Accurate Matchmaking Service Along With Industry Insights Will Get the Industry Back on Track
Alex Wang, the Assistant Vice President of Reed Exhibitions speaks about the COVID impact on businesses, hitting the restart button, and new markets to tap into for business opportunities
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business?
COVID-19 has been a global challenge. Due to the pandemic, our overseas visitors and buyers cannot attend our onsite show, therefore we had to propose alternative channels for them to involve in our shows as we have been an international trade platform. We have been aiming to provide best services to our visitors and exhibitors.
What was the key learning from this pandemic?
We need to be FLEXIBLE, which means face challenges with confidence, embrace transformation, and invoke innovation. We have to put visitors’ and exhibitors’ benefits on top priority. To minimize the influence of the pandemic on our physical shows, we initiated a series of E-programs to set up an Omni-channel platform that makes our exhibitors, visitors, and buyers meet face-to-face still possible during the difficult time. We made a decision shortly after the breakout of the COVID-19 that we needed to resort to E-channels and create more options for our visitors and exhibitors. We launched two pilot programs to see the feasibility- “Reed Packaging Business School”, a Packaging Seminar Platform initiated in early March, and Online Matchmaking Program in mid-May.
Positive feedback received from the successful completion of 37 sessions seminar and 130 sessions matchmaking made us believe that the Virtual Show is a must-to-go this year. We proposed 5 programs during the Virtual Show, i.e, Themed Guided Tour, Guided Tour Specialist Service, Online Matchmaking, Live Seminar and Exhibitor Interview, which provided multiple opportunities for visitors and buyers to connect with onsite exhibitors in different time zones and in diversified forms.
Did you come across new and innovative opportunities for diversification and monetization?
Yes, for sure. As mentioned above, we have taken steps to explore the potential virtual show and combined it with the physical show. Furthermore, we are going to hold another live show online in the corrugated and folding carton industry in 2021 January. It is expected to gather over 200 suppliers and attract more than 20,000 online audiences.
Tell us about ways through which businesses can reshape or hit the restart button?
The packaging and printing industries do hit by the COVID-19 downturn. Currently, the situation in China has been under control. The government has introduced multiple policies to boost the economic recovery, in terms of packaging and printing industries, there have been subsidies for packaging and printing machinery, and smart manufacturing project as well as a low-interest loan. We are also confident that the global economy will back on its track soon.
In this circumstance, an industry event gathering industry practitioners to restart the business and rebuild confidence. 7-IN-1 Sino Mega Show, consisting of SinoCorrugated, SinoFoldingCarton, China Pakcgaing Container Expo, SinoFlexPack, SinoPaper, Intralogistics, Process Management Expo, Digital Priting Equipment and Technology Expo, covering the whole packaging industry chain is an leading international trade platform and has been committed to the industry development.
What sort of dialogues have you had with your employees, partners, clients about the way forward?
Reed has initiated caring plans and taken safety protection measures promptly after the breakout of the virus to ensure employees’ mental and physical health. We have also stayed in communication with our partners to know about the global market trends and real demands raised by the clients. It is acknowledged by our exhibitors that it is rather important to improve company’s image and win the trust from customers at the time than focusing on short-term interest.
There are also new business opportunities arising from the growth of express and medical packaging. It is a cost-effective investment to participate in an influential trade show. We received feedback from the visitors and buyers that currently the top priorities should be increasing income and reducing expenditure as well as downsizing for efficiency. Automation and intelligent manufacturing are the inevitable trends.
It is the right time to visit a trade platform like Sino Shows where they can connect with suitable suppliers of automated machinery by one step ahead, and enjoy favorable price at the special time. To meet the needs of the market, exhibitors and visitors, that’s why we have come a long way here. As a platform that has been committed to be an industry promoter and contributor, it’s our duty to help each other to bridge over the difficulties.
Are there any new markets that have opened up with opportunities during the pandemic period?
Yes, I believe so. During the pandemic period, convenience food, catering & take-out, and the big health industry in China have seen fast growth. According to the statistics, convenience food consumption had grown 1.5 times from January to May. Especially, consumption exploded in February and grew 21.3 times due to the outbreak of covid-19 and home office policy, and then gradually slowed down after March.
