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#TBF20 Takeaway: The scale and chaos of China’s ticketing industry

Understanding the Chinese government’s policies and aligning with what they are trying to accomplish is the key to succeeding in the ticketing space and other markets, according to Greg Turner, founder and managing director of Shenzhen High Performance Event Management.

As a speaker at this year’s TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2020, Turner provided insight into the Chinese market and identified potential opportunities, underscoring that it is the government that sets policies, and it is up to industries to find ways to get involved and get results. Attendees can watch the session back here.

He noted that in China, policy flows downhill, while results flow uphill. The central government sets guiding opinions to lay out what they want to see happen. In 2015, it declared that it wanted to be a “global cultural superpower.” The responsibility is then passed down to the local governments to bring this goal to fruition and “create success for themselves.”

This plan led to an influx of ticketing firms, specifically secondary platforms, in the Chinese market five years ago as companies began to seek out ways to align with the government directive.

The increase in ticketing firms and investment in the entertainment space was not due to a fast-growing market as is expected in the West. As Turner indicates, the reality is that the live events market has not grown much over the past five years in China, but due to the government’s aim to become a cultural hot spot in the global marketplace, it has attracted new business and innovation.

Turner also said there are plenty of opportunities for operators and businesses in China, as ticketing firms continue to access a lot of best practice by seeking help from outside of the Chinese market.

China, which was the first country to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic back in January, has returned to an almost “normal” live events market, as more than 70,000 live events kicked off across the country in October. The move followed a gradual return with the first signs of reopening happening in the spring, before August welcomed the country’s first live event, which led to its first festival at the end of the month.

Turner said: “The whole world was focused on China. It was a very dystopian world here for a while as everything was shut down and it felt like the end of the world in a lot of ways. We went through a very strict lockdown.

“What I hope that everyone can take from this, is that when the time is right – people are going to come back to live events.”