Shanghai gears up for UFI’s 83rd Global Congress: The Exhibition Industry in Transformation

UFI’s Global Congress, the most international gathering of leaders from the exhibition industry, is set to support and inspire events professionals from more than 40 countries on 9-12 November in Shanghai. CEOs, young leaders, and international experts will show how businesses can thrive in today’s fast-changing exhibition industry environment. Hosted by the Shanghai Convention and Exhibition Industries Association (SCEIA) at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai, the prestigious four-day event is open to UFI members from around the world. “UFI’s annual Congress is always a hugely valuable event for the global exhibition industry as we tackle the issues that will define our industry’s future. But what’s so outstanding this year is that we can expand sessions and networking opportunities”, says UFI President Sergey Alexeev. “Also, as we want to discuss what will change, we will listen to the next generation’s ideas for our industry, as our “Next Generation Leaders” Grantees take to the stage.” Riding the waves of change The Congress, entitled “Ripples – The Exhibition Industry in Transformation”, comes at a time of uncertainty for many people in the exhibition industry, faced with factors such as digitalisation, political insecurity, and shifting global economic power. Keynote speaker Ayesha Khanna, Smart Cities and Education Strategy Expert, and Founder of the Hybrid Reality Institute, will call on delegates to “ride the waves of change”. “Why is the exhibition industry successful?”, she says. “Because it delivers on a promise: the promise of a successful marketplace. Buyers trust us to find the right sellers, sellers trust us to bring in the right buyers.” The five young winners of the 2016 UFI Next Generation Leaders Grant – from Germany, India Iran, Qatar and the US – will also take to the stage. They will “Break the rules”, and share their visions of the future of the exhibition industry. Ever more flexible programme This year’s flexible event format means each delegate can choose to follow either the “Strategy Track”, with expert analysis of digitalisation and visitor expectations, or focus on the “Operations Track”, looking at exhibitor engagement, and questions of health, safety and security. Within the framework of the “Special Interest Group” sessions, Congress delegates can themselves dive deep into topics that drive their business – be it venue development and management, HR, or digital disruption. As an example of these, a top level venue panel, featuring Corrado Peraboni (CEO Fiera Milano), René Kamm (CEO MCH Group), Cliff Wallace (Chairman, New World (Shenyang) Property Development Limited Expo Branch Company) and Deutsche Messe AG’s Andreas Gruchow, will debate Models for large venue management for the future. In parallel, focussing on staff retention, top HR managers like Richard Lowther (Reed Exhibitions), and Joost van de Kamp (Jaarbeurs) will discuss findings and insights from a recent UFI survey on the topic. 2016 also is the year where the big players of our industry are going digital and collaborating with leaders of the digital economy. In Shanghai, the spotlight will be on the most prominent collaboration in our industry: the one between UBM and Alibaba, as Jimé Essink (President CEO, UBM Asia Ltd) will, for the first time, give insights into the collaboration, one year after it was announced. Adding to these sessions, the UFI Congress will welcome back jwc President CEO Jochen Witt for his annual “state of the industry” talk. In 2015, his talk was the highest rated session at the Annual Congress in Milan. Closing two intense days of sessions, Tim Cobbold (CEO, UBM), Michael Kruppe (GM, SNIEC), and Jason Popp (EVP Intl, GES) will discuss how organisers, venues, and service providers find their balance in collaborating while competing against the backdrop of technological and legal changes in our industry. UFI world meetings In addition to the main programme, the Congress will host various UFI meetings. These include the UFI Board of Directors Meeting, the UFI annual General Assembly, the UFI CEO Think Tank, and meetings of UFI Regional Chapters, the UFI Associations’ Committee and the UFI Marketing Committee.
Source: UFI -the Global association of the Exhibition Industry,