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Stand out from Guangzhou and Shenzhen

Dongguan blazes a new path of unique features for doing exhibitions.

Taken by Lu Zheng, Reporter of Guangzhou Daily

A volunteer played an original cartoon character on the 7th China International Animation Copyright Fair.

Taken by Ge Yufei, Reporter of Guangzhou Daily

 

 

Dongguan Fairs and Exhibitions ——

Coordinator /Guangzhou Daily Guan Xudong

    Authors/Guangzhou Daily Huang Jiangjie, Jiang Lu, Guan Xudong

2015 is a fruitful year. Fairs and exhibitions of all scales take turns to shine in Dongguan. In addition to the conventional large-scale China Processing Trade Products Fair, China International Animation Copyright Fair, Taiwan Famous Fair and China (Dongguan) International Science and Technology Cooperation Week, some other large fairs also prefer Dongguan this year, for instance, Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo and the 1st Dongguan Cross-border E-commerce Online to Online Foreign Trade Expo (abbreviated as “O2O Expo”).

Reporter found that in recent years, many exhibitions held in Dongguan became international, with more overseas companies and institutions. Due to these exhibitions, a large number of leaders and talents in different fields came to Dongguan, which greatly improves the city image. In the opinion of industry insiders, after professionalization and socialization, Dongguan’s conference and exhibition industry is taking its step further in branding and international path.

Dongguan, located between Guangzhou and Shenzhen both well developed in conferences and exhibitions, takes advantage of its manufacturing industry and blazes a unique way to hold exhibitions among these two big cities.

 

Booming in the manufacturing base

Dongguan grew and thrived on the manufacturing industry. As the manufacturing industry continued to grow and mature, there was an increasing demand for fairs and exhibitions. Then the conference and exhibition industry rose in response to the proper time and conditions, and has been booming ever since.

Dongguan knew well how to give full play to its industrial strength, and a series of fairs and exhibitions including Humen International Fashion Fair, International Famous Furniture Fair, China (Chang An) International Machinery, Hardware & Mould Industry Exhibition and China Toys Fair, emerged one after another.

At the beginning, Dongguan found it particularly challenging and difficult under the sway of Guangzhou and Shenzhen both excelling in fairs and exhibitions.

In March 1999, the 1st International Famous Furniture Fair inaugurated in Houjie, Dongguan. At that time, it was only a small-scale exhibition with merely 232 exhibitors. However, after 32 successful sessions, up to now it has developed into a world-class exhibition, expanding from 40 thousand to 910 thousand square meters and increasing the number of exhibitors from 232 to 1,361. It has been known as the solid indicator for the furniture industry in Dongguan.

In 2009, Dongguan braved winds and waves to hold the 1st Guangdong Foreign-invested Enterprises Commodities Fair while still busy with expanding the domestic market. Three years later, it changed its name to China Processing Trade Products Fair and upgraded to national level, becoming the sole national exhibition directly serving transformation and upgrading of the processing trade.

 

“4 Big Fairs” stand out from the crowd.

This year is definitely a fruitful year for Dongguan, since all kinds of exhibitions and events are held here as scheduled. However, the 4 big fairs, namely China Processing Trade Products Fair (abbreviated as “the Processing Fair”), China International Animation Copyright Fair (abbreviated as “the Animation Fair”), Taiwan Famous Fair and Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo (abbreviated as “the Maritime Expo”), stand out from the crowd.

In terms of economic returns, the 4 big fairs achieved the total volume of transactions amounting to 270 billion yuan and attracted totally 8,000 corporate purchasers. To be more specific, for the Processing Fair, 7,109 business cooperation projects were reached and the intended turnover of transactions reached 89.6 billion yuan; for the Taiwan Famous Fair, the gross turnover reached 2.62 billion yuan; for the Animation Fair, the gross turnover totaled 3.49 billion yuan; for the Maritime Expo, 451 projects (including 179 projects valuing 100 million yuan or more) were successfully signed, involving a total amount of 174.7 billion yuan.

 

With complete facilities and great government support

Why does the Maritime Expo, boosting undisputed international influence, choose Dongguan as its host city? The deputy director of the Organizing Committee of the Maritime Expo and director-general of CCPIT Guangdong Mr. Chen Qiuyan responded, “Its predominant geological location, huge foreign trade volume and large number of processing trade enterprises are the keys. In addition, the municipal Party committee and the government pay high attention and give substantial support and cooperation to that.”

“The fast development of Dongguan’s conference and exhibition industry benefits a lot from its early start, complete facilities and the manufacturing industry”, the executive director of Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center and executive vice secretary-general of Dongguan Convention & Exhibition Industry Association Mr. Jiang Huai said.

