Citizen Event: According to the latest statistics, the number of exhibitions in China has been a quarter of the number of the global exhibitions, and Shanghai has reached to 10% of China exhibitions. It means Shanghai has played an important role in the industry currently. There will be more chances, absolutely challenges become more as well. As the earliest professional venue with large scale in Shanghai, how does Shanghai New International Centre face opportunities and challenges in the situation?
Michael Kruppe: There are a lot of changes in the Shanghai market. To adapt the changes, we’ve also made some adjustment. For example, the name of us, Shanghai New International Expo Center, is too long, so we got a new brand name, SNIEC. The reason of it is that before our exhibition center is just an exhibition center. Now we want to become like a brand, so we’ve updated a lot of works in our new logo.
And to answer the question directly on competition, nowadays competition is becoming more and more serious. So we asked ourselves how we can keep our customers, how we can still increase our business in the situation. We find out one way, probably also the best way, is to increase our services. Why it is that because more and more international organizers looking into Shanghai, firstly into China, then normally to Shanghai. Especially the international show organizers, most of them have a brand, like Bauma, etc. These shows are all over the world in Brazil, Australia, Japan, South Africa, and these names of the shows are always the same, so it’s like a brand. People know the name well. And because of that, the quality of the brand is very important. I think, for SNIEC, the most important part that we really need to do is to increase our service and to show our customers that now SNIEC is also a brand. So we called the brand 2.0. It’s the first time we have restarted and reshaped our strategy to improve service for our customers. I think that is the main part to answer your first question.
And for the last 2 years, I’ve been very busy and active, visiting America, England, and maybe later Australia to find more new international customers. I explained our new services and we’ve already won 3 shows from America, including a big show from Las Vegas, CES (The Consumer Electronics Show).I think this is the good way for us to get even more customers from overseas.
And the last point, how to face the challenge? Nowadays many venues in China they organize their own shows. But a very important part of our strategy is that SNIEC is independent. It means that SNIEC will never organize our own shows, and we’ll never compete with our customers. I think it is very important. Especially for international organizers, they can trust our management better, for us never copying their shows or contacting their exhibitors. They know they’re safe in SNIEC.
Citizen Event: With the development more than a decade, SNIEC has already built the unique venue brand image in the Asian-Pacific region. In the new period, how will SNIEC build the brand culture and how to promote innovation?
Michael Kruppe: Actually we’ve developed a presentation for our brand culture last year in Kerry Hotel. There was an official presentation for our new logo. And I think the important part of that is the tagline, Experience & Excellence. I think it is the answer to your question. Because experience is not something you can buy, also you cannot copy. Experience is the thing improving over the years and supports our brand. SNIEC is a brand now, people trust brand more than concrete. Also we involve organizers and exhibitors more into our venue, and we listen more to our customers.
Citizen Event : In the next 5 years, many places in China are planning to build large modern venue, such as Shenzhen, Qingdao etc. Pointing at such a large-scale construction, would you like to share your view or some suggestions?
Michael Kruppe: We believe that in the exhibition industry, it’s a little bit overcapacity of exhibition venues currently. But what I heard was that there would still be some new venues in next 2 or 3 years. In general I think there has already been overcapacity; absolutely it’s not a good thing. But you have to look in the location also. As mentioned above Shenzhen, I think Shenzhen is definitely the right location to build a big new exhibition center or conference center together. I was invited last year to be the consultant of constructing new exhibition center in Shenzhen. I happily accepted the invitation because I don’t think Shenzhen and Shanghai is a competitive relationship. So we discussed with some officials from government and the exhibition owners. I still think that whole south China area around Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Dongguan, etc needs a big exhibition center of five hundred thousand square meters. But then if we talk about other cities, there have so many projects. It looks like they really want to build that, and they have money to build.
So my recommendation is to governments or whoever is in charge of building a new exhibition center, they should really do the homework. It means that they should underline the local market, and clear how to attract the exhibitors to come to join such a show. Because we all know the advantages of Shanghai for products, for services, whatever show you have, Shanghai is a No.1 place to commercialize your business. People know that and now Shanghai is one million square meters of available exhibition space. It has already been advanced in the world I think. And I think in Shanghai there will be a good future for 2 large venues. Because Shanghai is a platform for commercializing.
Citizen Event A virtuous circle is the developing trend for the Convention and Exhibition industry. As the venue, how does SNIEC work to create this?
Michael Kruppe: The last one actually is difficult. Why? Because it’s not commercial. To build that harmonious cycle as we said, you need to talk to other partners or stakeholders as well. So let’s talk about something about SNIEC, we know that we have to talk to our neighbors. If I mean neighbors in Pudong, you can see outside, there are buildings, hotels, also other people around us here. We want to be more actively. What we probably started last year was that we might invite residence living near SNIEC to let them better understand what we’re doing and why sometimes there are so many cars on the streets. Because during big exhibitions, sometimes traffic is a bit crowded. We know that, so we try to prove actively build this harmonious cycle to involve local government. Also this year we try to plan some neighborhood activities, maybe we’ll invite some residents to have a look to join some show or maybe some food activity or music. This actually is a very good point that SNIEC really wants to prove our social responsibility. And I also work close to the other hotels, like the Kerry Hotel, Jumeirah. I’ve already talked to general manager and invited them to join this activity in our neighborhood.
I think the main part for your question here is that it’s important to let people better understand us in the future. The activities for an exhibition center, it’s not just a convention in the building; it can be much more in the buildings. But it takes time to explain to people, and we may also do some press conferences or some press releases where we also want to show that we really have social responsibility. And maybe for this point also we have to listen more to other people. We don’t want to tell them, we want to listen and understand what kind of idea they have, maybe they have some good proposals. So I think this attitude is essential for us or for an exhibition center, not only for SNIEC.I think every exhibition center should look for the contacts to neighbors.
What’s more, for harmonious, it’s a combination also regarding security and safety. We especially, the SNIEC, but again I suggested other venues also should do that. We actively developed a new health and safety manual almost every year to improve the handling of visitors, the food beverage for example. We want to make this more safe, harmonious and friendly for visitors and anybody who comes to our venue should feel safe and secure.