Canton Fair authorities have been striving over recent years to push for the transformation and upgrading of this huge local event to create a “smart” fair that is more in tune with today’s high tech environment. The thinking is that by coordinating the power of the Internet with foreign trade and the objectives of the fair, economic growth points can be cultivated that will enhance Chinese foreign trade.
China Foreign Trade Centre has put forward a plan to build a smart Canton Fair that will ride a new economic impetus and construct an internet-based economic system. New technologies will be used in every facet of the fair, including exhibition organization, invitations to exhibitors, attracting investments and offering services to participants. Officials believe that harnessing these technologies will greatly improve service quality and standards of the fair, helping the event to fully realize its marketing innovation, intellectualize management, and service facilitation.
A great advantage of the fair today is that people can see large numbers of exhibitions on the spot, via online and offline channels. The combination of the two channels can promote purchasing efficiency. For this month’s 120th edition of the biennial event, key program launches are being aimed at attracting more purchasers to browse products in advance, and then buy them once they come to the fair. Such programs include a new version of the expo’s official website, a fair app, email direct marketing (EDM) and a data processing platform. Also, the organizer is providing follow-up services to get feedback from customers so as to enhance future fairs.
It is much easier than in years past to get more comprehensive and clearer information on the fair. Exhibitors only need to read a guide to apply easily for booth and online leasing. Customers can open an app to gain product information. WeChat updates quickly provide the latest information, and fair-goers also can use WeChat to register for meetings, forums and activities.
The fair is offering new and more efficient services this month. Purchasers are able to access the official fair website quicker and conduct more online business, such as applying for invitations and preregistration. Among the new services are hotel reservations, car rentals, ticket bookings and translation.
Organizers use practical internet technologies to improve the services offered. Meanwhile, they can better accommodate demands from customers. All of the new programs increased reliance on the internet will play an important role in building the Smart Canton Fair.
(By Chris Wang, Louis Berney)