I spent a couple of days in Singapore for AdTech, a conference and exhibition about digital marketing. I had been to an AdTech event before in China, but never to the conference in Singapore. But because Spill Group’s Asian sites outside China have grown to a pretty decent size over the past year (game.co.in is in the top 5 of flash sites in India, games.co.id is number 1 in Indonesia) and so advertising on these sites has become more important. I did not speak at this event, but just visited the exhibition and talked with many people from the online ad industry in SE-Asia.
My program was therefore quite flexible, and I could work from my hotel room a few hours per day, so I am not too far behind on mails this time. I also had some time to think a bit more about Spill Group Asia’s strategy. I learned quite some new interesting things about what’s happening in markets where we are not yet active, such as Vietnam or the Philippines. I also got a better understanding of the CPM rates all over Asia (is there actually a site where you can easily see average rates in different countries?), and about ad formats. And of course it was good to meet all the ad networks in person, and hear from them what they can do for us (and what they cannot do). As expected most focus purely on SE-Asia and don’t do much in China, but we still found some agencies that have campaigns that they could launch in China. Many have big plans for China though, let’s see.
I met a lot of new people during the past couple of days, including some people that I had only known online so far. Mark Kamminga from Spill Group in Holland had also flown to Singapore and he introduced me to Marta from eBuddy (web-based messenger) who he met during check-in in Amsterdam. Jacco Bouw (CEO of the fast-growing online marketing company Web Power) was also in Singapore with a colleague, and all of us had dinner and (many) drinks together three nights in a row. Among others I also met with angel investor/VC Nicholas Chan who saw on Twitter that I was in town and sent me this message through Twitter to get in touch. Also Dutch internet entrepreneur Arnout Wagenaar (from Singapore-based ihipo.com) read online that I was in Singapore and got in touch. Just a few years ago I probably would have never met these people, but because of my blog and especially Twitter things change quickly.
Apart from business I had a great time in Singapore. I had not been there in a few years (no real need to travel there on business so far), except to change flights sometimes at Changi airport. A few years ago I used to go here quite frequently and it was nice to be back. I have the feeling that the city has become even better than before. Nightlife was already good, but the past days actually exceeded my expectations. Also the Singapore Flyer close to my hotel (the Mandarin Marina) was impressive. I was told that it’s the world’s biggest ferris wheel with a height of 165 meters (comparable to 42 stories). I did not take the ride, because I feel 30 minutes is a bit too long to look at the city from above, but heard good stories from people who tried it. Also impressive is the Formula One track where on September 28 the first night F1 race will be held. Streets have been widened, a huge grandstand on the waterfront has been erected and lights have partially been installed along the fastest street circuit already. I am sure Singapore will make the race a huge success.
I am now on a plane from Singapore to Beijing for a short (less than 24-hour) business trip. Tomorrow afternoon I am flying back to Shanghai, and plan to stay there for a while. Enough travel lately, I want to spend more time with my little son!