The following is an interview with Mette Petersen, the president of Chicago-based KoelnMesse Inc. Her company oversees the upcoming IDEM show in Singapore, which will be held April 7-9, 2006. She recently took a few moments to talk about IDEM and the market in Southeast Asia.
What draws Asian dental professionals to the IDEM show in Singapore?
I don’t believe that the reasons for attending the show differ much between Asian, European, and American professionals. Forty percent of the total attendees at the last IDEM 2004 were dealers, while 47 percent were dentists. Both groups were there to obtain information about all the new developments with regard to oral medicine and dental technology. Based on our attendee survey, we know that IDEM provided crucial product information for Southeast Asian dentists, dental surgeons, technicians, and dealers. Eighty-three percent of the 5,000 attendees came with the intent to place orders. We also found out that most interest is in the area of dental materials, dental tools, dental care products, and orthodontics.
The key role of IDEM is to create a communication platform in Southeast Asia between members of the dental industry, as well as advancement in dental education. Speaking of education, for the first time, the organizer of IDEM has teamed up with FDI to organize the conference program. We expect that this conference program will provide an additional attraction for dentists in this region to come to Singapore.
In your opinion, what makes IDEM attractive to exhibitors?
IDEM is not about Singapore, but the entire dental community in Southeast Asia. This show draws dental dealers and dentists from countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. This geographic region is the one with highest growth potential and has developed a taste for sophisticated dental tools and equipment. We see excellent opportunities for foreign manufacturers, especially from the American dental community.
Why should American exhibitors come to the IDEM?
We organize many trade shows in different industries. Based on what I see, the U.S. dental industry is the most mobile and flexible in terms of aggressively pursuing export opportunities. As of Dec. 1, more than 20 U.S. companies had signed up for booth space at IDEM 2006. Many of them are repeat exhibitors. I know from talking to our U.S. exhibitor community that some seemed surprised about the strong demand among prospective distributors for their products. Some U.S. exhibitors had initially focused on marketing to dentists and labs, but quickly changed their strategy to allow for larger shipments via newly found distributors. For example, I know of one U.S. company that manufactures digital imaging systems for dental offices. The company was part of the USA Pavilion and was able to sign on distributors from Taiwan and Korea. Those relationships alone now generate regular shipments of $100,000 per month.
What does your office do to help U.S. companies prepare for IDEM 2006?
First, IDEM 2006 has received trade show certification from the U.S. Department of Commerce, a status only extended to trade shows with good export prospects for U.S. companies. The certification status has triggered the involvement of the Foreign Commercial Service in Singapore. This office helps U.S. manufacturers identify trade leads and helps them to make their trade show participation more effective by providing pre-show assistance and post-show follow-up.
Second, we offer USA Pavilion space that provides a fully furnished booth, furniture, graphics, and various services. This exhibit option seems to be very appealing to our clients as we take care of all logistics and our customers can entirely focus on international marketing and distributor search. The U.S. pavilion is also popular because of its prominent location and the fact that distributors can easily seek out U.S. products and the rights to distribute them.
For those companies coming to IDEM, what should they bring in order to succeed in the Southeast Asian market?
Besides some time and patience, they should provide product literature, pricing information, and samples of distributor contracts. Extra time is important so exhibitors can follow up with the most important contacts they made in order to finalize agreements.
What will be new at IDEM next year?
We are very excited about the introduction of the “Speaker’s Corner” on the exhibit floor. The format provides exhibitors with an opportunity to present their products in 30-minute sequences to the dentist and dental trade present during IDEM. The Speaker’s Corner during IDS 2005 was very successful and was seen as a very beneficial way to explain details about products and their benefits to the audience.
Where can a potential exhibitor or visitor receive information about the upcoming IDEM show in 2006?
Basic information for exhibitors and visitors is available at www.idem-singapore.com. The contact in the USA is KoelnMesse Inc., 8700 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 640 North, Chicago, IL, 60631, [email protected], phone (773) 326-9920, fax (773) 714-0063. KoelnMesse Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of the IDS organizer KölnMesse GmbH.