In Conversation With Michael Kruppe General Manager SNIEC–Shanghai China

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SNIEC just celebrated its 20 years anniversary. Almost from the very beginning our focus was on top service rather then just providing only space. Over the years we finetuned and excelled our services which attracted all of the top global and local show organizers. Besides we added over time restaurants and infrastructure plus in the last 5 years we also invested in safety and security which especially during Corona times is the key to build the trust for the visitors and exhibitors.

ES. As the first exhibition center of a Sino-foreign joint venture, Shanghai New International Expo Center has been built into one of the most successful exhibition centers in China. Please tell us other features that sets SNIEC apart from other venues.

Michael Kruppe. This year actually SNIEC celebrated its 20 years anniversary. Almost from the very beginning our focus was on top service rather then just providing only space. Over the years we finetuned and excelled our services which attracted all of the top global and local show organizers. Besides we added over time restaurants and infrastructure plus in the last 5 years we also invested in safety and security which especially during Corona times is the key to build the trust for the visitors and exhibitors.

ES. Could you provide the readers about your early life and career?

Michael Kruppe. I am quite a late comer only joining the industry in 2013. I wish I had known 30 years before already that exhibition industry is such fun; though challenging at any time. On the other hand probably 30 years ago, when I came to China, the industry was not that developed. So maybe the time of me joining in was just perfect.

ES. How many regional, national and international conventions, meetings and trade shows, are hosted by the SNIEC?

Michael Kruppe. In “normal’ years we host between 120-150 expos and events. At peak times we run 6 shows at the same time. This is really a challenge, as we only have 3 major entry halls. So when this happens our customers literally fighting for any sqm of registration space they can get in the entry halls. Over the years we became more experienced how to run situations like this and nowadays it is not a big problem anymore as we are allocating registration space based on the total ratio of sqm booked for the show. This is fair and transparent.

ES. How does SNIEC make important contributions to the exhibition economy in China and Asia with its advanced professional capabilities?

Michael Kruppe. We are the No. 1 not only in China but actually globally in terms of occupancy rate, which set a record in 2019 at 74pct. Certainly many new but also old venue mgmt. people come to visit us and we are happy to share our experience of how to operate under pressure. But I also tell everyone that SNIEC model can not be simply copied. Every city, every government , every show , etc is different, so it takes many years of experience and high level of flexibility tu run a venue like SNIEC successfully.

ES. Technological change is creating historic shifts in industry footprints. Do you think, this process will accelerate? How would this technology take shape at your organisation?

Michael Kruppe. Absolutely. We already started back in 2017 to use the well known wechat as a digital tool to run part of our operations. Later we also upgrade our whole venue with 5g. SO we are ready and set to support and digital and high-tech demand from the industry. I am however not too convinced about the so called digital expo. I believe this is a temporary phenomen and will not further grow once corona is contained.

ES. How have things changed within the industry during your career?

Michael Kruppe. Even my expo career only spans about 8 years now I have seen many changes. i.e more B2B shows add consumer and mice and entertainment elements into their shows. Due to that also the amount of services required to support such trend are increasing. Also the need for more safety and security, partly triggered by corona, must be in the focus.

ES. How has SNIEC been instrumental in the promotion of domestic and international economic exchanges by virtue of its unique location advantages, and an ideal venue for holding various social and corporate events?

Michael Kruppe. Our location paired with our top service and strong focus on safety and convenience is surely our ace card to play. As we were already well established on b2b I set new goals back in 2015 to reach out for corporate and events and festivals. In the beginning it was not easy as most companies were used to hotels or concert halls. However, we proved that we could turn a “boring” expo hall into a fantastic location also for weddings, product launches, concerts, TV -life shows, Tennis tournaments and other kind of festivals. We just finished our new airport style VIP lounge which will create even more opportunities for meetings or smaller events up to 500 people. In terms of events I would say the sky is literally the limit as probably the only kind of show we can not do is an Airshow like they have in Paris or Dubai.

ES. China has been the first country to face the impact of Covid-19? How has the virus outbreak affected SNIEC, and how have you dealt with the situation and gears up for resurgence?

Michael Kruppe. Basically from day one when corona occurred we assembled all stakeholders and agreed to work on a safety protocol which would enable us to hopefully sooner then later restart the business. In 2020 it took us about 4 months until June 2020. Then we were allowed and able to restart expos. Even 2020 vs our record year 2019 was of course much worse, we still managed to recover ard. 45pct of our revenues.

ES. With the objective of providing major impetus to safety, how have you equipped to ensure safe and secure events? Please name some major events hosted recently by SNIEC?

Michael Kruppe. As mentioned before our safety protocols were carefully developed and proved over time to work out. Zero cases of corona happened in SNIEC. Recent large events like CBE(China beauty) , KBC (kitchen and Bath) or Chinajoy and Daily Articles attracted 40-50,000 people/day.

ES. What according to you will be the role of venues and the preparations they will need to thrive in the new normal?

Michael Kruppe. As said before the venue and the show must be a place where people trust it is safe. If that is guarantued by the venue then things will turn back to normal sooner or later.

ES. What are your upcoming plans?

Michael Kruppe. Our plan is to stay top of the industry and to do that we must prove everyday that we will deliver best service, convenience and safety. This is a tough job bur our teams are well prepared.

ES. What would be your message to the industry?

Michael Kruppe. Keep the faith and keep improving. Then we all can return to whats our main target: FACE TO FACE.

ES. What does your typical workday look like?

Michael Kruppe. Starting with a coffee of course and then basically walk the expo floor. Its either show time or construction/dismantling time. So I always have some visual inspection and then discuss with my teams in case some things went wrong and analyse how to improve. As (in normal year) we always have something going on in SNIEC so its is quite rewarding to see the venue is so busy.

ES. Please tell us about your hobbies and other activities that you would love to do at home.

Michael Kruppe. I am actually the founder of a rockband called SHANGHIGH VOLTAGE and we wrote a song for our industry called FACE TO FACE. The meaning of this song is to give strength to all of us that one day we can come back to the expo floor what is our human nature, to interact with other people FACE TO FACE.