A look ahead at MWC Shanghai

While Barcelona is coming up fast, this blog post takes a look ahead to the conference at MWC Shanghai, June 27 -29th 2018.As Barcelona’s ‘little sister’, Shanghai is recognisably related – you’ll find the quality of speakers, organisation and delegates that you’d expect. With our event tagline ‘Discover a Better Future’, we are carrying through the GSMA’s support for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. But also like a little sister, it does things very much its own way and is growing up to be noticeably different from Barcelona. Here are some of the things you can look forward to from the conference in 2018:

  • A different conference structure. Instead of Barcelona’s short conference sessions, we bring together content into ‘Summits’ lasting a day (or the best part of it). This gives us the chance to dig into big topics in a way that is just impossible with short sessions, and follow the connections between one issue and another. This has two major results:
  • Better access for delegates. Because of the Summit structure, we are able to offer exhibition pass upgrades to attend a Summit. This makes the conference available to people who are keen on a particular topic but wouldn’t be able to justify the cost of a full conference pass.
  • Diversity among the conference delegates. In 2017 fully a quarter of the companies attending the conference were from outside ‘traditional’ telco/IT/tech industries, coming to share and learn about the digitisation in their industries. From ‘expected’ industries like carmakers and finance to toymakers, petrochemicals and hotels, it’s a great chance to expand contact networks beyond the usual.
  • What’s more, regional diversity is also very strong. Of course we get a lot of local Chinese companies sending delegates – that’s about 40% of the total. The rest of APAC constitutes roughly a third of delegates, with the remaining quarter from elsewhere in the world. With live translation between Mandarin, English, Japanese and Korean throughout the conference, language is no barrier. As a result of touches like this, the event is increasingly becoming a great bridge to do business into and out of the region.

Both traits – better access and more diversity – comes to a head at The Leaders Stage, an auditorium custom-built to get more people engaged. First, access to the Leaders Stage is open to everyone with an all-exhibition pass, as well as the conference and VIP passes. Never been to the conference in Shanghai before? This is your chance to try it out. And the subjects we cover bring together leaders in business, invention, arts, finance and much more to help you look at our digital world with fresh eyes.

So exactly what can you see in Shanghai?

The speaker line-up is building NOW, but the topics we are covering are available to view on the MWC Shanghai website here.

You’ll find some ‘industry core topics’, of course, which are being taken in fresh directions. For example, in the 5G Summit we ask what the push to 5G offers, in practice, for the majority of operators who will be focussing on LTE, WiFi and 3G for the foreseeable future? This goes far beyond just technology.

Meanwhile, the team will be tackling some topics which reach beyond any one industry, but which will affect (and rely on) the telecoms world; new eras in marketing, commerce, finance, transport and AI, and what it means to live in a digital society. Expect an exciting set of perspectives and real thought leadership lessons to take away.

As mentioned, we are recruiting speakers and have been for a little while… but it’s still possible to share your topic ideas with us through the MWC Shanghai website until mid-March. If you’re interested, drop us a line; even if we are not able to accommodate you in Shanghai, it gets you on our radar and we can keep you in mind for other events.

Shanghai is fast growing out of her big brother’s shadow; we hope you’ll be a part of it.