Shanghai a top city for exhibitions and conventions

Cao Qian
Shanghai outperformed other major conference and exhibition centers around the globe in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cao Qian

Shanghai outperformed other major conference and exhibition centers around the globe in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a newly released industry list by the Imp-Exp Executive Magazine.

Among the world’s top 100 exhibitions and conventions held last year, Shanghai hosted 14, taking up 3.24 million square meters in total. This represented a year-on-year increase of 16.8 percent, making the city the No.1 player of the year by both number and scale of the exhibitions and conventions, according to the international trade-focused Chinese business magazine. 

Shanghai’s convention and exhibition industry languished during the early months of 2020 due to the outbreak but started to see a major rebound from June after a slew of guidelines were announced and measures strictly implemented to prevent and control the epidemic.

During the whole of last year, the city held around 550 exhibitions and conventions which took up 11.08 million square meters, a plunge of 47 percent and 43 percent, from 2019, according to the Shanghai Convention and Exhibition Industry Association.

Among all, there were 25 large-scale exhibitions and conventions occupying over 100,000 square meters each, a drop of 20 from the previous 12-month period. These included two mega-size events taking up 300,000 square meters and above, the association’s data showed.

Between June and December, spaces taken up for exhibitions and conventions totaled 10.67 million square meters in the city, almost 90 percent of the level registered the same period a year ago. And the 25 large-scale exhibitions and conventions were all held during the second half.

For the whole year, the city held 181 international exhibitions and conventions taking up 8.74 million square meters, accounting for 78.9 percent of the city’s total in 2020, up 1.5 percentage points from 2019, the association said.

Notably, the third China International Import Expo took up nearly 360,000 square meters, an increase of almost 30,000 square meters from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, to cope with the challenges of the pandemic, the city also partnered with Alibaba in cloud exhibition and convention which brought altogether nearly 20 exhibitions online during the 12-month period.  

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