The yearly MWC Shanghai was held between June 26 to June 28, 2019. During MWC Barcelona this year we received an offer to set up a booth during MWC Shanghai, but because we have never attended the event previously and didn't know what to expect, we declined the offer but since the entrance fees for visitors was much cheaper than MWC Barcelona, and since Shanghai was only around 2 hours of flight away, I took this opportunity to register and see for myself what MWC Shanghai is all about.
This year's theme for MWC Shanghai was Intelligent Connectivity, the same as it was in Barcelona this year.
Geared mostly for the Chinese market
It might be obvious, but MWC in Shanghai is mostly geared towards the Chinese market. I was hoping for a more east asia focus but it was pretty obvious from the different booths and companies, and the way they tried to pass on their messages, it was mostly geared for the China or Chinese markets.
I was also expecting a more hardware focused event, based on feedback I have received from people who have been to MWC Shanghai before and knowing that China is a manufacturing powerhouse, but there was also a decent amount of software solutions vendors too.
Like in Barcelona, a big theme that you'll notice as you walk around the exhibition halls was 5G.
The Four Years From Now selection was interesting though. They had a healthy amount of startups, although the overall number is much smaller than what they had in Barcelona this year.
I stopped by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) who was there promoting Malaysia as a startup destination and had an enlighting discussion with Shafiq, who is taking charge of building up the digital entrepreneurship ecosystem in Malaysia.
There were stages for pitching, and you can spend the whole afternoon listening to all types of new businesses looking for partners and investments, which was an interesting learning experience.
My general feeling of MWC Shanghai is that if you're interested in accessing the China (and Chinese?) market, it might be a good place for you to be. There were exhibitors which are from other Asia regions like Singapore, and even startups from Europe for 4YFN but for those it might be more bang for your buck and time if you attend MWC in Barcelona or other events in Singapore like CommunicAsia.
There were also attendees who don't look like people from the industry, e.g people wearing casual clothes and slippers walking amongst the booths. I can't really be sure if these people are legit industry players or just sightseeing tourists. There was even a group that looked liked schoolchildren on a field trip in the exhibition halls. Perhaps the accessibility of MWC Shanghai attracts more people than we would imagine.