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April, 2025
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Lessons Learned from 2020: Be Flexible, Embrace Innovation and Always Put Your Customers First

January 15,2021

GPMA editor team

Global Packaging Media Alliance (GPMA) speaks to Alex Wang, Assistant Vice President at Reed Exhibitions Greater China, about Reed’s strategies coping against the COVID-19 in 2020 and the plans for 2021 

  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business?

RE: COVID-19 has been a global challenge. Due to the pandemic, our overseas visitors and buyers cannot attend our onsite show, therefore we had to propose alternative channels for them to involve in our shows as we have been an international trade platform. We have been aiming to providing best services to our visitors and exhibitors.


  • What were the key learning from this pandemic?

RE: We need to be FLEXIBLE, which means face challenges with confidence, embrace transformation and invoke innovation. We have to put visitors and exhibitors’ benefits on top priority. To minimize the influence of the pandemic to our physical shows, in 2020 we initiated series E-programs to set up an omini-channel platform that make our exhibitors, visitors and buyers meet face-to-face still possible during the difficult time. We made a decision shortly after the breakout of the COVID-19 that we needed to resort to E-channels and create more options for our visitors and exhibitors. We launched two pilot programs to see the feasibility- “Reed Packaging Business School”, a Packaging Seminar Platform initiated in early March and Online Matchmaking Program in the mid May. Positive feedback received from the successful completion of 37 seminars and 130 sessions of matchmaking made us believe that the Virtual Show is a must-to-go this year. We proposed 5 programs during, i.e, Themed Guided Tour, Guided Tour Specialist Service, Online Matchmaking, Live Seminar and Exhibitor Interview, which provided multiple opportunities for visitors and buyers to connect with onsite exhibitors in different time zones and in diversified forms.


·         Did you come across new and innovative opportunities for diversification and monetization?

RE: Yes, for sure. As mentioned above, we has taken steps to explore the potential of online initiatives, and combined it with the physical show. Last Friday on Jan. 8 we successfully concluded the two virtual shows in corrugated and folding carton industry, which gathered over 100 suppliers represented by BHS, ETERNA, DING LONG, CENTURY, WONDER, FULI, GUANGYA and XCS MACHINERY, to live stream their real factory and running machines. The live shows racked up 47,960 views.

·         Tell us about ways through which businesses can reshape or hit the restart button?

RE: The packaging and printing industries do hit by the COVID-19 downturn. Currently, situation in China has been under control. The government has introduced multiple policies to boost the economy recovery, in terms of packaging and printing industries, there have been subsidies for packaging and printing machinery, and smart manufacturing project as well as low interest loan. We are also confident that global economy will back on its track soon. In this circumstance, an industry event gathering industry practitioners to restart the business and rebuild confidence. 7-IN-1 Sino Mega Show, consisting of SinoCorrugated, SinoFoldingCarton, China Pakcgaing Container Expo, SinoFlexPack, SinoPaper, Intralogistics, Process Management Expo, Digital Priting Equipment and Technology Expo, covering the whole packaging industry chain is an leading international trade platform and has been committed to the industry development.


  • What sort of dialogues have you had with your employees, partners, clients about the way forward?

RE: Reed has initiated caring plans and taken safety protection measures promptly after the breakout of the virus to ensure employees’ mental and physical health. We has also stayed in communication with our partners to know about the global market trends and real demands raised by the clients. It is acknowledged by our exhibitors that it is rather important to improve company’s image and win the trust from customers at the time than focusing on short-term interest. There are also new business opportunities raising from the growth of express and medical packaging. It is a cost-effective investment to participate an influential trade show.

We received feedback from the visitors and buyers that currently the top priorities should be increasing income and reducing expenditure as well as downsizing for efficiency. Automation and intelligent manufacturing are the inevitable trends. It is the right time to visit a trade platform like Sino Shows where they can connect with suitable suppliers of automated machinery by one step ahead, and enjoy favorable price at the special time.

To meet the needs of the market, exhibitors and visitors, that’s why we have come a long way here. As a platform that has been committed to be an industry promoter and contributor, we regard it’s our duty to help each other to bridge over the difficulties.


  • Are there any new markets that have opened up with opportunities during the pandemic period?

