Corporate travel and exhibition industry in China - Statistics & Facts

As the economic ties between countries are strengthening, work travel is on the rise. In 2017, global business travel spending amounted to approximately 1.33 trillion U.S. dollars. In fact, China overtook the United States as the top business travel market that year, contributing some 347 billion U.S. dollars of corporate travel spending, which was a quarter of the global sum. Part of the growth has been driven by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a long-term economic project linking China with over 100 countries through trading and investment on infrastructure, transportation, and energy. Clearly, China is expanding its footprint in the global business arena, international business travel management companies (TMC) are eager to grab a slice of this lucrative market.

Managed business travel in China may not be as mature as in other markets. Flight tickets and hotel reservations accounted for the major market transaction share. The 30 billion market has attracted online travel agencies and portals to enter the battlefield, making travel planning and booking especially convenient for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). In 2018, over 57 percent of SMEs had used mobile apps for travel bookings. To compete with the online platforms, more TMCs have developed a one-stop service with smart cost control systems. It suffices to say the travel management sector still has plenty room to grow in China.

Apart from corporate travel, the Chinese exhibition sector has remained constant growth, in both domestic and overseas regions. Ever since 2013, at least 500 more exhibitions have been organized in China each year. In 2018, over nine thousand trade exhibitions were held in the 286 operated exhibition venues, representing a double-digit rise. In terms of exhibition space, Shanghai and Guangzhou are the leading trade show hosts offering over ten million square meters. Chinese companies have set up their footage in international exhibitions. In 2018, China held around 107 trade exhibitions in other countries. That year, China Product Fair in Dubai was China’s largest overseas exhibition with a size of 42.8 thousand square meters.

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Business travel and exhibitions in China

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Business travel management

SME business travel

Trade exhibitions


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