China has been successful in its zero-contamination strategy against Covid-19 domestically but will have to keep its borders closed as long as the virus is raving around in the rest of the world. Leading virus expert Zhong Nanshan suggested this weekend in state-media border control might relax when 80 to 85 percent of the 1.4 billion Chinese citizens are vaccinated, expected at the end of this year and diverts from the current zero-transmission policy.
Journalist Ian Johnson will become a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) from July 1, 2021, the council announced. At the China Speakers Bureau, we are happy to see Ian in such a prestigious position after what has been a turbulent year, both personally as professionally.
China might be ready to open its borders again partially in the second half of 2022, says leading virus expert Zhang Wenhong on a health forum in Qingdao in June, according to the South China Morning Post. That partial opening will depend on the speed of China’s vaccination program, he added.
In a remarkable candid comment, director Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, admitted on Saturday the fairly low efficiency of one of the larger Chinese vaccines Sinovac Biotech, even lower than 50%, according to Reuters. Even before that, leading expert Zhang Wenhong estimated China could only open up to international travel by the Spring of 2022.
When US President Donald Trump lost last year the presidential elections from his contestant Joe Biden, some people expected the trade war between China and the US would end. At the China Speakers Bureau, we had set up a category of expert speakers on the trade war. For a short moment, we contemplated retiring that section but decided to wait and see how Joe Biden would behave.
For the international speakers’ business, international travel is key. And while some countries are at last moving forward in their vaccine programs, China expects to have covered a substantial part of its population only in the Spring of 2022, says Zhang Wenhong, one of the country’s leading experts. Resuming international travel could only restart after that, writes the Business Travel this week.
Farmaceutical firms Moderna and Pfizer have applied in December 2020 for permission from the medical authorities to distribute their corona vaccines in both Europe and the US, and the UK has already moved for first distribution in December. That is the first real good news since the world – and our industry – came to a standstill in early 2020. The pain is not yet over, but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel.
What is happening to the trade shows? The bigger events are not yet sure about their future. While even some of the most established trade show organizers start to file for bankruptcy, some see a future ahead in fully or partly virtual events, reports the Global Trade Magazine. For smaller events recovery might a slightly easier, the massive gatherings might have a hard time to recover any time soon from the coronavirus crisis, says the magazine.
The Planner Confidence Index has been surveying event organizers since March to measure the impact of the corona crisis on the industry. Key finding: confidence in a fast resumption of face to face (F2F) events has dropped dramatically. In March 8 percent of the participants in the survey expected meetings would only be possible in 2021, in June the percentage has risen to 50%.
Two months ago we still hoped the event industry would recover from the Covid-19 crisis in a similar way as SARS in 2002/3. But history seldom repeats itself and also in this case it looks we have been too optimistic. While much of Europe is slowly opening up, and other parts of the world remain in crisis mode, the traditional events as we knew them might not return any time soon. Whether we will go through a second wave of the corona crisis is still an open question: major disruption is here to stay.
That is bad news for those event companies who relied on physical conferences including massive flights, hotel bookings, and entertainment for their business model. Much of our business disappeared initially, leaving our speakers often empty-handed. Now a miraculous revival of the event industry might not come fast, at the CSB we can focus on our core business: connecting established China experts to companies and organizations eager to pick their brains, now in online seminars.