Hong Kong’s AWE marks 15th anniversary with HK$600m upgrade

To mark its 15th anniversary, AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE), Hong Kong’s international EXPOtainment venue, has kick-started a HK$600m (US$77.25m) venue-wide renovation project.

In response to the challenges created by the global pandemic, AWE is embracing a new era with the anniversary theme of ‘Change · Possibilities’. Spanning more than 70,000sqm, the venue upgrade project is intended to benefit event organisers, exhibitors, concert performers and visitors.

Management says daily operations will continue during this large-scale infrastructure enhancement programme. The project has started already and is targeted to complete in strategic phases over the coming five years.

The project covers three dimensions: hardware upgrades, technology and network advancements, and smart solutions for sanitisation.

Hardware upgrades

Advanced equipment to be installed includes a new retractable seat riser system.

Work has been carried out in all 10 halls, organiser rooms, backstage, in dining outlets as well as in public circulation areas. Interior design, lighting and AV systems, as well as ventilation, drainage and equipment, will all be upgraded.

Technology and network advancements

Under the pandemic, many physical events have had to be transformed to online. To serve the increasing trend of ‘online-offline’ hybrid events, AWE is implementing a full-scale upgrade of its ICT network with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), the first in Hong Kong’s MICE industry. It offers a four-times better performance in device-dense environments.

The new connections will fully support bandwidth-intensive streaming video and intelligent applications like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), providing a strong foundation for IoT-based innovation.

With the rise of 5G mobile network technology, AWE has likewise upgraded its respective facilities to support higher signal stability with ultra-high speed. AWE is also introducing a brand-new hybrid meeting facility, Mobile Studio. This movable booth with standalone lighting and power can be installed inside an exhibition area or relocated to any other place to meet flexible hybrid needs.

Smart solutions for sanitisation

Sanitisation and safety assurance have emerged as key issues for event venues worldwide. At AWE, the washrooms in public circulation areas and halls are being renovated in phases, with all handwashing devices in washrooms integrated with an advanced ozone disinfection system. This ozone system has also been installed in the kitchens at AWE.

More high-tech solutions to help to reduce the risk posed to frontline staff and visitors are to be introduced, reducing labour costs and increasing operational efficiency. AWE’s introduction of its three-in-one CLeanTech device, which helps to sanitise visitors and their carried items in just 12 seconds, has now been adapted to a tunnel setting for large-scale crowd admissions.

“After operating for 15 years, this is a milestone year for us,” says Ms Irene Chan, CEO of AWE. “The year’s strategic importance is reflected in our chosen theme of ‘Change · Possibilities’. This is the perfect time to launch a large-scale renovation project, one which will position AWE for the many opportunities that lie ahead. As we witness the recovery of business markets worldwide, AWE is proud to welcome everyone with a new face and even finer facilities.”

AWE is now looking forward to future events such as 2021 Hong Kong Brands & Products Shopping Festival and the Puppy Summer Fun Expo to drive economic growth once more.