Education will be a big feature of this year's exhibition, according to Alan Wong, director for services promotion at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), which is one of the organisers. 'An event like this lets the Hong Kong investing public see the full spectrum of services and products available,' Mr Wong said. 'Also, we feel especially this year that investor education is very important. Our sponsors have all got together to highlight this part of our focus.' The HKTDC hopes to enhance public knowledge of basic investment principles through the investment seminars being run alongside the exhibition at the weekend. 'The idea is to make the investor more aware of how to exercise risk management. The current concerns about investors' rights will also be addressed,' he said. The TDC is expecting about 60 companies to take part in the exhibition with 250-300 participants in today's conference on the theme of investment opportunities in Hong Kong and mainland China. Most of the 20,000 visitors expected at the event would be members of the public rather than industry professionals, Mr Wong said. The TDC and the exhibition sponsors, including the Securities and Futures Commission and the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, were aiming at deepening public awareness of the benefits and potential pitfalls of investing. 'The present atmosphere demands that we do so,' he said. 'We already have some foreign participants in the exhibition area and we look forward to expanding the conference part into a regional forum where broad issues can be discussed.' This year, the conference sector will concentrate on how Hong Kong is weathering the financial storm and new developments in the local financial scene, notably the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) and the development of a securitised mortgage market. 'The other area we will be concentrating on is mainland China,' Mr Wong said. 'The conference will cover topics like the valuation of the yuan, the equitisation of state enterprises and how Hong Kong is acting as a centre to channel funds to finance the mainland's development.' China had become 'perhaps the most important market for financial services in the foreseeable future' and Mr Wong said the presence of authoritative mainland speakers at MoneyWorld Asia was timely. Compared with some of the massive events organised by the HKTDC, MoneyWorld Asia is by no means a big show - the Book Fair, for example, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. However, Mr Wong said this event was aimed at a specialised audience. The idea of broadening the event into a regional forum was a long-term one, he said. 'Hong Kong is in the right position and has the right ingredients to make it regional, if not international. We are already a regional financial centre. We already have sizeable depth and breadth of financial services. International participation is entrenched in the Hong Kong financial markets,' Mr Wong said. 'What is new and exciting is the developments in mainland China. All these state enterprises need expertise and financial support in making their transformations. Hong Kong will act as a conduit to funnel the necessary expertise and funds to help them.'