Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back on line

Apologies for the 'radio silence' in the past few days. I've been in Chengdu and find it disconcerting that, while in China, I can post to the blog via but can't read it through which remains fully jammed.

I was in Chengdu for the annual CEFCO conference - China's biggest meeting for the exhibitions industry which regularly pulls in an audience of 650 or so. It's a good opportunity to catch up with industry friends and contacts from around China and around the world.

The organisers have worked hard over the past couple of years to put on a more engaging and interesting series of sessions and I've have to say that they seem to me largely to have succeeded. I moderated a panel discussion with CMP Asia' s Jimé Essink, Messe Munich's Manfred Wutzlhofer, last year's UFI President and former Cologne Messe CEO Jochen Witt and CIEC's Zhu Heping. They gave varied accounts of their view of the opportunity for exhibitions represented by China. All basically agreed that the rapid explosion of business seen in the past 10 years has to begin to give way to a greater focus on improved professional standards and a greater focus on customer satisfaction. In his annual report on the Chinese exhibitions industry, CCPIT Vice Chairman Wang Jinzhen told delegates frankly that exhibitor satisfaction with fairs in China is declining.

On a less serious note, this is now the 2nd time I've visited Chengdu and not managed to get to see the pandas. A return visit is clearly called for. There is a huge exhibition centre there and Business Media China is announcing a new partnership with them. So, I have an excuse.

Next year in January, the 5th CEFCO will take place in Nanjing. I expect I'll be there.

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