Insights

A Snapshot of the Events Landscape in China

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Maylis Pigot
Maylis Pigot

General Manager, Shanghai

FreemanXP

Audiences expect the latest and greatest at events—in China and around the world

I’ve spent the last 10 years working within the events industry in the APAC region, originally in Seoul, South Korea, followed by Beijing, China, and most recently the city of Shanghai, China, where I’ve been based for the past two and a half years.

During my time in the country, I’ve learned a lot about local consumers, and developed an understanding around how to deliver events that resonate with them. Below you’ll find my pick of some of the key trends and consumer behaviours emerging in China.

Rapid Change

China is a very fast, very dynamic nation, which means that, as marketers, we need to be extremely proactive, with our finger firmly on the pulse of what's new and next in order to accommodate consumers’ needs at events.

Simply delivering a traditional event is not sufficient anymore. Clients expect a more strategic and thoughtful approach. Attendees want the coolest, latest technology at events, and they want more content produced around them. If you don’t impress delegates in the first instance, you’ll lose them.

Digital Alternatives

Digital is considered very important in China, and a number of alternatives to the apps and social media channels used in the West play an important role in brand experiences.

The Chinese are avid users of an app called WeChat, which is referred to as Weixin in Pinyin. It has 700 million active users and provides text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast messaging, video conferencing, and photograph, video and location sharing functionalities.

WeChat can be used to make payments, and it can be integrated with social networking services such as those run by Facebook and Tencent QQ.

Thanks to the app’s QR code function, it’s now a must that events have their own dedicated QR code for delegates to scan using their smartphone. The QR code contains information about the brand hosting the event and the event itself, making it a great resource for delegates and an excellent way for brands to connect with their audiences in the long term.

Although the Chinese use mainly WeChat, they might also opt for Weibo, which operates in place of Twitter; Youku, which is like YouTube; or Renren, a platform that is similar to Facebook.

Consumers’ Constant Need for Content

Events and digital are very new for the Chinese. Events were only introduced around 15 years ago, yet they are changing at a much faster rate than in other parts of the world. To keep up with that change, Chinese consumers expect a lot of content. They need to have the latest information, and they are always keen to know more. If you don’t feed them enough, they get bored. They tend to switch brands very quickly, so it’s important that we provide interesting and relevant content before, during, and after the event in order to maintain their interest.

Brands’ penchant for live events is well and truly alive in China, as both local and international companies seek new ways to engage the tech-savvy, content-hungry Chinese consumer.

Are you looking to take your event overseas? Be sure to check out our Insights Paper, Going "Glocal": Successful Global Event Strategies, to learn more.

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