In March 2002, the first phase of Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center was completed and came into operation as the largest single exhibition hall in Asia and one of the three biggest international exhibition centers in Guangdong. According to Jiang Huai, Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center expects 20-odd fairs and exhibitions this year.

So far Dongguan situates three professional exhibition centers, namely Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center, Dongguan International Exhibition Center and Changping Exhibition Center, with a total floor space of 552 thousand square meters and a total outdoor exhibition area of about 150 square meters and capable of accommodating more than 7,000 stands inside. In particular, Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Hall is equipped with 8 fixed exhibition halls, and in terms of scale, ranks only second to Pazhou International Conference And Exhibition Center.

Gain an insight into the tracks of development of Dongguan’s exhibition industry from a single one exhibition.

 

Realize a leap from local to international based on the manufacturing industry.

The 32th International Famous Furniture Fair (Dongguan) had its grand opening in September this year. 10 exhibition halls covering 780,000 sqm were enabled. Over 800 domestic and overseas exhibitors gathered in the Furniture Exhibition Area and displayed their latest products, while more than 60 redwood furniture exhibitors came together in the Redwood Exhibition Area and showed their valuable and exquisite products. As one of the most senior exhibitions in Dongguan, the International Famous Furniture Fair with a long history of 15 years, has secured its good reputation both at home and abroad.

 

In the early days, it went door by door to invite exhibitors.

In March 1999, the 1st International Famous Furniture Fair inaugurated in Houjie, Dongguan. At that time, it was only a small-scale exhibition with merely 232 exhibitors and an exhibition area of 40 thousand square meters.

Mr. Fang Runzhong, deputy secretary-general of Dongguan Famous Furniture Association developed a linking for the International Famous Furniture Fair in May 1999 when the second session was still under preparation. He then told the media that the Organizing Committee had to send staff to go door by door to invite exhibitors from Shenzhen, Shantou, Shunde and other cities in Zhejiang Province, and they usually started off at 8 in the morning and went back home at 11 to 12 at night. “They were not afraid of hardship and fatigue, but kissing the post was the last thing they expected”, added Fang.

Back at that time, the International Famous Furniture Fair was far less renowned than today and many enterprises even never heard of it. Staff had to rack their brains to get in the door. They collected a great deal of information of furniture manufacturers from place to place and did not mind taking all the trouble to send them invitation and exhibition material.

As the deputy secretary-general of Dongguan Famous Furniture Association Mr. Yu Xuguang recalled, the 40-thousand-sqm exhibition hall was unambitiously located on the Furniture Avenue in Houjie town and would not have grown into a high-end modern one without participating the construction of Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center in 2002.

 

Take deep root in the manufacturing base.

Since the second session, the International Famous Furniture Fair began to earn considerable reputation in the domestic market, and now 15 years have passed, the Fair has quintupled the number of exhibitors and fifteenfolded its scale. Today this semi-annual exhibition held in March and September, has boomed into a globally influential industrial exhibition. According to Mr. Yu, in addition to great emphasis on superior service quality, innovation and brand building, the Fair has taken deep root in the furniture manufacturing industry and it explains why it is a success.

Industry analysts believe that there are no other places more suitable than Houjie for doing furniture exhibitions, because Houjie enjoys profound industrial foundation. It is a great convenience for the purchasers to directly visit the factory and complete a transaction as long as they pick out specific product. As a matter of fact, this kind of exhibition can be found everywhere in Dongguan, such as Humen International Fashion Fair, China (Dalang) International Woolen Knitwear Fair and China Processing Trade Products Fair. They all, by relying heavily on the well-developed manufacturing industry, develop a style of their own and survive the competition against Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

 

Features

Feature 1

Upgrade to National Level

In recent years, many local exhibitions have been upgraded to the national level. For example, the China Processing Trade Products Fair, established in 2009 by the name of Guangdong Foreign-invested Enterprises Commodities Fair, was officially promoted to a national exchange platform exclusively for the processing trade products in 2012. For another example, the Animation Fair that has just pulled off the sixth session this year, is also a national one.

Since the beginning of this year, the Processing Fair, the Animation Fair, the Taiwan Famous Fair and some other conventional big exhibitions have made new breakthroughs in investment scale and volume of transaction. Besides, key words like “largest scale”, “broadest coverage”, “first-ever”, “international event”, “national conference” and “highest specification” have been mentioned repeatedly. For example, the Maritime Expo is known as a first-ever grand gathering of the largest scale and the highest specification.

Jiang Huai believes that Dongguan is striding towards branding and internationalization after success of professionalization and socialization.

 

Feature 2

Big names gather here.

In addition to fairs and sales exhibitions, a variety of conferences also contribute a lot to exchange and communication among enterprises. During every exhibition this year, big names get together and guests and friends fill up the space.

