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Having attended various business events in Malaysia, and a few overseas, I’ve come to notice stark differences. 

The events in Malaysia are by no means bad, but—to tap into my Gen Z vocabulary—many have been quite mid. (Translation: mediocre.)

Often, their premise is promising and gets me excited to attend, but the execution leaves more to be desired.

On the other hand, overseas industry events I’ve attended are usually more balanced in terms of expectation versus reality. (And with them being more international events usually, expectations run on the higher side.)

One recent example was BEYOND Expo 2024 in Macao, a tech and business event that aspires to be the CES of Asia.

Here’s what I really, really would like to see from future Malaysian events, taking a leaf out of BEYOND Expo’s book.

Starting on time

As event-goers—regardless of the nature of the event—I’m sure we can all agree that one of our biggest pet peeves has to be when an event. Never. Starts. On. Time.

It’s even more infuriating when it comes to business events that happen on weekdays, whereby attendees need to take leaves or step away from running their businesses to show up.

Time is money, as they say, and too many Malaysian events (even the polished-looking ones) chronically start late. 

I admire the way that, although not perfect, BEYOND Expo’s schedule was often on track. 

Regardless of how filled a hall was, the panels would kick off. If you were late and missed part of the talks, it was entirely on you. VIPs arrived on time, too.

Perhaps many of us have already accepted the shortcomings of Malaysian events, always starting late and having to cut short certain panels or talks, reducing the value for attendees.

But it shouldn’t be that way, not if we want to elevate our Malaysia-based events to the world stage. After all, is this really what we want our events to be known for?

A custom platform to help attendees navigate the event

Being the huge event that it was, BEYOND Expo had an app to help attendees navigate it. 

The app had a list of exhibitors, speakers and other attendees (who I could then contact through the app and set up a meeting), live photos of the event as it was happening, live translations of talks (as there was an international audience that largely spoke either Mandarin or English), a slightly interactable venue map, and more.

The translation technology wasn’t perfect, but it was a good start to making the event more accessible

One of the features I really liked was the Agenda, whereby I could see what talks were happening at what time each day, and where, and then add them to my own in-app schedule (or sync it with my phone’s calendar). It helped me easily plan which talks I was interested in, while avoiding schedule clashes.

While a little buggy at times, the app was honestly a time-saver for me, allowing me to plan my experience at the event efficiently.

Admittedly, having a dedicated platform to connect attendees and showcase an event’s schedule is not new in Malaysia. 

Wild Digital did it before in 2020, albeit due to the pandemic’s restrictions on physical events.

But I think that for larger events that run for more than one day, such apps or platforms would enhance the attendee experience and make the event more memorable.

Innovative and fun ways to upgrade pitch sessions

Business pitches are a regular sight at startup and business-focused events, and BEYOND Expo was no different.

However, they did put an intriguing spin on things, in line with their globally-renowned status as an entertainment hub.

Instead of your regular five-minute pitches, the event’s Fund at First Pitch session was a roulette-style one.

Image Credit: BEYOND Expo

Investors sat around a mock roulette table, with a stack of chips to bet on the entrepreneurs.

To get their pitch duration, entrepreneurs would spin a roulette wheel and get either 60, 120, or 180 seconds.

If they pitched well and impressed the investors, the chips rolled. The more chips an entrepreneur got from the investors, the higher their chances of securing a meeting with them and potentially getting funded.

The gamified delivery of the pitching session made it feel like the stakes were higher, and attracted more people to watch the pitches too.

Malaysia’s events don’t have to go down the same casino-themed route, but I think organisers could definitely come up with innovative ways to freshen up the usual sessions, giving attendees a reason to look forward to future events.

Less buffets, more food markets

Finally, this last point is something that I never gave much thought to, but now that I’ve experienced BEYOND Expo, I simply feel like Malaysian business events could improve on this front.

Nine times out of 10, local business events we’ve attended have offered food for attendees in the form of buffets.

Hear me out: Instead of the usual buffet lines, how about we open up a floor for F&B SMEs to showcase their products that attendees can buy at discounted prices?

BEYOND Macao had a variety of food vendors serving everything from mini wagyu burgers to Thai and even Indian and Korean food. Aptly, this area in the exhibition hall was called the Food Market.

Image Credit: BEYOND Expo

I’m so into this idea being replicated at Malaysian events, because there are several advantages:

  • Local F&B SMEs can get their time in the spotlight, raise brand awareness and build their customer base, as well as test their product-market fit
  • For the event organiser, the F&B costs can be passed onto attendees themselves, with perhaps some subsidising through exclusive discounts
  • Attendees don’t have to battle for buffet food (because trust me, the dishes run out fast), and they can get a variety of food that appeals to their own appetites

I believe that this can be a win-win situation for all parties involved, and I hope that some event organiser somewhere is taking notes.


I’m no organiser so I’m sure that some of these ideas may not be financially feasible for smaller-scale events. 

But speaking from the perspective of an attendee, these are certainly things that I and many others would welcome with open arms at future Malaysian events.

  • Learn more about BEYOND Expo here.
  • Read Malaysian startup stories here.

Featured Image Credit: BEYOND Expo / Vulcan Post

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)