RE: Yes, I believe so. During the pandemic period, convenience food, catering & take-out and the big health industry in China have seen fast growing.

According to the statistics, convenience food consumption had grown 1.5 times during January to May. Specially, consumption exploded in February and grew 21.3 times due to the outbreak of covid-19 and home office policy, and then gradually slowed down after March. Catering & take-out industry transactions reached RMB 291.25 billion and is expected to rise 18.8% at RMB 346 billion in 2020. BYHEALTH, leader in the big health industry had reached RMB 5.033 billion revenue in the first three quarters of 2020, rising 14.88% year-on-year. Correspondingly, packaging demand in these sectors has seen rapid growth. Meanwhile the new markets posed strict requirement for packaging, such as increasing product seeking for contactless, food-grade and more sustainable package. This is a challenge but also an opportunity for the packaging industry. 


  • What sort of growth has the packaging industry seen, considering the growth of online deliveries and the e-commerce market over the past couple of months?

RE: Packaging industry has suffered from the pandemic downturn. However, some sectors especially e-commerce packaging have grown against the trend. Social distancing and quarantine policies initiated to control the spread of COVID-19 have prompted e-commerce. According to the statistics, e-commerce consumption skyrocketed during the pandemic and is seeing explosive growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, especially will be driven by the annual e-commerce festival- “Double 11 Shopping Carnival”. According to China Post Bureau, China’s express delivery business rose 27.9% year-on-year. We can see e-commerce packaging demand has seen rapid growth correspondingly.  


  • What is the scenario of the packaging and printing sector in the region? Have you seen any major diversification in other areas by major players in the industry?

RE: The printing and packaging sector in China has realized the inevitable trend of smart factory and intelligent manufacturing. It is accelerating the transformation speed towards automation under the circumstance. It is also required by the needs of downsizing for higher efficiency.


  • Tell us about how your products and solutions can help your customers diversify into new areas for business continuity?

RE: Our Sino Mega Show, covering the whole packaging industry chain, is dedicated to establishing a global professional trade platform where buyers and suppliers meet and find potential partners. We have been committed to the set-up of an ecological industry chain and to providing more value-added services to the visitors and exhibitors by bringing synergistic effects into full play. During the special situation, we still tried our best to meet the demands from the visitors and exhibitors. We had received a great deal of purchase demand from overseas buyers in spite of they may not attend our physical show 2020 edition. We decided to set up a multiple-channel trade platform. We took advantage of our global call centers in Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines to collect purchase demands from buyers and arrange online meetings with matched suppliers. Other programs including Online Guided Tours, Guided Specialist Service, Live Seminar and Exhibitor Interview provided a brand new show experience to both the visitors and exhibitors. We managed to provide an innovate but efficient visitor service and create more opportunities for the exhibitors to meet with overseas buyers. 6-IN-1 Sino Mega Show 2020 successfully wrapped on July 24th.


  • Do you believe the regional market still has potential and opportunities? With new markets opening up like KSA and Israel, do you believe there are more opportunities popping up?

RE: Absolutely. China's printing and packaging capacity has now surpassed Japan's, second only to the United States. However, the per capita packaging consumption is quite low. In addition, driven by the strong domestic consumption market and supported by government encourage policies and recovered situation. China’s packaging industry sees huge potential. .

New markets like KAS and Israel are also our targeted markets. Sino-shows got visitors from this region every year. We have been seeking cooperation opportunities with these new markets.


  • What’s the plan for 2021?

RE: 2021 is a critical year for us. The year 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of SinoCorrugated. And We’ll have a new launch- Digital Printing Equipment and Technology Expo (DPrint), which further completes the Sino show portfolio.

Sino show 2021 edition, to be held on July 14 in Shanghai, is going to be a hybrid show which leverages both in-person and virtual at the same time. The physical show, covering nearly 120,000sqm, is expected to gather more than 1,300 leading exhibitors in the industry to present the innovative technologies and latest market trends. In addition, a new online platform and diversified digital projects will be also initiated to showcase the industry dynamics. Save your date for 7-IN-1 Sino Hybrid Mega Show. Stay tuned and be prepared to be surprised!