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China needs strategic growth: Grimmer
Caroline Boey, Shanghai, March 28, 2017
 
In setting the stage for last week's IT&CM China Keynote Session and panel discussion on the Future of MICE in China, keynote speaker and moderator, Gary Grimmer, CEO of GainingEdge, said the destination was “waking up” and “the whole game and competitive environment in Asia will change”.
 
Grimmer commented that China’s success so far has been marketing driven but it is becoming more “aware” and “adept” at business events. 
 

Gary Grimmer
 
“But there is still room for growth in exhibitions while China needs to think strategically about the next steps in developing its conventions sector,” he added.
 
When asked if Chinese cities needed sophisticated CVBs, he said “only if they want to be number one in China and among the top five in Asia” and “the CVBs would be different from other destinations but would still take on the functions of a bureau”.
 
In Asia based on ICCA rankings, Hong Kong, at number three, is the top business events city in Greater China, followed by Beijing (fifth), Shanghai (ninth) and Hangzhou (24th).
 
He told TTGmice: “China is lagging in international conventions and that is really important for the transformation of its economy. It will do well to present a case to every minister in charge of trade and foreign direct investment to develop a convention strategy for global trade.”
 
The lack of differentiation between conventions and exhibitions in China, as pointed out during the panel discussion, had resulted in a shortage of purpose-built venues with flexible, multifunction spaces.
 
He added China is also not promoting itself enough and needs people driving convention sales and organising bids.
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