By Louella D. Desiderio

MANILA, Philippines – Al Ahli Holding Group (AAHG), a conglomerate from the United Arab Emirates, has chosen the Philippines for a regional comic and pop culture convention next year to jumpstart its business in the country and its biggest investment in Asia.

AAHG chief executive officer Mohammed Khammas told reporters yesterday the group decided to hold the Asia Pop Comic Con 2015, a regional event to feature international brands in the fields of comics, toys, animation, movies and music within the pop culture phenomena, in the Philippines given the availability of a creative talent pool and pop culture fans here as well as the country’s positive economic backdrop.

“Philippines at large, has probably one of the most impressive roster of talent. Talk about different genres of creative arts, from filming to animation to gaming, comic books, photography, most of it are available here…We thought that with an existing pool of talent that is here, it is warranted to develop something here,” he said.

As Filipinos are huge fans of comics, animation, toys and have a wide knowledge related to pop culture, he said the Philippines was an obvious choice for the event.

The Philippines’ robust economy and the government’s strong support to the creative industry also make the country an ideal choice for the event.

“This will be the first of AAHG’s series of unique projects that have been customised for the Philippines which will provide novel entertainment experience and contribute to the local economy making it a win-win proposition attracting a lot of regional and international interest in the country,” Khammas said.

The Asia Pop Comic Con 2015, which would have participating brands such as Marvel, Disney and Sanrio and would serve as a venue for Filipinos to showcase their talent, will kick-off AAHG’s investments in the Philippines and its biggest undertaking in the region.

Abdulla Mahmood, director for marketing and corporate communication of the AAHG, said the group is still evaluating specific locations in Manila for the event which would be held in the second-half of next year.

Apart from organizing the Asia Pop Comic Con 2015, Khammas said the group intends to make investments in other sectors in the country.

“Comic con is the first. We have others that we have yet to announce…As far as the rest of developments, we are looking at starting large economic skill drivers as far as investments. They are all in many ways related to intellectual property,” he said.