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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

First central Asian security exhibition opens in Almaty

26 March, 2008
A burgeoning economy and rapidly increasing levels of demand for robust security systems and services in the central Asian CIS territory has led to the first exhibition of security products to be held in the Kazakh city of Almaty.
Outer Mongolia is a relatively short hop from Almaty, a city of around 2 million sunk into a hollow between Alpine style Tien Shan mountain ski resorts and seemingly endless steppe which stretches all the way to Siberia. However, despite its severe geographical isolation with no major cities in any direction for at least 1000 kilometres, the former capital of Kazakhstan is nonetheless the thriving commercial centre of the central Asian CIS countries stretching from China in the east to the Caspian Sea and from Russia in the north down to India. Whatever preconceptions anyone may have about the region, there is money there and the new businesses that are springing up to serve the massive oil industry and the expanding wealth of the population are demanding protection.

Against this backdrop, the organisers of the already successful Moscow International Protection, Security and Fire Safety Exhibition (MIPS) decided to open the first security exhibition in the city today and gave it the title "Security Expo" which is somewhat snappier than its Moscow counterpart.

As could be expected for an inaugural event of this kind, the take up for it wasn't particularly overwhelming and when I arrived for the grand opening, the car park was empty and the 30 or so exhibitors were squeezed into about a quarter of the venue. The lack of exhibitors, however, was more than compensated for by the enthusiasm of the visitors and the optimism of the companies who had stands. I had expected more foreign participation and I think this would have been more forthcoming with better promotion of the event. Those European companies who were represented, including Foster and Freeman, Axis Communications and Tescon, were enthusiastic about the potential of the area and were actively seeking partners to distribute their products to satisfy the obvious demand.

With two more days to run, the exhibitors were already pulling in leads, discussing partnerships and networking by the end of the day so although it was small, it began to fulfil its role.

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