Eastern Promise: big defence players flock to Seoul

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Throw a rock into the air at this week’s Seoul Air Show andit would likely have come down on the head of a top international defenceexecutive. Several industry bigshots who gave Parisa miss in June spent days at Seoul, meeting withSouth Korea‘sdefence acquisition mandarins and generals.

“This show was extremely well organized,” said the PR chieffrom one major prime contractor. “Delegations arrived at our stand asscheduled, and there was intense interest in our technologies.”

The international boss of an Ameican firm said foreignair shows such as Seuol and India offer better value for defence firmsthan traditional shows such as Farnborough and Paris.

“Farnborough is too expensive for us,” he said. “In Asia, meanwhile, people are still spending money ondefence. And they keep track of who makes the effort to visit the show. We’lldefinitely be back.”

Though there was a great deal of high-level hobnobbing at Seoul, covering it was no cakewalk for journalists. Unlike more establishedshows the big defence players made few, if any, big announcements. They alsoheld few briefings. It was up to journalists to hit the stands and chalets,getting news the old fashioned way. That said, as  regional shows such as Seoul and Aero Indiabecome more important, companies be expected to save a few big stories for coverage in the show dailies. 

By day four the defenc titans who attended Seoul have given way to families andenthusiasts. Nonetheless, Seoul 2011 has demonstrated the trend toward regionalshows is very much alive.

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