WITHOUT a doubt the highlight of this year's MacWorld Expo Hong Kong has been the emergence of the PowerMac onto the centre stage of the Mac world. Not only has more software become available in native formats, but Apple moved during the past year to make its newest PowerBooks 'PowerPC' ready and, at last week's event, launched the fastest personal computer on the market, the PowerMac 8100/110, a 110-MHz powerhouse. But, MacWorld had more new technology and products to offer than just the new PowerMac. Both international and local exhibitors were well-represented among the Expo's 80 participants - up from 70 last year. Likewise, the number of people attending the event rose from 22,000 to 25,000. According to Belinda Mock, event manager for Meeting Planners, the organiser of the exhibition, estimates before the show anticipated between 22,000 and 25,000 would attend. Ms Mock said the increased turnout was a result of several factors, including adding a Saturday to the schedule, something missing from last year's MacWorld Expo, and increased promotion activities to include, for instance, television advertising. Along with the increased turnout, both by exhibitors and the public, Ms Mock said that sales turnover at the show also showed a marked increase, up 18 per cent from the previous year. While the Apple booth with it's launch of the new PowerMac 8100/110 and its special focus on SOHO technology, several other vendors took advantage of MacWorld to launch new hardware. SOHO stands for 'small office, home office' and is quickly becoming a popular phrase in the computer press. Among the other products launched were new prepress equipment from Agfa Gevaert, a colour Chinese imagesetter from Compose Systems, a digital camera from Kodak, and the new Phaser 140 colour printer from Tektronix. Still, with all the new hardware, native PowerMac applications also played an important part in the show. 'We had a number of launches for hardware but the main focus was still on native software,' Ms Mock said. In fact, software in general was equally prominent at the show as was evident from the number of new products on display. These included the new ClarisWorks 3.0, Data Bank's latest titles, Alias Sketch and Alias Eclipse 2.0, Microsoft Office 4.2 for the Mac as well as native versions of Microsoft applications, and the Chinese version of QuarkXpress 3.3. In parallel with the exhibition was a three-day conference programme with 24 sessions of a range of topics including, of course, native applications for the PowerMac. Other main areas of focus of the conference sessions included multimedia, publishing and prepress, SOHO and Apple's System 7.5, the latest version of the Macintosh operating system. Particular conference sessions focused on themes such as Staying Ahead of the Digital Colour Prepress Revolution, Apple's Home Computing Solutions, the Creative Use of Desktop Video and Multimedia Technology, and several workshops on QuarkXpress, Microsoft Excel, Mac Trouble Shooting, and Advanced Use of the Macintosh Environment. The conference also had sessions reflecting a theme apparent in the exhibition as well: Chinese solutions. One conference session presented by Apple Far East focused on Chinese Solutions on the Mac Platform. MacWorld Expo Hong Kong also featured a lucky draw with more than 20 prizes, including a grand prize Porsche Design watch as well as prizes linked to specific conference sessions including a PowerMac 6100; a Mac LC 630, a Tektronix printer; Chinese language kits; a Kodak Photo CD Player Model 860; one Video Spigot from Radius; and software from several vendors.