Sanjay Surana
Apr 8, 2019

What it's like to work on... MWC Shanghai

Despite comparisons to its Barcelona sister, the mega event holds its own.

What it's like to work on... MWC Shanghai

Shepherding the rapidly transforming mobile tech field is no easy task, and this is where GSMA steps in. A global association that represents the interests of mobile operators, it unites more than 750 operators and over 350 companies in the mobile ecosystem.

Planning ahead

Running from June 26-28, MWC Shanghai showcases the technologies, products, and services fuelling innovation in the mobile domain, and aims to attract more than 60,000 attendees from over 110 countries.

The show provides exhibitors a foothold into China while allowing them to showcase their products and services to the wider Asia-Pacific audience.

“We usually work on a three-year strategic plan with innovation at the heart,” says Sianne Ryder, head of events, Asia, GSMA. “Our yearly plan reflects the latest evolvement of the fast-moving industry, such that we recently renamed Mobile World Congress Shanghai to MWC Shanghai to reflect the event becoming more than mobile.”

This year, MWC Shanghai will focus on “intelligent connectivity”, folding in the concepts of hyper-connectivity provided by 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) along with artificial intelligence and big data. 

Big brother, little sister

Inevitably, MWC Shanghai is compared to its sibling, MWC Barcelona, which takes place each February. The event in Spain is larger (with 107,000 attendees last year) and globally focused, whereas the Shanghai version has a major tilt toward the Asian market. In Barcelona, the conference sessions tend to be shorter, whereas in Shanghai the content is wrapped into summits that can last a full day.

But in many respects, the two shows, which are independent, mirror one another.
Both are carbon neutral — the Shanghai iteration is the largest carbon-neutral exhibition and conference in Asia. In 2018, initiatives such as carpet recycling, waste management and reduced paper consumption resulted in a greenhouse gas equivalent reduction of 97 tonnes of CO2.

Brand management

The show is also a significant stage for brand activations. “A perfect way to rise above the crowd at MWC Shanghai is by winning a GSMA Asia Mobile Award,” says Ryder.

The Startup of the Year honour will boost a company’s image — last year’s winner Elevoc (established in Shenzhen in 2017) has already received investment capital from Xiaomi and Qualcomm Ventures — and give it the opportunity to showcase at the following year’s MWC Barcelona for free.

The Super Hall at the Shanghai event is where the industry’s dominant forces promote their latest offerings, while the GSMA Innovation City allows companies to demonstrate how mobile products and services help improve lives. 


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