Shenzhen, China — The U.S. venue management company SMG cracked the huge Chinese market in a big way this Summer when it landed the contract to run the massive exhibition center currently under construction in Shenzhen.
SMG was named the management firm for the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center (Shenzhen World) in June, marking SMG’s first foothold in a country with a wealth of new and often very large convention centers.
“While we have entertained many inquiries from China in recent years, we were waiting for the right project and partner and believe we have found both in Shenzhen,” CEO Wes Westley said. “This agreement will propel our international growth strategy.”
SMG, which manages more than 230 venues in the U.S. and Europe, was brought into the Asian mainland by a Chinese joint venture that is developing a major multi-use district to be anchored by Shenzhen World. Construction of the $4.6 billion project began last year with Phase I slated for completion in early 2019.
And Shenzhen World will prove to be quite an anchor. The huge downtown center will include around 400,000 square meters (4.3 million square feet) of exhibit space and 45,000 sm (500,000 sf) of flexible meeting space. By comparison, Chicago’s McCormick Place, the largest convention center in the U.S., provides 2.6 million sf of prime exhibit space and 600,000 sf of meeting space, according to the Trade Show Executive World’s Top Convention Centers rankings.
The Chinese market is currently led by the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC), which opened in 2001, with 200,000 sm (2,152,782 sf) of prime space. The current Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center totals 105,000 sm (1,130,211 sf) of prime space. And the venerable Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre includes 66,000 sm (710,418 sf) of prime space.
A similar joint management regime is already in place at SNIEC, where the Shanghai Lujiazui Exhibition Development Co. Ltd. teamed up with the German Exposition Corporation International GmbH, a partnership that includes three of Germany’s leading exhibition companies: Messe Munchen, Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, and Deutsche Messe AG, Hannover.
Shenzhen is already a fertile trade show market due to its thriving technology industry and proximity to Hong Kong and Macao. The Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center hosts a full calendar of major exhibitions, such as the China Electronics Fair, China Watch & Clock Fair, and the Shenzhen International Industrial Automation & Robot Exhibition.