Last Thursday, the annual China New Generation Cyber Game Industries Expo was held in Beijing. The expo was meant to show off the latest in China's ever expanding online gaming industry. The only problem was... the event didn't happen.
Last Thursday, I had met a contact for lunch in Beijing. After lunch we had planned to attend the annual CNGCG Expo to check out some of web games. A 20-minute cab ride to the Beijing Exhibition centre later we arrived on a scene where an expo had just occurred. Perturbed and confused as to why the expo was being taken down we approached the security. We were informed that the expo had ended.
Confused and bewildered that an expo advertised for Thursday June 6 from 9am to 5pm had ended at 12.45, we pressed the security some more. Turns out the expo that was being taken down was the China International Internet of Things Expo and not CNGCG. Yes, it was an expo called China International Internet of Things.
The CNGCG Expo is by all means not a fake expo. It has been held successfully in previous years, but this year, this year there was no expo. The expo was advertised in trade publications, websites and various other game industry related media leading up to the day of the expo. While my friend and I were outside trying to sort things out at least 20 plus people also walked by asking security about the CNGCG Expo, they too were turned away.
Sure, the expo could have been cancelled, but there wasn't any notice. In fact the event organisers at the Beijing Expo centre said that there was never an event registered under CNGCG all year round. Any calls and emails to the event organisers and related parties were either unanswered or the phone was discontinued.
Beijing based writer Clarence Bing says that phantom expos are common in China. Bing says the reason behind phantom expos range from government interference, cancelation or just internet phishing schemes.
"Every event requires the permission of a regulatory body before they can hold it," said Bing. "There are so many events in China, some of them can't get the permissions needed so they don't hold them at all."
"On the other hand, it could all just be one big scam."
Bing explains that sometimes scammers hold phantom expos to gather emails. What they do with the emails is anyone's guess but one thing is for certain, phantom expos are terrible.