by Michael J. Shapiro | October 01, 2013
The burgeoning meetings market in China and the surrounding region is showing strong growth, according to the latest IBTM Meetings Industry Report, which focuses on China and Southeast Asia. The research was released at the China Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition, held Sept. 2-4 in Beijing.  

As China's government attempts to shift to a service-based economy from one previously so reliant on manufacturing, the number of meetings planned by survey respondents has increased dramatically, according to the IBTM report. Of the 455 respondents, 300 were buyers; of the 214 of those who provided value and volume figures for the report, more than two-thirds (68 percent) were responsible for organizing 6,106 events in China in the past year -- an average of 44 events per planner.

The average spend per planner on events in China over the past year was US$818,038. Overall spend across Asia, by all buyers in the sample, was US$207,075,000.

The capital city of Beijing brought in about 25 billion RMB (US$4.085 billion) in revenue related to meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions in 2012, according to the Chinese government, an 11.5 percent increase over the previous year. "We want to learn how to promote Beijing as a meetings destination throughout the world," said Cao Pengcheng, vice chairman of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development, at a CIBTM press conference.

Domestically, the capital city is seeing more competition from secondary destinations. In Hainan, for example, IBTM survey respondents planned an average of 14 events last year, compared to 12 events in Beijing. Buyers planned an average of 11 events in Guangzhou.

CIBTM itself continues to grow. This year's show attracted 410 hosted buyers, a 13 percent increase over last year, and more than 300 were from China. The number of exhibitors grew by 17 percent, and session attendance was up 113 percent.