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October 2010 Conference+Meetings World www.c-mw.net11INTERVIEWWhat role did Beijing's 2008 OlympicGames play in raising the capital's profilefor the events industry?The unprecedented success of the Gameshas showcased China's capability fororganising large-scale events, thusstrengthening international clients'confidence in organising events in China. More importantly, by way of thisopportunity, the world's advanced conceptof conferencing has spread into China and,therefore, improved the Chinese meetingprofessionals' specialised knowledgeexponentially. As a result, the Chinesegovernment, as well as the public, hasstarted to realise the important role theindustry plays, which is of great help for thefuture development of its meeting sector.Where is China currently positioned in theinternational meetings market?Thanks to China's reforms and openingpolicies in recent years, the blend ofinternational cultures has led to an increasein international conferences choosing Chinaas their meeting destination. China ranked ninth in the InternationalCongress and Convention Association 2009Statistics Report, according to the totalnumber of international conferences held. Did the retro-fit back to a conventioncentre, following the Olympiad, go asplanned, and are you happy with thebusiness results at CNCC since? After the Olympics, CNCC finished the retro-fitting by October 2009. Themanagement had undertaken lots ofpreparatory work during this period, such asestablishing the organisational structures,marketing and internal training. Followingthe CNCC's officially opening last Novemberwe were really very busy with events comingto our centre.How many events have there been andwhat kind of value can you put on them?As of July 2010, CNCC has hosted over 500meetings and events and 56 exhibitions.Olympic meetingslegacy in BeijingAt the recent Chinese meetings industry exhibition CIBTM, Sarah O'Donnellspoke to the CEO of host venue,the China National Convention Center, Haiying Liu, about its role in an evolving national meetings industry. Mr Haiying LiuWhat's more exciting is 12 per cent of theevents are considered large, with more than1,000 attendees each. The conferenceyields are approximately 2.5 times exhibitionyields. It's easy to see that the conferencebusiness has the best economic benefits.Association meetings are the key focus forthe CNCC. Judging from what we haveaccomplished so far, corporate clients arehigh-quality users with adequate budgetsand a demand for meetings, thus CNCC istrying to expand investment to attract morecorporate meetings.What is the ownership structure of CNCC? CNCC is fully-owned and operated byBeijing North Star Company (BNS), which islisted both in Hong Kong and Shanghai.The senior management team of CNCC wasappointed by BNS and is responsible for itsoperation independently. Venuemanagement company SMG provided uswith less than one year's consulting services,which ended in late 2008.How does CNCC market itself tointernational event organisers?CNCC has attached great importance tointernational marketing. First, to strengthenexchanges and gain the latest information,CNCC has joined IAEE, ICCA, AIPC andother international trade organisations. Secondly, CNCC is committed tosupporting industry conferences andexhibitions. For example, CIBTM has beenheld at CNCC for two consecutive years. Weare always to be found at trade events,including ICCA's annual conference, theAIPC annual congress, EIBTM and IMEX.In view of Abu Dhabi National ExhibitionCompany's acquisition of Excel Londonand China's fast growing economy, do youforesee CNCC forging any such strategicpartnerships abroad?In terms of GDP, China became the world'ssecond largest economy in Q2 of 2010,which will promote the economic integrationbetween China and the world. Actually,Chinese enterprises in many fields havebegun to go global, such as car makerGeely and computer producer Lenovo.Geely's successful acquisition of Volvo fullydemonstrates that Chinese firms have thecapacity for mergers and acquisitions. Thesame thing will happen in the meetingindustry and, in the future, CNCC may seekinternational strategic partners.How is the local Chinese meetings marketdeveloping, including educating newcadres of workers to staff centres? China's meeting industry's revenue, togetherwith the number of meetings, has beengreatly increasing. However, we are facing acouple of challenges, one of which isgovernment support. China has no nationalconvention and visitors bureau (CVB), letalone a city-level CVB. Education is another issue the industry iscoming up against. Standard operationknowhow is weak and the meeting industrylacks long-term development planning andtraining courses. We need do a lot more.Will we see Chinese organisers exportingconventions to other markets?China's meeting and exhibition industry hasdemonstrated the strong demand for export.Undoubtedly, it will also go global for moredevelopment opportunities. I believe Chinawill first export exhibitions and conventionsto South-East Asia in the near future.