Take the 2015 Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo as an example, a multitude of famous experts and scholars both at home and abroad were present, including the renowned economist Mr. Lin Yifu, the chief negotiator for China's accession to the WTO Mr. Long Yongtu, the counsellor of the Counsellors' Office of the State Council Mr. Du Ying, the chancellor of the University of Venice Mr. Li Jiya, the Principal of Peking University Mr. Wang Enge and the academician of China Academy of Science Mr. Chen Shiyi.

What’s more, a group of political VIPs from countries along the Maritime Silk Road also attended the Expo, including but not limited to the chairman of Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Ms. Huang Yanyan, the deputy director-general of the Ministry of Education and Sports of Laos and the deputy director-general of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation of Cambodia.

 

The image of Dongguan gets a boost from meeting of great minds and collision of ideas.

Comments

From enterprises: an excellent opportunity for product show

Mr. Yi Jingxiang, general manger of Dongguan Fudi Electronics Co., Ltd., took its self-developed full-automatic terminal crimping machine to the Processing Fair. He said, “Thanks to its debut, many domestic enterprises now know of our new product and have visited our factory for more information immediately after the Fair.” He also believed that the high specification and huge influence of the Fair would definitely do well to the market promotion of the new product.

Dongguan Minghui Animation Sci-tech Co., Ltd. is an exhibitor of the 7th China International Animation Copyright Fair. Its general manager Mr. Li Zhihai told the reporter that because original animation products required long production cycle and heavy investment, it was very difficult to recover the cost, let alone make profit, if enterprises merely relied on selling the copyright and broadcasting right of the products. He also added, “The original animation enterprises must count on manufacturing of derivatives for the sake of long-term development. The Animation Fair exactly happens to provide us with multiple channels and resources.”

Officials from Dongguan Yongqiang Vehicles Manufacturing Co., Ltd. said that employees started to learn English to get well prepared for the Maritime Fair to be held in November and it did establish business contact with Ethiopia and some other countries after exhibition, really heading for internationalization.

 

Citizens: It has become a habit of bargain hunting on fairs and exhibitions.

Miss. Yang Xin, a student from the Junior High School Department of Dongguan Middle School, said with great pleasure that she had gotten what she wanted in the Animation Fair at the total price of 200-odd yuan. “The Animation Fair is getting better and better, because there are more exhibits and the ticket costs less and less,” she added.

The reporter learned that many fairs and exhibitions welcomed public visit and citizens in large quantities were attracted to them by their good reputation. Nowadays, it has become a habit for the Dongguan citizens to hunt the latest products on fairs and exhibitions of all kinds.

 

■ Prospects

Introduce professional talents and enhance exhibition management

The economics professor Cha Risheng from the Party School of Dongguan Municipal Committee of CPC believes that Dongguan’s exhibition industry was borne and grows on the following three foundations. First of all, it is the need of industrial development in different towns, for example China (Dalang) International Woolen Knitwear Fair and Humen International Fashion Fair. Secondly, the government plays a dominating role, for instance the China Processing Trade Products Fair. Thirdly, it is in tune with the national strategy, for example the Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo.

Professor Cha also said, “It now appears that the coverage of some fairs and exhibitions overlaps in one or another way. Therefore, it’s better to resort to resources integration and concentrate efforts on developing brand exhibitions.”

“For development of the exhibition industry, the greatest weakness of Dongguan lies in its inferior geographical location between Guangzhou and Shenzhen. It means it is impossible to have certain fairs or exhibitions of national strategic significance held in Dongguan,” Professor Cha added.

As some industry insiders said, a few years ago, Dongguan-based fairs and exhibitions were held concurrently with Canton Fair and Shenzhen Trade Fair, attempting to attract their exhibitors and visitors, but after years of development now they have developed a style of their own and become indispensible to the Pearl River Delta and also a vital force for Dongguan’s economy.

In the opinion of Lin Jiang, director of Tax Affairs Department of Lingnan College, Sun Yat-sen University, the exhibition industry is an important new-type industry in Dongguan, particularly in the course of industrial transformation and upgrading; therefore, it cannot survive and grow without close attention and great support from the government.

Lin also believes Dongguan now faces two major challenges in development of the exhibition industry. The first one that is there are too many fairs and exhibitions of uneven quality, and in order to address that problem and become increasingly stronger, Dongguan should sort them out and prioritize the important ones.

The second major challenge is that Dongguan is lack of preeminent exhibition management companies, and instead of making the most of the market forces, the fairs and exhibitions rely heavily on government support, inevitably causing some of them to remain at low level.

 

In Lin’s opinion, to overcome this problem Dongguan should figure out some ways to introduce relevant talents and improve exhibition governance with international visions. 

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