Despite the recent ups and downs in the Chinese stock market, the country’s meetings and convention landscape appears to be very healthy. The Global Business Travel Association just completed its first-ever assessment of China’s MICE market, and the numbers point to one fact: China creates opportunities for convention professionals. In 2014, Chinese attendees took a total of 138.5 million domestic trips to participate in convention and exhibition programming, and they spent approximately $110 billion US dollars. If you think that’s impressive, just wait until the GBTA completes its next assessment. Twenty-nine percent of Chinese business travelers say they plan to attend more meetings over the next year.
Joseph Bates, Vice President of Research at the GBTA Foundation, says the 2014 spend in China is second only to the US. “The MICE segment presents a large opportunity for travel suppliers, and we expect it to continue to grow at a rapid pace as China’s economy expands,” Bates said.
While the recent numbers are promising, economists are wary of how that expansion will look in the near future due to the country’s bigger picture. “China is going to have a significant decline in growth,” Dr. Amir Sufi, Chicago Board of Trade Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said at the CEIR Predict Conference in Chicago earlier this year.
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Regardless of a slowdown in growth, China’s population has already become a potential prize for any organization looking to engage a wider audience. Earlier this year, a report from Credit Suisse revealed that the Chinese middle class now outnumbers the US middle class. With 109 million people in the category, meeting professionals should work to develop strategies to connect with prospective Chinese attendees who are hungry for the education and networking opportunities that fuel career growth. However, outlining a plan for Chinese growth will require plenty of additional work.
“[Organizing a meeting in China] is like doing business on Mars,” Phelps Hope, CMP, Kellen Meetings, said at Convening Leaders 2015. “So you have to prepare that everything you know is going to be tested. It’s the way of doing business, the way you communicate to people and the expectations you have.”
Looking for insights to prepare you for connecting with Chinese attendees? Check out “10 Essential Lessons You Should Know Before Hosting APAC Attendees.”