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Singapore Show Organizer Sets Up Virtual CommunicAsia99

Singapore Exhibition Services (SES), a member of The Montgomery Network and a leading organizer of international trade fairs in Singapore, has announced today a new virtual exhibition service starting with the exhibitors of CommunicAsia99.

VRComms, the virtual trade exhibition "hall" for CommunicAsia99, is the first virtual exhibition in Singapore with broadband capabilities, according to the National Computer Board (NCB) of Singapore.

"We are looking at possible financial assistance [grants] to this project," said Yew Sung Pei, director of marketing services with the Singapore Trade Development Board.

Targeted to run on a six-month duration from June 22 in conjunction with the launch of CommunicAsia99, VRComms enables participating vendors of CommunicAsia to showcase their products and services in a virtual booth with the option of broadband capabilities via Singapore ONE.

"VRComms compliments and adds value to our successful [physical] CommunicAsia exhibition," said Stephen Tan, managing director of SES.

Tan said SES will promote VRComms by tapping the database of CommunicAsia, which consists of 120,000 individuals, from now until June 22.

The virtual site will have an international audience of 35,000 communication professionals who have come to Singapore for CommunicAsia as visitors and exhibitors in the previous year.

Of these 35,000 people, 25,000 of them are actual buyers, he added.

Tan also said he expects 60 to 80 virtual exhibitor companies as opposed to 1,200 companies expected for the physical CommunicAsia99 exhibition since SES only have three months starting today to promote the new virtual service.

"By mid 2000, we hope to have three exhibitions online," he said.

Besides CommunicAsia, the additional two shows to go online are FoodAsia2000 and BroadcastAsia2000, two of the main shows organized by SES.

Virtual exhibitors on VRComms can enjoy six months of presence on the Web site when they buy any of the virtual booth packages priced from S$4,800 to S$6,800.

Built by Singapore-based Cable Media Asia Pte Ltd., the VRComms site runs on IBM's Netfinity 7000 and Net.Commerce software.

For merchants who wish to set up an online store, VRComms also offers secure electronic transactions (SET) payment services.

"We see 1999 [as] the year which we are going to turn this [e-business] concept into a reality," said Ang Miah Boon, director of IBM Singapore Pte Ltd. "[E-business] will become pervasive. It makes the [physical] borders irrelevant."