Last month, some lucky members of our Berlin team attended the GMIC conference in Beijing. Now in its 10th year, over 52,000 attendees descended on the Chinese capital for what has become one of the most influential internet conferences in the world. In this post, we caught up with the team to hear more about their first conference experience in Beijing.
1. In China, With All Things: It’s Go Big or Go Home
Whether it’s the enormous buildings that dot the skyline of China’s megacity, the booths at the conference, or the parties: in China it seems bigger is always better. We were all struck by the sheer size of everything during our time in Beijing and at the conference in particular where the booths for some of China’s most well-known tech companies like Baidu, Weibo, and Tencent dominated the large conference halls.
We hosted two parties during the conference with our friends at YeahMobi and our massive Ignite The Night party with Apus, which was attended by over 3,000 people. The flashy Elements Club venue in Beijing was such a culture shock for us Berliners who normally party in much more laid back, stripped down, neglected looking clubs!
There were lasers, balloons, models, dancers, smoke guns, light shows, and champagne towers – a complete sensory overload but it was so much fun partying with our friends in the industry and seeing how they do it in China. We hope they’re not disappointed when we invite them to party with us in a grungy old club back in Berlin!
2. Tech Moves Fast in China
We were all struck by the level of innovation at the conference with some of the most futuristic looking tech gadgets we’ve ever seen being demonstrated to the crowds. Walking around the halls was like being in the movie Tron with all the robots and AI powered drones and even a chocolate 3D printer – yes, you read that right.
The theme for this year’s GMIC was AI-Genesis which attracted some of the world’s most innovative technology companies. Huawei exhibited the latest in their Honor series – The Honor 10, with built-in AI camera.
The camera has intelligent photography algorithms and motion detection functions which allow users to shoot like the pros and take the perfect selfie.
3. Programmatic Is Still New
With the high-level of innovation in other industries, strangely the AdTech industry in China have been a little slower in embracing programmatic technology. China’s app market is the largest app market globally, with revenues projected to reach $42 billion by 2020.
Despite this, programmatic ad spend in China still lags behind the US and UK. Though there has been a massive surge in programmatic ad spend in the past year or so, largely driven by mobile and we have also begun to see more of a focus on building trust and transparency in the advertising industry.
Our CEO Ionut took to the stage for a panel discussion with some experts from Remerge, GeoEdge, Display.io, and Appsflyer to discuss some of the issues plaguing the advertising ecosystem, including fraud and ad blockers. It was a really insightful panel discussion with some really interesting perspectives and a lot of learnings. We hope to see even more companies embracing programmatic by next year’s GMIC and hopefully some innovative solutions from China’s best tech companies to help tackle app developers’ concerns.
4. Mobile is EVERYTHING
In Europe and the US, people have been saying that old familiar ‘Mobile is the Future’ line for years now. In China, mobile is not the past, present or future – it’s everything. Absolutely everywhere you go in China, people are engrossed in their smartphone screens at all times.
We found it so funny seeing QR codes on everything, at the train station, on our coffee cups – everywhere! WeChat seems to be used by everyone, young and old to communicate with friends, read the news, and even pay bills.
Witnessing the dominance of mobile in China and the need for smart monetization solutions made us thankful we established our Beijing office back in 2014. It has been amazing to see the team grow there and getting to spend time with everyone has been such a rewarding experience for us! We hope to attend next year’s GMIC with our team and experience even more of what this amazing country has to offer.
Until next year!
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