Expo sector back in biz after pandemic hiatus

By SHI JING in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-26 09:17
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The China International Industry Fair, an annual manufacturing industry gathering, makes a comeback from Sept 19-23 in Shanghai with record-high exhibition space and the number of participating companies. [PHOTO/XINHUA]

Shanghai's trade, industry fairs put on impressive performance; new records achieved

The China International Industry Fair, an annual manufacturing sector gathering that had been suspended for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was back offline from Sept 19-23 with record highs in terms of both exhibition area and the number of participating companies.

Rong Zhiqin, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization, announced the record-high performance during a news conference in late August. Covering over 300,000 square meters, the CIIF was attended by more than 2,600 companies from 27 countries and regions, of which over 70 were Fortune Global 500 firms or industry leaders.

What made the CIIF extra special was the 50,000-sq-m area set up for robots, which was the world's biggest exhibition of its kind to date, and it attracted the largest number of industrial robot companies in one single fair, according to Rong.

The new records set at the CIIF are just one snapshot of the recovery of the expo sector in Shanghai.

According to data released by the municipal government in late July, the total exhibition area reached 7.59 million sq m in Shanghai in the first half, which was about 80 percent of the level seen in 2019, before the pandemic.

The total exhibition area of all trade and industry fairs held in Shanghai stood at 6.29 million sq m in the second quarter, up 13.1 percent from the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, six mega expos with exhibition areas of at least 100,000 sq m were held in Shanghai in June. The total exhibition area of the six shows came at 1.11 million sq m, up 42.2 percent from the figure recorded in June 2019.

Zhang Guohua, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, said that the city's expo sector has seen an overall recovery since the beginning of this year. The total exhibition area of all shows to be held in Shanghai in the second half is expected to be around 8.8 million sq m, approaching over 90 percent of the level in 2019.

The turnaround in Shanghai is not an isolated event.

The Guangzhou Municipal Commerce Bureau said the local exhibition industry in the Guangdong provincial capital has even exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Up to 140 expos were held in the city in the first half, 2.3 times the figure registered for the same period last year. The exhibition area of these shows totaled 5.6 million sq m, which was 1.8 times the number recorded during the first half of 2022. The total number of expo visitors spiked 8.6 times to 7.66 million.

The China Import and Expo Fair, a highly coveted event better known as the Canton Fair, marked its 133rd edition in mid-April. The fair was held offline for the first time in three years due to the pandemic. By hosting 34,933 attending companies, the exhibition area approached 1.5 million sq m, with the two figures representing new records.

The latest edition of The Canton Fair has not only seen its scale expanded and quality improved, but also its exhibition theme optimized and online and offline services better integrated, said Xu Bing, deputy director of the China Foreign Trade Center. The exhibition has made its due contribution to the high-quality development of the local economy, he said.

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