Catering & take-out industry transactions reached RMB 291.25 billion and are expected to rise 18.8% at RMB 346 billion in 2020. BYHEALTH, the leader in the big health industry had reached RMB 5.033 billion revenue in the first three quarters of 2020, rising 14.88% year-on-year. Correspondingly, packaging demand in these sectors has seen rapid growth. Meanwhile, the new markets posed strict requirements for packaging, such as increasing product seeking for contactless, food-grade, and more sustainable package. This is a challenge but also an opportunity for the packaging industry.
What sort of growth has the packaging industry seen, considering the growth of online deliveries and the e-commerce market over the past couple of months?
The packaging industry has suffered from a pandemic downturn. However, some sectors especially e-commerce packaging have grown against the trend. Social distancing and quarantine policies initiated to control the spread of COVID-19 have prompted e-commerce. According to the statistics, e-commerce consumption skyrocketed during the pandemic and is seeing explosive growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, especially will be driven by the annual e-commerce festival- “Double 11 Shopping Carnival”. According to China Post Bureau, China’s express delivery business rose 27.9% year-on-year. We can see e-commerce packaging demand has seen rapid growth correspondingly.
What is the scenario of the printing sector in the region? Have you seen any major diversification in other areas by major players in the industry?
The printing and packaging sector in China has realized the inevitable trend of smart factories and intelligent manufacturing. It is accelerating the transformation speed towards automation under the circumstance. It is also required by the response to the downsizing for higher efficiency.
Tell us about how your products and solutions can help your customers diversify into new areas for business continuity?
Our Sino Mega Show, covering the whole packaging industry chain, is dedicated to establishing a global professional trade platform where buyers and suppliers meet and find potential partners. We have been committed to the set-up of an ecological industry chain and to providing more value-added services to the visitors and exhibitors by bringing synergistic effects into full play.
During the special situation, we still tried our best to meet the demands from the visitors and exhibitors. We had received a great deal of purchase demand from overseas buyers in spite of they may not attend our physical show 2020 edition. We decided to set up a multiple-channel trade platform. We took advantage of our global call centers in Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and etc. to collect purchase demands from buyers and arrange online meetings with matched suppliers.
Other programs including Online Guided Tours, Guided Specialist Service, Live Seminar and Exhibitor Interview provided a brand new show experience to both the visitors and exhibitors. We managed to provide an innovate but efficient visitor service and create more opportunities for the exhibitors to meet with overseas buyers. 6-IN-1 Sino Mega Show 2020 successfully wrapped on July 24th.
Do you believe the regional market still has potential and opportunities? With new markets opening up like KSA and Israel, do you believe there are more opportunities popping up?
Absolutely. China’s printing and packaging capacity has now surpassed Japan’s, second only to the United States. However, the per capita packaging consumption is quite low. In addition, driven by the strong domestic consumption market and supported by government encourage policies and recovered situation. China’s packaging industry sees huge potential. New markets like KSA and Israel are also our targeted markets. Sino-shows got visitors from this region every year. We have been seeking cooperation opportunities with these new markets.
Will companies replace full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure?
Reed won’t. A successful exhibition organization cannot do without a professional team. We value our employees. We prefer to save cost by streamlining the work process, improving workflow, and introducing more innovative initiatives. We will try to keep a pleasant working environment as before. The company has initiated a series of caring projects for the employees including home office, psychological consultation, shift duty, as well as strict protection measures and sufficient epidemic protection materials including facial mask, hand sanitizer, forehead thermometer, and so on.
In a post-pandemic world do you believe companies should focus less on roles and more on skills?
Sino-shows has positioned itself to be an international professional trade platform in the packaging and printing industry. We have committed to the development of the industry. We devote ourselves to provide more demonstration opportunities for the exhibitors, efficient solutions for the buyers, accurate matchmaking service as well as industry insights and knowledge.
It’s our responsibility to help the packaging and printing industry recover. That’s what we’ve been doing so far. We are confident that the global pandemic situation will end soon. The 7-IN-1 Sino Mega Show 2021 edition, to be held on July 14-17 in Shanghai, consisting of SinoCorrugated, SinoFoldingCarton, China Packaging Container Expo, SinoFlexpack, SinoPaper, Intralogistics and Process Management Expo (InMAT) and Digital Printing Equipment & Technology Expo, covers the whole packaging industry chain.
The 7-IN-1 Mega show, covering nearly 120,000 sqm, is expected to gather more than 1,300 leading exhibitors in the industry and attract over 80,000 visitors and buyers at home and abroad.