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Events — 17 Aug 2020

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  • ChinaJoy 2020 – First Step Back to Normal

ChinaJoy 2020 – First Step Back to Normal

ChinaJoy is the largest gaming and digital entertainment exhibition held in Asia. This year, the conference was the first live event our team in China attended since the start of the global pandemic.

The 18th ChinaJoy was held from July 31 to August 3, 2020, at Shanghai New International Expo Center. We asked our China Country Manager, Mikhail Preobrazhenskiy, to share his impressions and observations about ChinaJoy 2020.

– First of all, congratulations on attending the first live event since the beginning of the global pandemic! Please tell us how the organization was different this time compared to last year? What were your impressions?

Mikhail Preobrazhenskiy China Country Manager

– The conference was different a lot. I should start by saying that this year only one conference hall from the usual four devoted to the industry was filled. Last year we noticed fewer companies attended the conference, but this year the number of attendees dropped dramatically. Very few to zero foreign attendees as the Chinese government closed its borders.

It is still hot as hell in Shanghai at this time of the year, and it was pretty hard for people to line up for the health screening in masks. However, it was much easier to catch a cab or get into the  subway afterwards, in the previous years people had to arrange the transportation in advance or struggle in the queue for hours.

– Who attended ChinaJoy this year?

– As expected, most attendees are the local companies or those who have local teams. Foreign giants like Facebook, Google or Snap who usually attend with giant booths weren’t there this time. Many local giants we are used to seeing at CJ didn’t show up either. Moreover, local ad networks like Mobvista didn’t have a booth. I see a few reasons for that. The first one, which looks obvious but might not be that common for the chinese companies, is the care about the employees. Although Shanghai is virus-free, a mass event like this one with attendees from all over China is a huge risk. The second one is the most practical, companies were not sure there would be a conference till the very last moment. With almost no time for preparation, most of them decided not to buy a booth but to assign a couple of employees to walk it through. And the final reason is travel restrictions. It’s banned for foreigners, but even within China, it is still not so easy to travel, so Shanghai and the neighboring provinces were the lucky ones to attend it with almost no struggle.

– What topics were the most popular and interesting at the conference?

– The topics didn’t change much except for everybody talking about the post-COVID trends, and this one is huge for the gaming industry. Although there were some people without masks, what was different and a little bit uncomfortable is that people had to have meetings with their masks on and keep the distance. It is pretty hard to have a face to face communication when you don’t see the face. Many were very concerned if not afraid to talk to strangers. This differs a lot from any conference before the pandemic where everybody is smiling and welcoming you to a booth for a chat.

Video report from ChinaJoy 2020 by Affise

– Is the season of live events open? When do you think everything will return to normal?

– In terms of live events, things are definitely slowly getting back to normal in China. But no one can be sure when it will get to the way it was back in 2019. Most likely we won’t get there in the near future, although with the proper measures like we now see within China and the vaccine believed to arrive in a few months, hopefully, we can get to the normal in 2021. However, masks, temperature screenings, shields and distancing should stay much longer.

– What’s next for your team in China?

– The market is slowly recovering and we see a direct impact on our activities. With that market slump, we are looking for a huge bounce beyond the normal just like this year can be described. We keep an eye on the changes in the events’ schedule and adjust our calendar accordingly.

As for me, I will be a speaker at the GMIC online event on September 24-25. I am going to talk about how the technologies saved digital marketing from bankruptcy during COVID-19 and even empowered it to grow. Tune in!

In conclusion, Affise hopes that the current global situation and transport connections will return to normal as soon as possible and allow more live events to take place. See you then!

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