Growing Fascination for Expos in the present-day Internet age
The website of the World Expo 2020 scheduled to be held in Dubai for six months on the broad theme of “Connecting minds, creating the future” proudly mentions that it will be the first time the major event will be held in the region defined as Middle East, Africa and South Asia. The sub themes of the Dubai Expo 2020 are opportunity, mobility and sustainability. The concept of World Expo found expression in 1851 at Hyde Park in London which showcased at the global stage, the industrial prowess of Britain. At present the World Expo is based on an international treaty called the BIE. Created by the 1928 Paris Convention, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the Paris-based intergovernmental organization in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos. The BIE governed Expos last more than three weeks and are of non-commercial nature. Today, 4 main types of Expos are organized under its auspices: World Expos, Specialized Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano. India is not a party to this treaty which currently has 170 member states including China, Germany and the USA.
Since 2018, China has been hosting the CIIE also called China International Import Expo with the clear aim of addressing the huge trade imbalances that exist with her trade partners. In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second edition of the CIIE on 5 November 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping recalled the efforts taken by his government to further open up to the world and in particular for greater global integration of Shanghai and its nearby region. However in a critical assessment, a survey released on 4 November 2019 by the Shanghai Chapter of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China revealed that while a good proportion of its members that attended the CIIE in 2018 will be returning this year, there is an expectation that the event must produce more tangible outcomes.
In the area of industrial technology, the Hannover Messe occupies the pole position. It is acknowledged as a trend barometer and innovations driver for a globally and digitally integrated industrial sector. The 2020 fair will for the first time feature a dedicated speaking platform for providers of logistics services, in particular the use of artificial intelligence. The other major element will be data security.In recent years defense expos have acquired much importance. UK’s Defense& Security Equipment International (DSEI) connects governments, national armed forces, industry thought leaders and the global defense& security supply chain. DSEI 2021 will have five key domain-focused Zones: Aerospace, Land, Naval, Security & Joint, all showcasing the latest equipment and systems. Sea-Air-Space – USAs largest maritime expo – will, in April next year, bring the U.S. defense industry and key military decision-makers together for high quality interactions. The biennial IMDEX Asia is Asia Pacific’s premier international maritime defense show and the next one will be held in Changi in Singapore in May 2021. The 11th biennial edition of DefExpo India- 2020 is scheduled to be held for the first time in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow with the main theme of ‘India: The Emerging Defense Manufacturing Hub’ and focus on ‘Digital Transformation of Defense’.
Very few people would miss the opportunity to go to these Expos and trade fairs. Their relevance for enterprises has been demonstrated through increasing participation with each passing year. For instance, earlier this year Huawei used the platform of the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona to push hard for its narrative on 5G. Closer home in India media reports carried a quote of an unnamed top official from the Department of Telecom to the effect that Huawei’s participation in the October 2019 Indian Mobile Congress is not an indication of Government of India’s consent to the company’s 5G trials or deployments. Governments at multiple levels-national, provincial and even cities have become enthusiastic participants in these fairs and expos. Similarly international institutions have become a staple presence at these events and speak clearly to the transnational resonance of these gatherings. Especially in the context of smart cities and industry 4.0 these types of engagements are future oriented and hence a pertinent enabler for the next stage of globalization.