Recent years have witnessed the fast-growing convention & exhibition industry of Shanghai, which has become an important platform for the construction of a modern market system and an open economic system. In 2016, Shanghai Government clearly set the goal of building the city into an “International City of Convention & Exhibition” in the plan of developing Shanghai into an international trade center during the 13th five-year period. In 2017, the number of exhibitions and the total exhibition area were up 19.86% and 16.98% respectively from 2015, 51.34% and 85.71% from 2011, topping the country and leading the world. The development of the city’s exhibition industry presents the following four characteristics:
First, the exhibition scale has grown steadily. In 2017, a total of 1,020 exhibitions of various kinds were held in Shanghai, with a total exhibition area of 17,698,600 square meters, up 10.12% from the previous year. There were 40 exhibitions with a size of 50,000 to 100,000 square meters, with the exhibition area of 2,776,300 square meters, accounting for 15.69% of the city’s total exhibition area; 36 exhibitions with a size of more than 100,000 square meters, with the exhibition area of 6,720,600 square meters, accounting for 37.97% of the total. Among them, there were 6 super large exhibitions with a size of more than 300,000 square meters, with the exhibition area reaching 2,064,800 square meters.
Second, the capacity of holding exhibitions has been markedly enhanced. The main exhibition halls of Shanghai have an available exhibition area of nearly 1,000,000 square meters in total, topping the world’s major convention & exhibition cities. Shanghai is also the only city in China which has two mega exhibition halls with an indoor exhibition area of more than 200,000 square meters each. In 2017, the exhibition areas of National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) and Shanghai New International Expo Center increased 27.15% and 12.17% respectively from the previous year, and the turnover of the venues was 13.03 and 33.92 times. The two centers attracted more than 15 million exhibitors and visitors.
Third, the exhibitions have become more and more international. In 2017, 293 international exhibitions were held in Shanghai, up 2.09% from the previous year, with an exhibition area of 13,291,600 square meters, up 12.88% and accounting for 75.10% of the city’s total. So far, Shanghai has had 20 exhibition projects certified by the UFI, ranking first in the country.
Fourth, the market has become more vigorous. The reform of the approval system for international exhibitions has effectively stimulated market vitality. The number of international exhibitions held by businesses registered outside Shanghai accounted for about 1/4 of the city’s total during the same period. The exhibitions have become increasingly specialized. Featured exhibitions have been held in areas of building materials & hardware, textile & machinery, real estate & home furnishing, machinery, food & beverage, and advertisement & media. Many of them have evolved into famous brands. These exhibitions accounted for a half of the over-100,000-square-meter exhibitions. Shanghai’s development of the free trade zone has reduced the cost of international conventions and exhibitions for the equipment manufacturing and the processing industries, thus effectively facilitating the development of the convention & exhibition industry in Shanghai.