SHANGHAI – Trade relations between the United States and China could be better, but the exhibition industries on both sides of the Pacific developed closer ties with the opening of a permanent International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) office in Shanghai.
China this fall granted IAEE official standing as a non-governmental organization following a two-year application process. As its first official act, IAEE opened office space in a modern Shanghai tower that will serve as headquarters for the association’s world-renowned Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) program and other professional-education offerings for China’s trade show industry.
“The IAEE China office is a natural evolution in our development of a worldwide presence across the industry,” said IAEE President and CEO David DuBois. “China already has the greatest number of CEMs in the world, and we have been successfully working with Chinese industry organizations and higher-learning institutions for some time now to enhance the overall industry in this region.”
China’s trade show industry has surged in recent years as multiple major international organizers have flocked to the area to take advantage of a fleet of modern convention centers coupled with an increasingly sophisticated roster of local partner companies and industry associations. The CEM program has been extremely popular with Chinese companies as a way of adopting best practices and otherwise being on the same page as their Western partners.
IAEE recently partnered with Beijing Union University to bring its Workforce Ready Program to 32 tourism-management students. “We are committed to preparing graduates for successful entry into the field on a global scale, and this curriculum is an example of how we are able to achieve this goal,” said IAEE Executive Vice President Cathy Breden, who is also IAEE’s official point person in China.
Breden told Trade Show Executive that IAEE China won’t engage in any “lobbying” of Chinese officials on issues affecting the exhibitions industry, which is prohibited by law. “Our focus is strictly on education and servicing the more than 1,000 CEMs in China,” she said.
The new IAEE office is in the Mirae Asset Tower on Lujiazui Ring Road in Shanghai’s busy Pudong District. It will be managed by the U.S.-based association-management firm Kellen Management, which has a branch office in Beijing and provides various services to international associations that have activities in China. “Kellen China is managed by Steven Basart, and we work with him and his staff on our activities in China,” Breden said. “The Senior Project Manager at Kellen will travel to Shanghai when necessary.”
Breden will provide further details about IAEE’s new office and new status as an NGO in China on Dec. 3 at the Asia Forum session at Expo! Expo!, IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.