IT&CM China: Priorities of Chinese Association Executives

Shanghai  – The importance of the Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) in winning business for China, organising large-scale association meetings, and the benefits on associations to use social media to propel their association meetings’ ROI. These highlights of this year’s Association Day – returning for the 2nd consecutive year – reflect the urgencies and priorities that today’s Chinese Association Executives need to master.

Alicia Yao, General Manager of IME Consulting said, “Everyone knows the invaluable benefits that come with being a host destination of an association meeting. With China being a relatively new player in the industry, coupled with its culturally unique and geographically vast traits, success might not come easy especially when other more experienced destinations are vying for the same business.” According to Yao, this is where local Chinese PCOs can play a strong role to help Chinese associations collaborate with their international counterparts to bring meetings to China. As the head honcho of a PCO company, she adds, “The emergence of more professional PCOs strengthen China’s position as a MICE destination. In turn, there will be more international conferences being held in China which goes into improving our economy and technology development.”

Yao is just one of the Association Day expert speakers that will be lending expertise and knowledge to champion the forums. Joining her in the plenary session “Association Meetings in China: The Role of a PCO in Winning Business for China” are China National Convention Center’s Senior Director, Jennifer Salsbury, and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences’ Vice-Chairman, Department of Immunology, Huang Bo. The duo will complete the well-rounded discussion by bringing perspectives of a Convention Centre and a Chinese Association respectively.

Other established authorities fronting the Association Day sessions include local representatives from China Electrical Equipment Industry, China Nonprescription Medicines Association, Eventown Group, International Dragon Award (IDA) Executive Committee, and Meeting Professionals International (MPI).

The positive growth of Chinese associations and their membership numbers also present logistical and planning challenges of organising large-scale meetings, especially when it takes place outside of the country. “This is a scenario that many local Chinese associations are increasingly facing,” comments Richard Wu, Chairman of the IDA Executive Committee, and speaker of “Learning from Success: Large-scale Association Meetings”. He invites anyone interested to tap on his ready experience to attend this session. “I will be sharing a success case-study based on our recently concluded International Dragon Award Annual Conference held in 2013. Since 1996, we have held our congress in 15 different cities and each year we faced different challenges. Delegates will learn how they can obtain strong support from the local government, how to adapt to the different cultures from all over the world, and how they can attract officials to attend their congress,” says Wu.

Facilitator of “Social Media: A New Paradigm for Association Meetings?”, Zhang Nan, Project Manager of MPI shared the motivation behind the significance of this session. “The Chinese are leading the new trend of consumption which means social media is fast becoming an important source of information for the brand and product decision. Besides the benefits of social media, delegates will learn how to develop a social media marketing strategy, build the social infrastructure for their events and integrate social media with online registration.” Fellow MPI members Tang Liang, Founder and CEO of Eventown Group, Tong Jing, Deputy Secretary-General of China Nonprescription Medicines Association and Lu Chenyu, Director of Standard Institute of China Electrical Equipment Industry. On why this is a must-attend session, Zhang summarises, “As the largest and most vibrant global meeting and event industry association, this MPI-led session is a great opportunity for delegates to understand how leveraging on social media is beneficial for their associations to be relevant.”

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IT&CM China 2014 will be held from April 15 to 17 at Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center. This is the 8th instalment of the international MICE event that seeks to “Promote China to the World and the World to China”. This year’s event will see an attendance of 3,000 MICE professionals from sectors including DMCs, PCOs, corporate travel and associations, some 400 hosted delegates, over 10,000 business appointments as well as over 60 business, education and networking sessions.

The event is organised by TTG Events, a business group of TTG Asia Media, CITS International M.I.C.E – a wholly-owned subsidiary of CITS (China International Travel Service) and MP International. It has the support of the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration (SMTA), Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Industries Association (SCEIA), Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) and Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE), International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), MICE Committee of China Association of Travel Services (CATS), Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and Society of Incentive Travel Executives (Site) China chapter.

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