Wilkes told Billboard he had recently made the move to Singapore after some 18 years living in China. He said the new office is expected to employ some two dozen people, including the Asia Pacific business development team.
AEG’s decision to shift its regional hub, he said, reflected the greater ease of doing business in Singapore, and how the company’s Asia Pacific portfolio had shifted from being mostly China-focused to a footprint that includes more of Southeast Asia, Korea, Japan and Australia.
Wilkes said the move was "certainly not at all related to the recent protests in Hong Kong." He said, however, that from a concert promotions standpoint the street demonstrations against the mainland Chinese government had caused “a little bit of a decline in activity” over the past few months. "It is probably not the best time to go to Hong Kong."
While artists are increasingly orienting their careers toward a global touring mindset, Lazarus-Hall emphasized that AEG will pursue both global and “region-specific” deals for certain artists. “Some acts in Asia don’t necessarily pop in other parts of the world,” he said. “And we plan to take some of the incredibly talented Asian artists and promote them to the rest of the world."
In addition to Lazarus-Hall, two other executives will be added to the region. Taylor Agisim will serve as vp, business development, and Ryan Sandilands as vp, global partnerships. Agisim rejoins AEG after having worked for the company in Shanghai in 2011-2012. He was most recently with Flash Entertainment in Abu Dhabi. Sandilands worked in executive positions at Cirque du Soleil, Octagon, and the Women’s Tennis Association across Europe and Asia.
The Shanghai office will remain a core part of the company’s Asia operations, Wilkes said. AEG developed the Mercedes Benz Arena there, in partnership with the NBA and Oriental Pearl Group. It is currently developing two venues in Bangkok through a joint venture partnership with Thailand’s leading retail developer, The Mall Group. And in June AEG announced plans to build a 20,000-seat arena in Seoul, South Korea.