Shanghai show very much back on the road

Michael Kruppe, general manager, Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre (SNIEC), tells EW the venue is booked up once again, for three years ahead.

Bring us up to speed on events in Shanghai and how exhibitions in particular, are faring currently?

After zero expos for all venues in Shanghai in 2022 and just a view in other parts of China, we restarted as of March 2023 and until now almost all shows are running very busy.

Some of them are even better than 2019, so in general we are expecting a good 2023 and 2024 to be back to pre-Covid figures.

As the CEO of SNIEC, what challenges and opportunities have emerged in the current market conditions for events? How has the SNIEC adapted to these conditions?

The main problems during Covid, of course, was controlling safety and security and this now also continues past Covid. This means we still need to control the flow of people, general security and traffic. Also the Shanghai government is much stricter than before Covid, thus leading to higher costs on safety control management in general.

Looking ahead, what events are planned at the SNIEC? Can you highlight any upcoming notable exhibitions?

We are almost booked out for the coming three years, as we were before Covid. This means that almost all old shows will remain, which is super, especially for our large expos like bauma, Furniture, PTC/Cemat, CBE (beauty expo), KBC, etc. However, this also means that there are not too many free slots for new shows.

Sustainability has become a crucial aspect of event management. How does the SNIEC prioritise sustainability in its operations? Can you share any initiatives or strategies implemented to reduce the environmental impact of events?

Absolutely. Whereas primarily the carbon footprint ratio is roughly 80%, the expo itself and 20% the venue, we as a venue have started by optimising operation flows, i.e for traffic, parking, garbage, etc. We also started to use LED lights and are considering offsetting carbon volumes. It’s a long way to go but a long journey always starts with the first step and this we have done.

Could you provide an update on the events industry in China? What trends do you foresee for the future?

It may be a bit too early, as 2023 is the year to stabilise. Certainly, we see more B2C elements being integrated into B2B shows and also topic-wise we see more ESG related shows. Besides lifestyle automation and definitely digitisation are future trends. Also, we see an increasing demand for festivals.

With virtual and hybrid events now a part of the events landscape, how is the SNIEC incorporating digital technologies to enhance the attendee experience and reach a wider audience?

We use digitisation to optimise our operational flow but besides that we do not see an increasing trend vis-a-vis hybrid events. It’s rather the other way round.

How does the SNIEC foster collaboration and partnerships with other industry players to enhance the overall event experience?

As we only have so called guest events, we follow our customers and related industry partners. So, we focus on what made us one of the top venues globally, and that is improve our services and listen to what the customers want. We have developed a special paper for international first timers in SNIEC where we explain all procedures.

Lastly, can you outline any key initiatives or plans that the SNIEC has in place to maintain its position as a leading exhibition centre in the region?

The simple strategy it to continue what we have done successfully the last at least 10 years, and we plan to continue this for the next 10 years: Deliver a transparent top service.

Recently we have designed a new slogan which is rather a key word which is: “S+” in the past we always had three priorities: Service, safety and satisfaction. Now our customers can choose from many more S’s like Stability, Security, Speed and Superexperience.