refurbishing of its facilities in response to the continued growth and diversification of MICE demand, and thus, it has secured its current size of about 100,000m2. As of 2014, the total size of Singapore Expo is 123,743㎡ including an indoor exhibition space of 99,560㎡, a meeting room space of 13,889㎡, and an outdoor exhibition space of 10,294㎡.

Efforts for its rebirth as a global business park focusing on exhibition and convention centers
Located in Changi Business Park which masses high-tech companies, knowledge intensive facilities, multinationals, banks, financial and logistics industry, Singapore Expo serves as a central facility for global networking and business exchange for governments, international trade organizations, associations, and groups, implements efforts to revitalize the center and its neighborhood as a business, event, and lifestyle hub through continuously promoted development and upgrade efforts. Looking ahead, the city’s development plan aims to create a more vigorous urban ecosystem by turning the currently center-focused district into an integrated and eco-friendly space that masses business hotels, serviced residence, offices, and retail stores. And the effect will be doubled with the completion of Technology & Design University in 2015 and the transfer station that connects Expo speed rail to city lines in 2016 or 2017.

② SUNTEC: urban-style dedicated MICE facility located in highly accessible city center

Remodelling implemented due to intensified competition in the market and thus handling various professional & ordinary events
As a MICE facility taking up the heart of Singapore City, SUNTEC is Singapore’s representative urban-style dedicated exhibition & convention center that has since its 1995 opening hosted a yearly average of some 16,000 events. Recently, SUNTEC carried out remodelling for a year starting in June 2012, facing intensifying competition from the newly emerging integrated MICE facilities such as Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa and due to the ageing of the facilities. Existing facilities were given new uses through remodelling and integrated shopping mall was secured with a focus on the multipurpose functionality of the facilities, thus reopening with a new look in June 2013. Following the remodelling, SUNTEC’s exhibition facilities came to include the 2F multipurpose exhibition hall that could handle various events such as art exhibition, product launch, and trade fair, a dedicated exhibition hall on 4F and 5F, and a multipurpose hall on 6F. Composed of three halls, the dedicated exhibition hall has the space of 23,970㎡, while the size of the 36 small-and-medium-sized meeting rooms is 15,000㎡, with its structure designed to connect to the sky garden.

Located at the city center, providing opportunities to connect to various infrastructure in the neighborhood
The biggest advantage of SUNTEC is that located in downtown Singapore, it is very well furnished with lodging and F&B infrastructure. Notably, the area is crowded with such hotels as Conrad, Mandarin Oriental, Marina Mandarin, Ritz-Carlton, and Pan Pacific, which has a total accommodation of 5,200 guest rooms. Furthermore, additional opportunities for various activities provided by 1,000 or so stores, 300 or so restaurants, theaters, SUNTEC City Tower, Marina Square Shopping Center, and six museums and art centers now constitute an important factor that MICE event participants could consider in deciding their participation.

③ Changi Exhibition Centre: specialized indoor exhibition room holding world’s top 3 airshows

Owning an outdoor exhibition space of 100,000㎡ that can handle an exhibition of heavy equipment
Changi Exhibition Centre is a dedicated MICE infrastructure located in the site 1) (300,000㎡; 30ha) close to Changi Coast Road which is 10 minutes away from Changi International Airport. And possessing 40,000m2 indoor exhibition & convention facilities and 100,000m2 outdoor exhibition facility, it can host domestic and international large events and trade fairs or ordinary exhibitions. Originally built to host Asian Aerospace 2), it is owned as of 2008 by Experia Events Pte Ltd, an event organizer and owner of Changi Exhibition Centre with its name changed to Singapore Airshow. And Changi Exhibition Centre has become a facility that holds one of the world’s top 3 airshows every two years. Equipped with not only an indoor space but also a large outdoor exhibition space, it is located at a transportation hub with excellent access by air, sea, and land, which leads to all so many exhibitions related to aviation & space, maritime defense, and automobile which are held at the facility.

④ Sands EXPO and Convention Center: world’s largest facility integrating business and resort that can host East Asia’s largest high-class events

Latest facility integrating business and resort including East Asia’s largest grand ballroom (accommodating 11,000 people)
Sands Expo Convention Center is an exhibition & convention facility located in Marina Bay Sands, a resort multiplex integrating business and resort, opened in June 2010 after it was built with investment by US-based Las Vegas Sands. Through the resort multiplex construction project which was carried out according to its policy for fostering service industry, Singapore built this mega integrated infrastructure that masses convention center, hotel, ship-shaped sky park swimming pool, casino, mall, and museum. The size of the convention center is 74,898㎡ with an exhibition space of 31,750㎡ and a meeting room space of 43,148㎡, which can accommodate 20,000 booths and 45,000 participants. The exhibition facility includes 6 halls with 3 of them each on two underground floors and one ground floor, while 250 meeting rooms are scattered between 3F and 5F. Grand Ballroom on 5F, which has the largest size in Southeast Asia, can accommodate 11,000 participants (in a theater-style setting). The biggest advantage that Sands Expo and Convention Center as a MICE venue is that it enables all accessory activities inside the resort. The experience in the hotel, mall, concert hall, casino, museum, and the Infinity Pool, which is famous as a swimming pool lying closest to the sky, exercises great influence in increasing the satisfaction of participants with their MICE participation.

