Hong Kong is looking to bolster its role as one of Asia's leading trade fair locations by staging eight new events from next year. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council yesterday released details of the new events, six of which will be located at the 66,000-square-metre Asia World-Expo site at Chek Lap Kok. The industries covered by the fairs will be printing and packaging; car parts; leisure vehicles; building materials and construction equipment; furniture; environmental technology; textile manufacturing; and medical and health care. 'We are certain these shows will become the major trade fairs of their kind in Asia, if not the world,' said the council's assistant executive director Benjamin Chau Kai-leung. He predicted the new events would bring more than 2,000 new exhibitors, 40,000-50,000 new 'business tourists', about 1,800 jobs and billions of dollars in spin-off benefits to Hong Kong in their first three years. The fairs would complement, rather than compete, with mega-shows being staged in mainland cities. Mr Chau said: 'Most of those shows are developed for the mainland domestic market, whereas the shows in Hong Kong attract an international audience. Of course, there will be co-operation and competition [with the mainland] in the future, but we have been doing this for 35 years and are confident that we can keep our leading position.' The announcement of the new fairs also gives the council and the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association the opportunity to renew their call for more exhibition space to be built in Hong Kong. Once Asia World-Expo is open at the end of the year, the city will have about 125,000 square metres of exhibition space, against a planned 249,500 in Shanghai and 250,000 in Guangzhou. Singapore's exhibition centre offers 100,000 square metres. The association's chairman, Stanley Chu Yu-lun, said about 2,000 potential exhibitors at this month's Gift and Premium Fair had to be placed on a waiting list after the initial 3,200 places at the Convention and Exhibition Centre were filled. Not only was there a shortage of space for these mega-events, the space that was available was too expensive. Mr Chu said: 'The rate for the off-peak season at the Convention and Exhibition Centre is more than US$3 per square metre a day. We hope Asia World-Expo can offer more competitive rates than that.'