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Cloud exhibitions are trending in China amid COVID-19

Updated: Jun 18,2020 10:41 AM    CGTN

Exhibitions and trade fairs are some of the hardest hit industries in 2020. As the global pandemic situation remains complicated, the industry's prospects for the second half of this year and even 2021 remain dismal. Now the ongoing online Canton Fair is showcasing a possible solution: cloud exhibitions.

The Canton Fair, the world's largest trade exhibition, has started completely online this week, the first time in its 63 year history, as both China's exporters and global importers are grappling with travel restrictions in the wake of COVID-19.

Haire, one of China's largest home appliance makers, is fully engaged in this online trade show.

"We have invited over 1,000 business partners to participate in this Canton Fair. In order to communicate with them seamlessly, we organized a 24-hour a day, 10-day livestreaming. All together there'll be 176 livestreams on both our products but also our partners' products," said Zhang Qingfu, vice-president of Haier Overseas Electrical Industry.

Haire is one of 250,000 exhibitors at this 10-day long Canton Fair. Tens of thousands of livestreams are happening around the clock, and 1.8 million products are on display through video conference, 3D demonstration and VR viewing.

Tencent is providing technical support, platform R&D and cloud services for this unprecedented cloud festival, with a team of over 1,000 engineers.

"We provide companies with official website establishment services, business procedure operations, many other functions, and of course web securities. It's a very complex project," said Rata Zeng, vice-president of Tencent Group. She is also leading Tencent's technical team at the Canton Fair.

"But we are able to offer this one-stop service with different groups of engineers responsible for different areas working together," she said.

Globally, 32,000 exhibitions are held each year, featuring 4.5 million exhibiting companies and attracting over 300 million visitors, according to Union of International Fairs. Exhibitors and visitors spend around $137 billion every year on exhibitions. 3.2 million jobs are directly related to exhibitions.

In China, over 6,000 large-scale exhibitions have been canceled in the first half due to the coronavirus epidemic, hurting business revenues worth 350 billion yuan.

In April, China's commerce ministry issued a notice to encourage online exhibitions. The Canton Fair is showcasing a possible solution for the global exhibition industry. Industry players anticipate online exhibitions will be a trend in the future even after the pandemic.

With technologies such as cloud computing, 5G, big data, simultaneous translation and artificial intelligence developing day by day, cloud exhibition is breaking barriers of time, space, and language, improving communication efficiency and reduce costs.

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