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November 25, 2004

Many Chinese Pulling Out of CES Because of Visa Issues

This is bad.  Real bad.

From the Financial Times Asia Desk: China Pulls Out of US Trade Fair

With just six weeks to go before this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, as many as half the would-be Chinese delegates have had their visa applications turned down, organisers say.

"Many companies are deciding to exhibit in Europe rather than the US because of the visa problems.

"We have already had to give back money to Chinese exhibitors that have been unable to get visas for their employees. Now Chinese companies are applying for double the number of visas they need in the hope that they will get half of them."

This is just bad in so many ways its astounding.  And sad. 

Fortress America indeed.

That this is happening to CES at the same time China is increasing its lead in DVD technology and developing standards for other products is unfathomable. 

If the Chinese can't exhibit, you can bet the house that many Europeans won't attend.  They'll just go to the shows in their backyard.  And who loses?  Not just CES, but American retailers, consumers and maybe even the few leaders we have left, like Motorola.

It's not just CES.  This will affect any show with signficant Chinese exhibitor presence.  It will likely affect one of my clients, Coverings.

And it's not just trade shows.

More Asians choosing to attend Chinese universities over US which is terrifying, considering US students aren't going to fill the voids in engineering and science... you know what happens next: we become increasingly irrelevant in technology and R&D.  And that trickles down to more of us taking $8/hr jobs, and even those may not be safe.  Not this decade, but if you're under 30 now, you'll see it in your lifetime.  Unless things change quickly.

It's odd to think that of all the presidents who've served in my lifetime, the only two that understood this were both impeached.

Obviously our current leadership doesn't read Tom Peters otherwise they'd know this and this and thisForeign Affairs isn't quite as dramatic at Mr. Peters, but they've sounded the alarms as well.

One last gripe.  Why am I learning about CES's visa issues from the Financial Times and not from our own publications?  To give credit, Successful Meetings did a feature three weeks ago on visa issues.  But to not see a story as big as this that's been around for at least three days in EXPO or Tradeshow Week?  This is the type of thing that should merit a single-topic email advisory bulletin to subscribers.  I don't get it.

04:54 AM in Trade Show Trends, Trade Shows, TSMR Rants | Permalink


The handwriting's been on the wall for quite a while, and yes, Rich, we have been writing about it. Some examples:

Visa Process May Worsen (May 2003)

Rx for Visa Hassles (June 2003)

New Visa Regs Hit International Attendees (May 2004)

Visa Hassles Hurt Meetings (June 2004)

Anyway, I could go on and on--just type in "visa" on the MeetingsNet search and you'll get a ton more. Anyone who didn't see this coming has had their head in the sand, IMHO. The question is, what do we do about it?

Posted by: Sue P | Nov 29, 2004 12:21:40 PM

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