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Overview of the first ever Asian Self-Storage Expo

The first ever Self-Storage Expo in Asia was held at the Langham Hotel Hong Kong on the 20th and 21st of March 2013. Almost 140 attended mainly from various Asian countries including Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Malaysia but also from Australia, Europe and the USA. Attendance included representatives from self-storage operators, industry suppliers and investors.

Self-Storage conventions and trade show are held throughout the world. Some of the largest include Inside Self-Storage World Expo and SSA Conference and Trade Show in the U.S., the Self-Storage Summit in Australia and FEDESSA Conference and Tradeshow in Europe.

The Self-Storage industry in the U.S is by far the largest market in the world with more than $22 billion USD in annual revenue. The very first self-storage facility was said to be opened in 1958 and now there are more than 49,000 facilities - that is more than 4 times number of Starbucks facilities in the U.S.1,2 In comparison the market in Asia is relatively young and still developing, but growth in the last decade has drawn attention to the opportunity in this region. The Japanese self-storage market is said to be growing by roughly 10% per year on current $250 million USD annual revenue.

Asia’s First expo

The 2013 Self-Storage Expo Asia was initiated by Jon Perrins, Executive Director of Steel Storage. Steel Storage has been providing storage products, including steel partitions and doors, to the Asian market since 2003 and also played a vital role in establishing the first industry conference in the UK back in 1999. These events have allowed entrepreneurs, investors and industry suppliers to come together and share views and get advice from one another. Jon Perrins idea was to repeat this concept in Asia which likely has the most future growth and absolute potential of any self-storage market in the world.

“Asia’s property prices increase year on year and consumerism seems to be an unstoppable force as more and more of Asia’s four billion inhabitants move steadily towards the middle-income class. With it comes a transition to modern living and self-storage is a proven and necessary part of this modernization.” Jon Perrins

The fact that there was even an event like this is indicative of the growing Asian self-storage industry and the continued expansion of the storage industry worldwide, and signifies the gathering momentum of the storage markets in Asia which are now approaching a critical mass.

A variety of topics were covered in expo including:

  • Growth Opportunity: background on the evolution of the industry and a detailed look into the Japanese Self-storage Industry
  • Managing Investments: a look into how appraisers approach the industry and advise on how to sell a portfolio
  • Technology & Marketing: advise on how to approach access and security systems and online marketing
  • Risk and Revenue Management: including a true life account from Captain David Evans who successfully landed an Airbus A380 with a failed engine
  • Panel Discussions: two discussion sessions with industry operators and specialists were a highlight of expo.

There were many common themes repeated by several of the speakers. Clearly consumers are favoring quality such as clean, secure, dry, and convenient facilities. Capable local management is key to success including willingness to hustle, negotiate and increase rents especially as properties stabilize. Other challenges include adapting to migration of customers online and to mobile devices, management of pricing, unit size mix and general differentiation from competitors.

Stephen Spohn, President at Quraz, gave one of the key note speeches on the Japanese Self-Storage Market and was also part of the discussion panel on day 2.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the industry experience represented by the attendees; all of the presentations and panel discussions were of a quality, on par with storage conferences in other parts of the world that I’ve also attended. I felt and share enthusiasm to continue the event annually.” Stephen Spohn


List of Key note speakers:

  • Jonathan Perrins, Executive Director of Steel Storage Holdings
  • Mike Hagbeck, CEO of Extra Space Self-Storage
  • Stephen Spohn, President at Quraz
  • Lance Comstock, President at PTI Security Systems
  • Hardy Good, Chairman and CEO of MiniCo Asia, MiniCo Self-Storage and New Empire Ventures Inc.
  • Oliver Close, Partner, Valuation and Advisory at Cushman and Wakefield
  • Dallas Dogger, Owner/ Managing Director at Centreforce IT
  • Captain David Evans, Qantas
  • Michael Tate, Co-Founder and CEO of the Storage King Group
  • Joshua Steimle, CEO of Full Occupancy
  • Thomas Krendl, CEO of E.I.M. Group Inc. and Vice President at SkilCheck Inc.

List of discussion panelists:

  • Helen Ng (CEO, Lock+Store)
  • Michael Tate (Co-founder & CEO, Storage King Group)
  • Marilyn Leslie (President MiniCo Asia)
  • Thomas Krendl(CEO E.I.M Group and Vice President of SkilCheck)
  • Liz Davies (managing Direct, Self-Storage Australia)
  • Hardy Good (Vhairman & CEO MiniCo Asia)
  • Oliver Close (Partner, Valuation & advisory at Cushman 6 Wakefield)
  • Angus Miller (CEO & Founder, Big Orange Self-Storage)
  • Stephen Spohn (President, Quraz)
  • Jeremy Chapman (Director International Services, Colliers International)
  • Sam Kennard (Managig Director Kennards Self-Storage)

Some important dates

Here are dates and venue details of other self-storage conferences that are scheduled in 2013

Inside Self-Storage World Expo (April 3-5 2013, Paris Hotel & Resort Las Vegas)
Self Storage Association Spring Conference & Tradeshow (April 22-24, 2013, Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia

The Self-Storage Summit in Australia (August 13-15 2013, Hayman Island Australia

FEDESSA European Self-Storage Conference And Trade Show (October 14-15 2013 St Paul's Conference Centre, London)


1 Starbucks stores in the U.S. 10,787 (Statistics Brain 2011)
2 Self-Storage facilities in the U.S. 49,000 (Self-Storage Association 2013)

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