Convention and exhibition industry boosted by government efforts
Xiamen of East China's Fujian province has seen the gradual recovery of its convention and exhibition industry after the sector was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years.
From January to November 2022, Xiamen held 101 exhibitions, with a total exhibition area of 1.27 million square meters, up 5.5 percent year-on-year, creating an economic benefit of 9.1 billion yuan ($1.34 billion).
During this period, among the 51 cities across China that held exhibitions, the number of those Xiamen held ranked third and the exhibition areas ranked seventh, both a record high, according to data released by industry magazine China International Conference Exhibition.
The rising growth of Xiamen's convention and exhibition industry came from the city's efforts to implement pandemic control and increase the production of new exhibitions, which provided organizers with superior and efficient services, according to Chen Haoying, deputy head of the Xiamen municipal bureau of commerce.
Official data showed, in 2019, Xiamen held 236 exhibitions, with a total area of 2.4 million sq m. It had 9,978 business conferences, attracting 2.05 million participants. These generated an economic benefit of 45 billion yuan.
However, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of exhibitions that Xiamen held in 2020 dropped by 52.12 percent on a yearly basis to 113. In that year, the economic benefit was 17.69 billion yuan, down 60.76 percent year-on-year. The downward trend of this sector continued through 2021, in which the city held 104 exhibitions and saw a decrease of 7.96 percent year-on-year.
Since 2022, the Xiamen city government has put the convention and exhibition industry high on its agenda, leveraging both geographical and the sector's advantages to build the industrial chain. The local authority has promoted the convention and exhibition industry as a major part of the trade and logistics sector, one of the pillars of Xiamen's modern industrial system.
In 2022, Xiamen held a total of 113 exhibitions with a total area of 1.34 million sq m, posting year-on-year increases of 8.65 percent and 6.46 percent, local official data showed. This achievement came after local authorities implemented the strategy of integrating industry and exhibitions.
Focusing on the city's modern industry system, industrial chains worth 100 billion yuan each and sectors in the surrounding areas, the local authority rolled out a series of new types of exhibitions and produced a batch of industry-leading ones in a bid to promote local exhibition development while injecting impetus into the real economy and relevant industries.
To better conduct COVID-19 prevention and control to support the recovery of the convention and exhibition sector, the Xiamen municipal bureau of commerce took the lead in launching digital solutions. For example, the exhibition QR code that allowed facial recognition through data sharing significantly helped improve the efficiency and accuracy of pandemic prevention and control. This played a role in boosting the recovery of the convention and exhibition sector.
Last year, Xiamen held the West-Taiwan-Strait Auto Expo 2022, which helped the city to become one of the first six metropolises in the country to reopen exhibitions. On top of this, large-scale events such as the China International Fair for Investment and Trade, the China Xiamen International Stone Fair and the China Xiamen International Buddhist Items and Crafts Fair were held.
Eight other activities featuring exhibitions including the China Golden Rooster Awards, the World Ocean Week in Xiamen and the China (Xiamen) International Cross-Border E-Commerce Expo were held under pandemic prevention and control measures.
By reinforcing the integration of industry and exhibitions in holding fairs, the city's commerce bureau helped introduce six special exhibitions featuring sectors including hotel supplies, optoelectronics and coffee. And this aided in facilitating the recovery of tourism, catering, transportation and other related businesses.
In addition, the Xiamen municipal bureau of commerce enhanced the promotion of exhibitions. It innovated promotion models by cooperating with food delivery platform Eleme to organize an activity themed "a city of exhibitions — Xiamen", which adopted elements presenting Xiamen's ethos and exhibitions as a source to create riddles, which attracted more than 2 million views from around the country.
In November, the Xiamen city government hosted a promotion of the city's convention and exhibition industry in Shanghai, which attracted 50 exhibition institutions and industry experts to have in-depth discussions.
As the COVID-19 situation stabilizes, the convention and exhibition industry is expected to see a robust recovery in 2023. The local authority said it is determined to organize 65 trade fairs, with a total exhibition area of 1.93 million sq m, and hold 15 large-scale conferences this year.