CFSE partners with Tencent as China Fisheries expo goes ahead despite COVID
This year’s China Fisheries and Seafood Expo will use a specially-built digital platform built by Tencent to allow interaction between buyers and vendors even without a physical presence.
Attendance at the event, taking place in Qingdao, China, from 27 to 29 October, is expected to be down 20 percent compared to the 2019 show in terms of booths, co-organizer Peter Redmayne told SeafoodSource.
“China, which has very few COVID cases, is aggressively fighting any outbreaks. As a result, there are still strict restrictions on people traveling to China, which will limit overseas participation this year,” he told SeafoodSource.
Overseas participation will largely be limited to international companies with personnel in China, according to Redmayne, the president of the Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based Seafare Group. Historically, about 70 percent of CFSE exhibitors are Chinese companies, Redmayne said, but the expo also has an international component to it, even this year, with pavilions set to be installed by the China offices of trade promotion bodies like the Norwegian Seafood Export Council.
Booths will be able to use a platform designed by Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent to allow seafood firms around the world to join by video link to show their wares and chat with Chinese buyers and sellers.
“We partnered with Tencent and they developed a digital platform,” Redmayne said. “It’s very sophisticated and took a hell of a lot of work. The challenge will be to get people to use all of its many features.”
Tencent, whose assets include the microblogging and payments platform WeChat, is keen to expand its services into global trade fairs, according to Redmayne, who said he expects the platform will be used again in 2022.
Despite ongoing tensions between Beijing and Washington, this year’s show is for the first time endorsed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Support from the U.S. government for the expo has “never been better,” Redmayne said.
Despite the current COVID-related logistical problems slowing the export of seafood into China, many in the seafood industry are still optimistic about China’s long-term potential, Redmayne said.
“China remains a growing and attractive market for the global seafood industry, he said.
Photo courtesy of China Fisheries and Seafood Expo