New innovations have made Singapore an attractive destination for Chinese businesses. Source: Shutterstock

New innovations have made Singapore an attractive destination for Chinese businesses. Source: Shutterstock

Business events in Singapore use WeChat to attract Chinese delegates

SINGAPORE is an exciting destination for organizers in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) industry.

Over the past decade, the country’s stable economic and political climate has helped business events hosted in Singapore to attract delegates from all over the world, including the US and the EU — but organizers feel there’s room for improvement when it comes to winning over Chinese delegates.

As a result, the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS), Singapore Tourism Board (STB), and WeChat launched a new mini-program on the popular Chinese messaging platform.

Dubbed MeetSG, the mini-program is a library of information about Singapore as a MICE destination, business events, and meetings. This will be made available to more than one billion monthly active users on WeChat, in their native language.

“China is an important visitor market. STB is always looking for innovative and impactful ways to improve the visitor experience for Chinese MICE visitors, and make their journey in Singapore seamless and memorable,” said STB Deputy Chief Executive Melissa Ow.

“We believe this initiative will also give us invaluable insights into the Chinese MICE visitors, which will, in turn, enable us to continually engage with them and enrich their consumer experience.”

To better understand the program, Tech Wire Asia caught up with SACEOS President Aloysius Arlando — who sees the initiative as part of a broader industry transformation plan.

“Launching MeetSG will help Chinese visitors unlock everything our local SG MICE ecosystem has to offer and aids to organically support our tourism in a sustainable way. This will also play a role in ensuring Singapore’s competitiveness by using technology adoption for better industry experiences.”

Arlando, who has been a leader and prominent voice in the MICE industry for more than two decades now, believes that Singapore has a lot to offer to event organizers and delegates.

“Spearheaded by industry collaboration and as a leading technology hub, Singapore is able to build a reputable pipeline of events and attract a growing number of a business ecosystem, premium event spaces, and diverse leisure activities anchored by professional MICE industry players.”

Singapore’s strategic location, of course, provides the perfect platform to access thought-leadership events such as SFF X SWITCH, Singapore Airshow, Asia Pacific Maritime, and more.

“Regionally, we are observing an interest in trade conferences that inspire change and promote exploration & risk-taking in entrepreneurship.”

While Arlando is proud of the WeChat mini-program that SACEOS and STB have launched, he sees more innovation in the MICE industry in 2020.

“MICE e-commerce will continue to change the game change in a global and borderless business world. The newly launched MeetSG app is just the tip of the iceberg in finding new ways of reaching, connecting and engaging with potential new customers.

Mobile devices with continue to add new functionalities with apps that go beyond setting travel itineraries to allow organizers to create a greater degree of personalization for attendees.”

In line with Singapore’s national agenda to pioneer innovations in public and private deployments of 5G, Arlando feels that next-generation 5G will have a huge impact on the MICE industry as well.

“5G can provide faster data speeds and has the ability to carry huge amounts of data for simultaneous users. For MICE events, 5G will provide increased audience engagement by enhancing presentations using holograms, real-time analytics, and high-definition streaming. It will also help create augmented and virtual reality experiences.”

While the SACEOS President doesn’t draw the connection with China directly, the reality is that all of the innovations that Arlando expects to see in Singapore are going to help organizers in the country meet expectations of delegates who come from China — given the latter’s pronounced efforts to implement 5G across industries and deliver more seamless mobile and digital experiences.

In 2020, Singapore’s efforts with WeChat and other technologies are bound to pay off, helping bring more Chinese delegates to events, along with delegates from other countries — all of whom will find Singapore to be an excellent host in every way.