⑤ Resorts World Convention Centre: an integrated MICE facility that accommodates incentives with various team building or recreational activities and high-class group events

An integrated MICE facility that satisfies two-pronged needs of visitors: event participation and entertainment
Resorts World Sentosa, an integrated resort facility located on Sentosa island that’s connected to the mainland Singapore through a 500m bridge, lies 25 minutes from Changi International Airport and 10 minutes from downtown Singapore. Resorts World Convention Centre, which is inside the resort, provides variously-shaped small or large MICE event spaces that can accommodate various types of meetings, seminars, incentive events including team building activities, and corporate group events, various lodgings, theme park, entertainment, museum, aquarium, shopping mall, and restaurants. For MICE convention centers, it includes Compass Ballroom (6,000㎡) that can hold 6,500 persons and 30 small or medium-sized meeting rooms, with a total size of 14,873㎡ and a one-time accommodation of 35,000 persons. With the entire island developed as a single entertainment compound, Resorts World Sentosa satisfies the diverse-ranging needs from participants with its attracting facilities of Universal Studio, Festive Walk, an outdoor performance facility, and Marine Life Park, and distinctive boutique hotels such as Crockfords Tower, Michael Hotel, Festive Hotel, Hardrock Hotel, Aquarius Hotel, and Beach Villas.

[Seoul] Saturated operation of infrastructure with exhibition & convention and small-and-medium-sized events focusing on international business

⑥ COEX: Seoul’s largest exhibition & convention center sitting at the heart of international trade, business, and culture & entertainment

Seoul’s leading dedicated MICE facility that accommodates international events such as trade & consumer fair and summit meetings
COEX, which gathers a daily average of 150,000 visitors as Korea’s leading hub in international exchange, business, and culture & entertainment, is the largest dedicated MICE facility in Seoul. Having debuted as KOEX in 1979, it began its new life as COEX in 2000 through the expansion of exhibition facilities and addition of convention facilities, which was carried out in preparation for ASEM Summit. It is owned by Korea International Trade Association and operated by COEX, Co., Ltd. The size of the facility is 47,130㎡ with an exhibition space of 36,007㎡ (in 4 halls) and a meeting room space of 11,123㎡. For meeting rooms, it has 54 small and medium-sized meeting rooms, a grand conference room holding 7,000 people, and an auditorium (1,058 seats), thus performing an important function as Seoul’s sole facility that can accommodate large international events.

The representative MICE facility in downtown Seoul, boasting 65% in capacity utilization.
COEX holds each year over 140 professional exhibitions and consumer fairs such as KIMES, Seoul Cafe Show, and BeFe as Korea’s leading exhibitions, reaching saturation with minimum 65% in capacity utilization. Also, as Seoul’s sole facility that has the capacity for holding large international meetings or summit talks that bring in over 3,000 people, COEX hosts each year 2,000 or so meetings such as Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in 2000, G20 Summit in 2010, and 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. One single advantage of COEX is that it provides connectivity with Asia’s largest underground shopping mall, three 5-star hotels and residences, two premium office towers, department store, subway, downtown airport terminal, multiplex cinema, aquarium, and casino because it is located in the city center with such infrastructure. Since no concrete plan is ready for adding extra resources to the currently saturated space, everyone is watching how it would respond in the way of securing competitiveness for future growth.

⑦ SETEC (Seoul Trade Exhibition & Convention): a MICE facility for new growth engine industry and small and medium business in Seoul

A small-sized exhibition & convention facility designed to support small and medium business’ advancement to overseas markets and increased export
SETEC opened in 1999 as a dedicated exhibition & convention center operated by Seoul Business Agency (SBA), an agency funded by Seoul Metropolitan Government, and was called Seoul Trade Exhibition Center, initially managed and operated by KOTRA. In 2005 when it was acquired by SBA affiliated with Seoul Metropolitan Government, a convention center was added and its name changed to Seoul Trade Exhibition & Convention, and is now shortened to its acronym, SETEC. Its size is 8,787,㎡ with an exhibition space of 7,948㎡ (with 3 halls) and a meeting room space of 839㎡ (with 4 units), and has a grand conference room that can hold up to 300 people. As an exhibition & convention space dedicated to new growth engine industry and small and medium business in Seoul, it hosts a yearly minimum of 60 events such as Small and Medium Business Fair, G-Fair Korea, International Franchise Business Expo, and Seoul Collection, serving 1.5 million buyers and viewers. The facility is appropriate for hosting exhibitions and events for small and medium business and holding cultural performances, as it has 16 hotels within a 3km radius including such 5-star hotels as Intercontinental Hotel and Lotte Hotel, and is just 5 minutes to Hangnyeoul Station on Subway Line 3 and Daemosan Station on Bundang Line. But its disadvantage is that it cannot host internationally competitive events or large events with diverse accessory events, since it is surrounded with residential areas and has no noticeable opportunities available for additional activities.

⑧ aT Center: a trade fair dedicated to farm food that provides package supports for export of farm products

A small-time exhibiton & convention facility that hosts exhibitions and meetings on farm products
aT Center, which provides total support for farm product export, opened in November 2002 with the purpose of strengthening agricultural competitiveness and fostering exportable farming. As an exhibition facility dedicated to farm products, aT Center is also used for meetings and seminars mainly operated by agricultural associations and companies, and its size is 8,497㎡ with an exhibition space of 7,422㎡ (with 2 halls) and a meeting room space of 1,075㎡. With 50 or so companies including the head office of Korean Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation, Korean Agro-Fisheries and Food Business Support Center, Trade Information Center, agricultural ventures, and international trade companies, the facility also serves to host related exhibitions, meetings, and events. Currently, however, as its exhibitions facilities and meeting rooms are small and don’t have enough neighboring infrastructure for additional activities such as food and beverage, culture, relaxation, and entertainment, it cannot be expected to function as a dedicated MICE facility.


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