We’re ready for the rise of China associations

It has been well documented that the Chinese government is continuing to relax its control over the formation and management of trade associations, with Beijing announcing a trial programme to grant autonomy to 148 selected associations last year. Numbers have also swelled in recent years, there were approximately 307,000 associations registered in the country at the end of 2014.

Traditionally the majority of business events from China have been incentive meetings, yet as the nation allows trade associations increased freedom we predict significant growth in China’s meetings industry, generating evolutionary change in the global business events industry.  

The vast majority of these associations have held their meetings in China, however new research indicates they are increasingly looking to launch international events. For example, the World Federation of Chinese Catering Industry has already organised a forum and cooking competition to be hosted in Barcelona this September, alongside its Shanghai event in June.

ICC Sydney has secured close to 40 major international conventions and 50 exhibitions. The change taking place in the Chinese market represents a huge opportunity for Sydney to host an increasing number of business events from the region. We are well aware that these deliver direct economic benefits and broader gains through driving business relationships, information transfer, and industry investment.

As the market continues to evolve, it is vital that we as destinations can adapt to meet these developments by ensuring we are able to fully tailor events to meet a range of new client needs.

More on associations: Venue woes and what it takes to appeal to associations

Sydney and Australia are well positioned to meet these requirements with the development of ICC Sydney, which will open in December, to hold multiple large conventions, shows and exhibitions simultaneously. We recognise that the ability to satisfy a range of international tastes has never been more important, so ICC Sydney will cater for all dietary requirements, including allergens, religious and lifestyle choices.

Tips on cornering China’s association market

The venue and the business events it hosts will play a fundamental role in fostering innovation and the local knowledge economy, which is vital to ensuring Sydney remains globally competitive and attracts the best and brightest.

These shifting trends in China are beginning to drive a ripple of change across the industry. We will continue to work closely with Business Events Australia and Business Events Sydney through in-market business development activities in China to showcase our world-class destination and the world’s most exciting, integrated business events venue at ICC Sydney.

Geoff Donaghy is CEO of International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) and president of the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC)

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