The new centre is expected to generate a profit in its first full year AsiaWorld-Expo is expected to generate $2.8 billion in economic contributions in 2006 as it stages 12 events new to Hong Kong's exhibition industry, a study by a business consultancy firm has found. This will push the exhibition industry's economic contribution from $7.3 billion in 2002 to $10 billion by 2006. The new venue is also expected to generate a profit in 2006, which will be its first year of full operation. The study was completed last month by Business Strategies Group to assess the centre's economic impact. The research was based on models used by the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association. It also shows that the new exhibition centre will boost visitor arrival figures by 450,000 annually. About 350 exhibition-related jobs would be created, and another 2,200 jobs - mainly in tourism - in other industries. The 12 new events, mostly recurrent, include Pacific Asia Travel Association Travel Mart, a direct selling show and three export shows for mainland exhibitors. Asia World-Expo's deputy chief executive Allen Ha Wing-on said the centre would open a new market to the exhibition industry. He refused to confirm how the centre's rates compared with those of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. 'We compare our rates to top international cities. The rates will be higher than those in Shanghai, similar to Singapore and lower than those in London,' he said. Merle Hinrichs, chairman and chief executive of Global Sources, said his company would invest more than $400 million in the next three years in exhibitions at AsiaWorld-Expo. They will offer up to 16,000 booths annually. 'The fairs we will operate here will be in addition to events we run under the same names in Shanghai,' he said. '[We're doing this because] about 60 per cent of China exporters are representatives from the two areas [Yangtze Delta and Pearl River Delta].' Cliff Wallace, managing director of HKCEC said they expected to maintain their current event level in the coming two years. About 2,000 events are held each year including 100 exhibitions. An artist's impression of AsiaWorld-Expo, which is to host 12 new events.