CIS News

Suzhou Associations in China

Posted: June 1, 2018

IAPCO has just finished its third Suzhou EDGE Bespoke Seminar and was attended by participants from all over China, as far flung as Inner Mongolia, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Beijing, Tianjin, Hunan, Shanghai, Yiwu, Qingdao, among others. Led by the IAPCO Immediate Past President Jan Tonkin, MD of The Conference Company, New Zealand, the IAPCO faculty consisted of Sarah Markey-Hamm, CEO of ICMS Melbourne, and Iftah Amit of global Kenes Meetings Group, in addition to Jan herself.

The association meetings market in China is going through tremendous change, from the previously government-subsidised operations to now being ones that are independent and stand-alone. Hence creating meetings from scratch, one of the key focusses of the seminar, with an existing association is new, current and very pertinent with a lack of precedence on which to draw, resulting in a thirst for knowhow and experience.

Lisa Xu, Managing Director of East Star Event Management Company, a veteran in the industry, discussed the difficulty being faced in expanding associations’ brand and influence in China. She commented that in essence Asian Associations do not trust PCOs. Furthermore Asian associations do not pay much attention to their brand promotion, and remain mired in traditional channels of publicity. She feels that there is much to learn from the experience of the companies represented by the faculty members here in Suzhou in creating meetings from scratch, either establishing one’s own brand through the joint efforts of KOL, internet celebrities, the government and industry stakeholders or helping an existing association to spawn a series of meetings.

Associations require vision, to be able to identify emerging issues with growth potential and invest in it; working with PCOs to establish a solid business model, assess all possible risks, reduce risks in operation, and create a model in which all stakeholders can join.

Lisa said that taking time out of her busy schedule to attend this seminar had proved utterly worthwhile. “One of the chief characteristics of IAPCO education seminar is that it provides a comprehensive summery of the preparation, operation and post-event sustainability of complex, seemingly irregular or random events.”

Author: Dr. Yvonne Hu, Conference Interpreter Services, Invited Member of IAPCO


Photos above L-R, Yvonne Hu, Faculty and Organisers, It was GMID Day!

This article appeared in The PCO – News from IAPCO, Issue No. 81 Q2 2018

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