It has been more than a decade since the government of Hangzhou set the goal of turning the Zhejiang Province capital into an international meetings hub. With the news of G20 combined with the announcement that Hangzhou will host the 2022 Asian Games, the city is poised to take its place on the world stage.Hangzhou, a centuries-old city with a population of nearly 8.9 million, is the first China city to host the G20 Summit, which is slated to take place on September 4 and 5.
The G20 is the main forum for global economic and financial cooperation that brings together the world’s most advanced and emerging economies, representing around 85 percent of global GDP, 80 percent of world trade, and two-thirds of the world population. Started in 1999, G20 was a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. The members included 19 individual countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain, the United States, along with the European Union.
“This is brilliant news for Hangzhou,” says Mr. Li Hong, Director-General, Hangzhou Tourism Commission (HTC). “It is an empirical reflection of growing confidence in Hangzhou and a confident indication that we may expect our share of the global market to grow. The hosting of the G20 Leaders Summit would place Hangzhou at the centre of world events. The economic benefits of hosting the Summit cannot be underestimated. Beyond the immediate need for construction jobs, an increase in awareness of the destination will attract business from all over the world.”
The 11th G20 summit in 2016 is just one of the big events in the city. A series of prestigious meetings will be held in Hangzhou this year, for example, the 9th International Youth Nuclear Congress in July, the 8th World Congress of Herpetology in August and the 1st Internet Public Charity Convention in October where United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and former United States President Bill Clinton will be among the participants, joining the queue also includes the upcoming 50th AIPPI World Intellectual Property Congress in 2020 with an estimated attendance of 3,000 participants.
The local government is determined to leverage on the G20 Summit and named 2015 as the “international convention year” for Hangzhou, by strengthening the connection between the city and international agencies to bring in more high-end international conventions before and after the Summit, aligned with the city’s goal to establish itself as an international conference destination.
Hangzhou boasts more than 250 star hotels, including 23 five-star properties, listing No. 3 in China, behind Beijing and Shanghai. Many new hotels are set to open in Hangzhou within the next few years as the city attracts significant attention from international hotel flags such as Shangri-La, Conrad, Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt, who are expanding their footprints in the city in tandem with the G20 buzz.
Moreover, the Hangzhou International Expo Center in Binjiang District is about to open in this October, which will be the largest MICE venue with 61 conference rooms and the city’s largest conference hall which spans 10,000 sqm.
The city has recently gained acclaim as an important technology center with a number of entrepreneurs, including Jack Ma of Alibaba, located there as well as the West Lake Apple Store, arguably the largest Apple store in Asia, which opened in January 2015. The city is now known as the “Silicon Valley of China”, and is all set to welcome the world with “a unique style, a combination of history and modernity”, in China’s President Xi Jinping’s words.
Mr. Roger Shu, MICE Manager, Business Events Hangzhou, China, echoes the sentiment and says. “In 2014, Hangzhou was the 3rd Convention City for the 4th consecutive year in ICCA rankings among all mainland cities, just behind Beijing and Shanghai.” He continued, “Hangzhou has been regarded throughout China as a national cultural and leisure capital, but the G20 Summit is set to be a big leap forward for the city’s meetings industry. I have no doubt this is a unique opportunity to showcase Hangzhou’s credentials as an international business destination as well as the world class facilities of the Convention Centre and the city’s infrastructure. Therefore, Hangzhou will launch a global marketing operation through which hot topics of the specific fields are brought in, so as a more prominent image of the World MICE destination inspected by global professionals. Hangzhou is right on track for more global conferences and incentive activities, earning itself business reputation renowned worldwide.”
The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranking is based on the number of rotating international association conventions held in worldwide cities. The ICCA rankings are the yardstick by which international associations and corporates measure a destination’s business event hosting capability in the global meetings industry, which serves as a powerful endorsement of professionalism and excellent infrastructure.