The Rise of Trade Fairs in the Asia-Pacific Region
Edited by Harald Bathelt and Gang Zeng
Chapter 10: Building relationships at local trade fairs in Japan: a case study of the Suwa Area Industrial Messe
Recent studies on innovation and knowledge creation emphasize the role of temporary geographical proximity (Maskell et al. 2004; 2006; Bathelt and Schuldt 2008; 2010; Wickham and Vecchi 2008; Rallet and Torre 2009). These studies suggest that temporary F2F (Face-to-Face) communication such as business travel, professional gatherings and industry events enable the actors to acquire similar information as in permanent clusters. Trade fairs can be regarded as temporary clusters in that they are economic phenomena where actors concentrate at a specific place for a limited duration and for specific purposes. The temporary cluster’s extraordinary characteristics have an important potential impact on the participants’ economic performance. Hansen (2004, pp. 3f.) proposed improvement in employee and customer motivation, in addition to corporate image building and marketing activity, as important purposes of trade fairs. Participants are sensitive to stimulation and they tend to create new ideas through diverse relationships during trade fairs. In addition, Rallet and Torre (2009, p. 17) noted that the participants are removed from daily relations and routines to easily make initial contact with others during the fair.
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