Sixty years ago, the fledgling People’s Republic of China selected Beijing to be the state’s new capital. The city had been China’s capital before, during the Ming Dynasty, but the city had subsequently fallen out of favour as the political centre of the Middle Kingdom. The decision to return to Beijing was a recognition of the city’s enduring historical and cultural status.
Today, with what the government calls “China’s peaceful rise”, political interest and economic opportunity have once again made Beijing one of the world’s up-and-coming centres of power.
However, only now has the city opened a conference facility that reflects this growing importance. The China National Convention Centre (CNCC) in the Olympic Green area of Beijing, alongside the Water Cube and Bird’s Nest stadiums, is another indicator of the country’s determination to make its mark on the international stage.
The centre’s facilities, already used during the 2008 Olympic Games, will be able to cater to both large-scale conferences as well as smaller meetings and to hold incentive rallies, host corporate banquets and the like. This will be on a scale and in surroundings that the country has lacked until now. The number of events the centre has already picked up is testament to the pent-up demand for a world-class purpose-built venue in Beijing.
It hosts meetings and incentives buyers and specialists at the CIBTM trade show every summer.
Liu Haiying, CEO of the centre, says: “The CNCC has proudly received very encouraging pre-bookings even in these challenging times. For the first five years of operation, there are a total of 173 events expected to attract over 320,000 attendees to Beijing.
“In November and December 2009 alone, CNCC has secured over 60 conventions, exhibitions and corporate events. In addition to the 24th FISM World Championships of Magic 2009 successfully held at CNCC in late July, CNCC is naturally delighted at the prospect of hosting the CIBTM, a perfect platform to present the new facilities to the international meetings and exhibitions industry.”
Beijing is home to several hundred Chinese professional associations and societies, especially in the scientific and medical fields. With China’s growing role on the world stage and its status as the world’s most populous country, the hope is that this will build a platform to take advantage of the tremendous curiosity about the country to fuel a dramatic upsurge in global congresses coming to China.
Liu acknowledges the importance of the medical sector to the centre.
“June 2010 will see some 16,000 delegates attending the World Cardiology Congress (2010 WCC) at CNCC, which will set a new record of China. We’ve strengthened our sales force to develop the corporate events sector like roadshows and award ceremonies as well as entertainment business. As a result, some top brands’ new product launches and performances have been confirmed in off-season.
“We’ve always been dedicated to providing our clients around the world with professional services and integrated solutions while working closely with organisers and suppliers to operate environmentally friendly to make the venue and events green,” he says.
Of course, Beijing is used to being in the global media glare and the CNCC was intimately involved in the great Olympics spectacular last year.
The centre was home to the international media during the Olympics and even hosted some indoor sporting events, such as fencing.
With hotel occupancy rates low across the city and price-cutting the order of the day, event organisers are in a strong position to negotiate the best accommodation deals seen in Beijing for years. For those for whom convenience is a critical factor, there is the four-star CNCC Grand Hotel adjacent to the centre. The hotel has 443 rooms, including 71 Executive Rooms and nine suites.
Accessibility to Beijing Capital International Airport is easy enough being just 30 minutes’ drive away. Delegates can also explore the great sights of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, which are within reasonable walking distance and beneath the centre is a Beijing subway station connecting to other parts of the city.
The CNCC is a long overdue addition to one of the world’s most intriguing and fascinating events destinations.
Convention hall (level 4): 5,700 theatre-style
Ballroom (level 1): 4,500 theatre-style
Lecture hall (level 3): 396
Parking: 1,000 cars
China National Convention Centre
No. 7 Tianchen East Road,
Beijing 100105 China
tel: 86 10 6499 1899