Water treatment Membranes China

Rene Bos on China travel and water opportunities

Tuesday, 12 March 2024

Rene Bos, the new exhibition director for Aquatech China, discusses recent positive travel changes and the water market in China.

A positive business attitude

1. Rene – you’re the new Exhibition Director for Aquatech China. Can you tell me a bit about your professional background and history in China?

I joined the RAI mid-way though last year – after many years in commercial international market research. While I am new to the trade show business as such, my experience is also in B2B business and with a strong China link. I have worked professionally with China for over 15 years, having actually lived and worked there for a total of nearly nine years. This includes nearly three years in Hong Kong, and later nearly six years in Beijing. While working with and in China can be challenging; I love the country, its people, their positive business attitude and of course, the food. As it is, my wife is Chinese and my two daughters are “Made in China”!


2. You’ve visited China multiple times recently – can you explain how the experience has been for you travelling from Europe?

My first trip to China was in the mid 90’s – and it was exciting, interesting and insightful both professionally and personally to be there. It was very much the same last time I went there just a few weeks ago. What always strikes me when I go there is how forward looking the Chinese are: the future is always seen as an opportunity, not a threat.

Having said that, of course China now is very different from China back then. China has developed tremendously in the last decades, with a lot more self-confidence and prowess – politically, and as one of the economic engines in the world.

Covid was a real downer of course, with the country on its back side for about three full years. That hurt a lot and still does – while its economy pre-Covid grew closer to 10 per cent than 5 per cent annually, now China is faced with economic challenges. But they are facing those challenges head on and with a resilience that gives me a lot of confidence about the future – even the near future! It is very encouraging that their expected economic growth this year most likely will be upwards from 5 per cent. 

3. In a bid to boost international visitors, China has lifted the visa requirement from six countries to enter for stays of 15 days, namely passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia. This period will last to November 30 2024. How do you think this has helped with travel, and could the lift continue after November?

It is very encouraging that China is relaxing its visa rules. It must be seen in the light of a lot more measures to boost the economy and their view that more foreigners traveling to China more often will contribute to their economic recovery. My expectation is that relaxed visa regulations will apply to travellers from more countries, and I also expect it to be extended past the trial period ending in November. This, coupled with the abolishment of mandatory pre-travel Covid tests and other cumbersome entry rules, makes China easier to travel to now than even before!

4. China is undergoing huge investment into environmental remediation, including water and wastewater infrastructure. In light of this, can you talk through what are the main themes for this year’s Aquatech China?

China faces serious water issues – affecting quality and quantity in just about every province of this large and populous country. As part of the huge importance of central, provincial and local environmental and climate related policies, there is a lot of funding available in just about any of the main themes. Aquatech China will pick up on these themes, such as water scarcity, inefficient water usage, renewal of infrastructure, the need for decentralised (waste) water recycling, the need for desalination, circularity, and implementation of smart (read: digital) water technologies and monitoring systems.  

5. Why should international water technology companies have Aquatech China on their radar?

Aquatech China is part of the famous 50-year-old brands of Aquatech Global events from the professional, 120 year old event organiser, RAI Amsterdam in the Netherlands. As no other, RAI knows how to organise Aquatech events – connecting all relevant stakeholders such as sellers and buyers of water processing related technologies, but also relevant government bodies, professional associations as well as water research institutions from around the world.

Aquatech China, organised almost annually since 2008, distinguishes itself by the large number of on-site seminars, presentations and discussions assuring that participation goes beyond commercial benefits to also provides lots of insights to visitors and exhibitors.

On top of that, Aquatech China is only about water, and nothing but water. Ensuring a full focus on water, in line with the tremendous importance of water in China. In short, Aquatech China – in Shanghai from 11-13 December of this year, is a not-to-be missed event. 

- More information on this year’s Aquatech China event can be found: www.aquatechtrade.com/shanghai