The word 'marcoms' entered common usage in Asia relatively recently as more companies warmed to the idea of having a marketing and communications specialist or department on board. MarComAsia '98 is a new event - the first Asian-based show for the global marcoms industry. It is aimed at fostering networking and business opportunities in the advertising, marketing and communications industries. Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), the show will run from today until Friday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. According to TDC senior manager (exhibitions) Benjamin Chau, the event has attracted more than 100 exhibitors. The best of the industry's innovative materials, equipment and technology will be on display. In recognition of the great allure of the mainland consumer market, a China Media Pavilion will be one of the highlights of the event. A blue-chip group of more than 60 major media exhibitors from the mainland will display their products and services and outline opportunities for outsiders in the China market. The mainland Chinese exhibitors include most national and regional print and electronic media outlets as well as major advertising groups. Mr Chau said: 'Marketers from all over the world are eager to tap the China market.' The mainland is regarded as having the best advertising growth in the region over the next five years, with adspend expected to increase by 30 per cent per year to 136 billion yuan (HK$127 billion) in 2001. Mr Chau said the China Media Pavilion was an excellent channel to help marketers locate the right mainland partner to bring their products and services to that market. The three-day event will also feature a conference and a series of seminars covering trends, opportunities and challenges for advertising and marcoms in the region. The speakers will in clude senior government officials from the mainland. Exhibitors will include advertising and public relations agencies, media and marketing companies and equipment and material suppliers. Visitors will include senior executives from the marcoms, public relations and advertising industries from around the world. According to the TDC, the event is also ideal for entrepreneurs and owners of small and medium-sized enterprises seeking guidance in marketing their products or messages. Mr Chau said the event would provide a cost-effective channel to meet potential clients, promote services and make contacts. As the marcoms industry coped with the regional downturn, it could use the opportuni ty to sharpen its competitive edge in Asia and position itself for the inevitable recovery. 'The Asia-Pacific economy is expected to continue its growth into the 21st century, despite the recent financial turmoil in some economies,' Mr Chau said. This would create demand for new media and marketing concepts and tools. The chairman of the Hong Kong Advertisers' Association, Anthony Lau, said Asian advertisers welcomed new technologies and means of promotion. 'The world's attention is on Asia, especially China. To tap the China market, marketers around the world are looking for the right media to hit the right target groups in the right geographic regions,' he said. MarComAsia '98 is sponsored by the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of Hong Kong, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Hong Kong Advertisers' Association, the Hong Kong Institute of Marketing and the Hong Kong Independent Advertising Agencies Association. The TDC intends to make MarComAsia an annual event to enhance Hong Kong's position as Asia's media, advertising and marketing centre.