Techies risk losing China audience

Roy Ying says event-tech firms are missing out by not linking their platforms to WeChat and Alipay

EVENT registration can be a pain – a labour intensive and time-consuming one.  It’s an obvious event-management function that most prefer to outsource or automate.

Commercial event managers know that every event activity needs to either generate revenue or fulfil sponsorship entitlements.

For events happening outside China, or events that may not appeal to attendees from mainland China, platforms such as Cvent, SignUpGenius, Event Espresso and others are all considered giants.

When conducting business around Asia, however, mobile payment platforms such as WeChat or Alipay have become a must if the event organiser is looking to attract attendees from mainland China.

Some 77 per cent of people in China use mobile payment services, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos in 2017. Statistics from the Payment and Clearing Association of China show that from 2013 to 2016, the number of transactions made through non-banking mobile apps increased from 3.7 billion to more than 97 billion.

Global event-management software giants are still able to compete in the Hong Kong market because the use of mobile payment is not as high as in mainland China.

The global event management software market was valued at US$6.89 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach a value of US$12.51 billion by 2023, and much of the growth is expected to come from China.

Organisers who use innovation to help capture sponsors and attendees will also be in a better position to when grabbing market share.

The situation in this part of the world is clear: with more events in Hong Kong – for instance – targeting attendees from the north, software giants may need to think of integrating their platforms with WeChat or Alipay if they are committed to serving attendees from China.

Roy Ying is a senior corporate communications manager with a blue chip company

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