Japan and South Korea use business events to mend strained China ties

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Refusing to be defined by political tensions, corporate travel companies and event organisers in Japan and South Korea are actively reaching out to Chinese MICE suppliers to build stronger relationships and encourage more business travel.

Public concern about the political climate in North Asia has led to misconceptions that Japanese travel companies do not organise events in China.

MICE can help to mend or even build stronger business ties between countries

Calvin Tan, JTB’s manager, MICE department, Singapore outbound office, shared: “This year, I’m targeting to meet more Chinese suppliers, because a lot of people still have the perception that JTB is a Japanese company and we don’t do business in China. We want to break away from that. It’s very untrue because there are actually a lot of Japanese companies in China.”

South Korea-based MICE management and event promotion company Premium Pass International is also using IT&CM China as a platform to meet more Chinese venue and convention suppliers.

“The relationship between China and Korea is not good now, so we would like to do something to develop ties between the two countries. Doing this through conventions and meetings can help,” shared Feng Li, assistant manager, strategic planning department, Premium Pass International.

Jesmond Lam, event planner with Japan-based Event Services, remarked that young Japanese corporates are starting to be interested in Chinese culture and are picking up Mandarin.

Lam explained: “The Japanese tend to be traditional. My clients have always preferred incentive destinations like Singapore, Hawaii and Guam. But now, they are opening up to visit China.

“We want to grow Japan’s outbound numbers next and hope to establish an outbound MICE team in the next three to four years,” he added.

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