HONG KONG'S STATURE as the 'trade fair capital of Asia' has produced a steady flow of jobs in the exhibition sector since the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) opened. A leading local trade fair organiser, Kenfair International (Holdings), is predicting an even brighter future, along with many more opportunities, as the industry expands with China's entry into the World Trade Organisation. Kenfair's experience alone underlines the growth of the industry. The company's exhibitions focus on toys, gifts, premium and household products - the lifeblood of manufacturing in the Pearl River Delta. Last year, the listed group organised two 'mega fairs' in Hong Kong - HK International Toys & Gifts and Asian Gifts and Household Products - along with Asia Expo shows in London and Las Vegas. This year, two additional Asia Expo exhibitions will be held in Shanghai and Poland. 'Our mega fairs are already among the largest in Asia with up to 4,600 stands and more than 60,000 visitors, but the industry is still expanding and we are expanding with it, creating many more openings,' said general manager Javed Khan. 'We expect even more growth in the coming years.' With the HKCEC operating almost at capacity, Hong Kong's status as a trade fair capital is set for another boost with a new exhibition centre at the airport, the AsiaWorld - Expo. The industry is also booming on the mainland with many new exhibition centres opening, including the world's largest venue for 20,000 booths at the Canton Trade Fair site in Guangzhou. 'China is growing really fast with a lot more buyers converging on the 'world's factory' and we are expanding our market reach there. This growth means we need more people to work in the industry,' said Mr Khan. With a workforce of 110 in Hong Kong and another 50 in its mainland offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Dongguan and Shenzhen, Kenfair is on the lookout for supervisors and co-ordinators to help run and develop its business across the border. Jobs are also in the sales and marketing of shows, encouraging companies to participate. Other openings are for trade show staff. Kenfair sends 40 to 50 people to each exhibition. They are involved in designing stands, customer service, logistics and freighting. At the head office in Harbour City, the company has growing departments running its website ( www.kenfair.com ), a trade magazine called MegAsia and Kenfair Travel, a dedicated travel agency which organises flights and accommodation for its hundreds of exhibitors. Openings are at all levels. Experience is especially required for office managers and supervisors in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as assistant sales managers. Junior posts such as sales executives or in exhibition operations require no particular experience, although multilingualism is a bonus because shows are organised around the world. More important, said Mr Khan, was for recruits to be 'keen, eager to learn, dynamic and hard working with an ability to react to unexpected events quickly'. Promotion is clearly defined at Kenfair - from trainee to executive/officer, manager and senior management. 'Don't expect to climb the corporate ladder quickly,' said Mr Khan. 'But we do offer comprehensive training, an opportunity to become established in a lucrative industry and a chance to broaden horizons.' The trade fair business can be exhausting. Clients are scattered around the world in different time zones, which can mean long hours keeping in touch with them. The trade fairs are also hectic and virtually around the clock. But there are compensations. Beyond what Mr Khan describes as 'reasonable' salaries, Kenfair evaluates staff appraisals and company performance to decide the size of bonuses. After exhausting shows, staff are given three or four days off, allowing time for some sightseeing in any particular destination. At its headquarters, Kenfair has a full-time massage therapist to keep staff relaxed. 'He is kept busy most of the time,' said Mr Khan. 'You have to book in advance.' He said the global economic rebound meant a 'promising outlook' for the trade fair industry as a whole, and also recommended it for its variety. 'It can be tiring, but it's a fun business,' said Mr Khan. 'We are a service industry, so you get to meet a lot of people from all walks of life and there is a lot of travel. 'You get a good feeling of accomplishment when you start a show from ground zero with the organisation and finally finish it. It's a very satisfying and interesting industry to be involved in.' KEY POINTS Hong Kong is the trade fair capital of Asia. Brighter future in exhibition industry with China's entry into WTO. Trade fair organiser Kenfair growing from four to six expos this year. Jobs for managers on the mainland and at all levels in Hong Kong. Posts available from sales and marketing to design, customer service, logistics and freighting to website, magazine and travel agency. Multilingualism a bonus - plus ability to react to unexpected events quickly. Opportunities to travel, plus training in growth industry. Pay includes discretionary bonuses.