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The Southeast Asia chapter of the Academy of International Business (AIBSEAR) has been focusing on expanding its membership drive. However, the Bali bombing last October and the recent Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) put on hold many of the planned membership drive and conference activities. On a brighter note, the Chapter maintained a small surplus at the end of last financial year (ending March 31, 2003). Lingnan University continues to provide basic administrative support free of charge. This brief report summarizes the events from May 1, 2002 to June 15, 2003:

1. Regional Conference 2002

The original AIBSEAR Conference was originally scheduled for the early part of July, which clashed with the AIB Annual Conference, June 28 to July 1, 2002. Subsequently, the dates were changed to July 18-20, 2002. The theme of the conference is WTO and Global Competition: A New Era for International Business. Lingnan University, Hong Kong and the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics co-organized this conference. A total of 142 participants attended with 86 papers presented during four concurrent sessions, there were also two special panel organized along the themes of WTO and Trade, and Higher Education in China. The conference venue was the Tong Mao Hotel in Putong, Shanghai, one of the host hotels for the 2002 APEC Meeting held in Shanghai.

We organized the Shanghai meeting in parallel with a conference for Mainland scholars, this was an arrangement where we charged our own fees (US$300) and the local conference charged a much lower registration fee (RMB 500 Approx. US$60). The meetings were conducted using different languages (English for AIB sessions vs. Chinese for the local conference). Participants were allowed to attend concurrent sessions at their own discretion. These meetings allow for AIB members from within and those outside of the Chapter regions to interact with Mainland Chinese scholars, especially those with proficiency in English. We believed that such interactions enhance cooperation in teaching and research.

2. Regional Conference 2003

The 2003 AIB Southeast Asia Regional Conference with the theme: Regional Cooperation, Strategic Alliances and World Business, was originally planned for July 17-19, 2003 in Penang, Malaysia. Due the bombing in Bali and the fear of travel in neighbouring countries, the conference site was relocated to Macau for August 4-7, 2003.

With the outbreak of SARS in March, the interest of travel to this part of the world declined drastically. Without a clear outlook of when the epidemic would ease, the conference secretariat decided to cancel the conference with much regret.

3. Outlook for 2004

With the SARS outbreak seemingly being controlled, we are cautiously exploring for sponsorship for the 2004 Regional Conference. However, the confidence for attracting delegates from outside of the region remains unclear. The alternative would be to offer a smaller number of Workshops/Seminars along very specific themes to bring together interested parties from within the region. We intend to conduct a survey of members in the region to identify interests for topics and locations.

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