The 2020 Hunan Auto Show, opened in 30 April at the Hunan International Convention and Exhibition Centre, in the city of Changsha in south central China, and will run until 5 May. It is being seen as a first major large-scale exhibition to resume in China and a welcome green shoot for the wider return of tradeshows in the country and internationally.
To qualify to visit the show, attendees had to submit an ID card and undergo a strict health and identity check prior to arriving at the venue.
The organisers made clear they were adhering to the tough requirements of epidemic prevention and control, with all staff, volunteers, car dealer service personnel and visitors undergoing stringent checks.
All participants in the exhibition are obliged to wear a mask throughout and urged to wash hands frequently.
A National Government Affairs Service applet code and WeChat facilitated the registration application process.
The app contained an Epidemic Health Information Code, and, after performing name authentication and making a personal health declaration, visitors had to complete a few more steps on the homepage in order to be accredited with an entry code.
Organisers had asked visitors to apply for the health code in advance so that the final physical checking and security procedures could be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Zheng Jianxin, Deputy Secretary of the Changsha Municipal Party Committee and Acting Mayor, attended the opening of the show and Chinese media have reported the turnover is expected to exceed 4 billion yuan.
Over 100 car brands and 600 vehicles are participating in the exhibition over an area of 60,000sqm.
The Hunan Auto Show is organised by a committee comprising the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China Association of Automobile Engineers, Automobile Dealers Association of All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, Hunan Provincial Department of Commerce, Changsha Municipal People ’s Government; Changsha Municipal Convention and Exhibition Office, and the Changsha Municipal Bureau of Commerce, among others.
One major international organiser in the region, Informa Markets' Executive Vice-President Asia, Michael Duck tells EW: "It's good to see a show opening and that the local authorities are seeming working closely with hygiene workers , social distancing, wide aisles, entrance barriers etc. It's too soon to tell how the show results are until it’s over, however. But, step by step..."
As a low-risk city, Changsha has taken the lead in resuming convention and exhibition activity, and Chinese media analysts are predicting the show will provide a ‘double victory’ for epidemic prevention and control, on the one hand, and economic and social development on the other.
The Chinese authorities seem to be keep publicity to the national media, no doubt anxious for the show to pass off well before taking any bolder steps.
The Hunan Auto Show is one of the city’s top 10 exhibition projects to be held in 2020 and coincides with the May Day holiday. This means the exhibition is a major platform for car sales and should spur a consumption boom. The Changsha government has said it will invest 30m yuan in car loan subsidies, with individuals able to apply for a 1,000 yuan subsidy for car purchase, subject to conditions.
The show also feeds in to the ‘Consumable Spring Season’ in Changsha, a wider campaign to promote commodities and social retail sales.
The Hunan Auto Show is not only a show for auto dealers to launch new products, but also a car festival and nine major awards are up for grabs before the event draws to a close on 5 May.