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World business leaders pay P180,000 to listen to Obama, Xi

Prinz Magtulis (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - So how much did it cost to see the two most powerful people in the world in one venue? Four thousand dollars, or more than P180,000.

The CEO Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings has attracted more than 1,300 delegates from different countries, who paid a hefty sum just to listen to government and business leaders, led by US President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The amount covered single three-day attendance to the conference held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel, including hotel meals and kits, Migel Estoque, media and communications director of the summit, said in an interview after the event’s conclusion yesterday.

 “It’s the only event in the world where the business community has an opportunity to interact with APEC leaders,” she said.

The summit featured two whole-day sessions beginning 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The last day yesterday only lasted until 12:30 p.m., but showcased four APEC leaders delivering keynote speeches and some answering questions from the floor.

Aside from Obama and Xi, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla were also present.

The event also featured business leaders like Alibaba founder and Chinese tycoon Jack Ma, Blackberry president and chief executive officer John Chen and Ayala Corp. executive Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

Makati Shangri-La was chosen as venue based on its “room capacities and other functionalities,” Estoque said.

She said the event needed no publicity.

“We really do not need to do much publicizing because the program itself holds that much prestige to draw in the crowd without having to advertise it,” she said.

The event was so prestigious that even reporters were banned from entering the plenary hall where sessions were held.

Instead, organizers set up a media room a floor below the ballroom, complete with LCD screens with a live feed of the event plus food and drinks.

At yesterday’s closing event, only select reporters carried by different member economies were allowed entry to the plenary. Around 250 volunteers from different universities also assisted. 

The hotel itself was placed on lockdown at different intervals marking the arrival and departure of state leaders, security officers said.

Estoque said: “We did not encounter any problems,” when asked if glitches were encountered during the forum, especially on security.

The event also attracted numerous international and local sponsors.

Estoque said aside from “awareness,” the CEO summit allowed VIPs to network with each other.

“It’s an amazing avenue to be able to meet all these CEOs at once,” she said.

ACIRC EVENT JACK MA JAIME AUGUSTO ZOBEL JOHN CHEN AND AYALA CORP MAKATI SHANGRI-LA MAKATI SHANGRI-LA HOTEL MIGEL ESTOQUE OBAMA AND XI PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND CHINESE RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER DMITRY MEDVEDEV AND INDONESIAN VICE-PRESIDENT JUSUF KALLA
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