THE demand for exhibitions in any industry is strong, but Hong Kong's lack of venue space is holding business back, according to a major fair organiser. ''All organisations in Hong Kong are facing a shortage of venue space,'' said Derek Dickens, managing director of the Hong Kong Trade Fair Group. ''Never mind if you want 10 new exhibitions - you have to wait for permission.'' He said the company was eagerly anticipating the completion of the Wan Chai reclamation project in 10 months. The HK$429 million project will facilitate a 30,000 sq metre extension of the Convention and Exhibition Centre. Four months ago, British-based business information services group United Newspapers acquired Trade Fair Group as part of its US$50 million investment in Asia. United organises 150 trade fairs and publishes more than 200 magazines worldwide. Trade Fair Group operates seven regular exhibitions, most of them in Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Yokohama. Its initial cash consideration was US$35 million. A further amount of up to $9 million is payable if exhibitions exceed undisclosed growth targets within the next year.