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Exhibition World | Country Focus THE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW. EXHIBITION- WORLD. NET| April 2010| 25 Year of the tiger A s great swathes of Europe, Asia and America suffered economic recession, China continued its growth, with its GDP closing in on Japan's to become the world's second largest economy. It has already passed Germany to become the world's largest exporter. China's rapid economic ascent even led The Times newspaper in the UK to speculate that the new model of capitalism could be a variant of the authoritarian state- led capitalism favoured in China, Russia and other emerging economies, rather than a reformed version of the Western democratic system. It is a market that can be both intriguing and confusing. It clearly takes patience and local partnerships to unlock China's trade potential for foreign partners. One example of this can be seen in the battle between the US software giants; while Microsoft prospers in this market, Google has been forced to consider its position amid allegations of political censorship. The exhibition market in China has matured in the last few years. The proliferation of events in key exhibition cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou has died down. The demand from both exhibitors and visitors on professional and quality events has driven sub- standard events away and created a more professional environment. The total number of events from 2005- 2009 was recorded at 950, 864, 924, 866 and 837 respectively. President and CEO of UBM Asia, Jime Essink, says the global economic crisis in 2008 contributed a sharp watershed. " Though there was a drop in the number, the scale of the leading exhibitions in China, the consumer goods exhibitions in particularly, grew due to the China Government's determined policy to boost domestic demand and consumption to make up for the decline in foreign trade." The company's furniture and maritime events in Shanghai grew in the second half of the year by 13 and 40 per cent As Beijing builds on its Olympic legacy for business tourism and Shanghai readies for the US$ 45bn World Expo 2010, EWinvestigates whether this really is the year of the tiger for Chinese exhibitions respectively, and its Guangzhou International Beauty and Cosmetic Import- Export Expo also grew by 30 per cent. Though there is the bottleneck exhibition space issue in such prime exhibition city as Shanghai, Essink says " the transformation of part of the World Expo pavilions into exhibition halls shows that the government and the industry note the importance of sufficient and professional exhibition space in the development of the exhibition industry." Trade fair or cultural revolution? The World Expo 2010, in Shanghai, is undoubtedly the country's grandest international showcase. For Shanghai the potential for business is greater still, with a global audience of exhibitions and events planners now eyeing its new transportation, hotel and venue infrastructure. UBM Asia's Jime EssinkThe China National Convention Centre The Shanghai World Expo runs from May to October 2010 and will be worth US$ 45bn