I've traveled more than 6,000 miles to attend ISH China. The trade show is being held at the China National Convention Center, located in the Olympic Park. And yes, I've seen the "Bird's Nest" stadium and the Water Cube, but that's about it. Driving in from the airport, Beijing looks like most big cities. And ISH China is like most trade shows I've attended over the years - it's just that most people are speaking Mandarin Chinese instead of English (or German, as was the case when I attended ISH Frankfurt a few years ago). This is a much smaller show than ISH Frankfurt, which my feet will be grateful for!
After breakfast at the hotel (which is conveniently next to the convention center), I met with Penny Troon, senior public relations officer at Messe Frankfurt - Hong Kong, and other foreign journalists before heading over to the show.
As some of you may know, today is World Plumbing Day, and it was officially launched with a press conference at ISH China. Robert Burgon, chairman of the World Plumbing Council, opened the briefing. The WPC is joined in this endeavor by Hua Mingjiu, chairman of the Plumbing Facilities of China Construction Metal Structures Association, and Messe Frankfurt.
The theme for this inaugural World Plumbing Day is "Plumbing - Vital to Global Health." Burgon discussed the importance of plumbing and good sanitation to the health of the planet.
"We want people all over the world to understand that plumbing is a major contributor to public health (through its role in relation to water and sanitation) and to the health of the planet (through the many environmental initiatives and technologies in which the industry is involved)," he said.
He added that people all over the world "rarely understand" that the installation of plumbing systems must be done in a professional way to protect people's health.
A special Web site has been established - www.worldplumbingday.org - which will be the depository for technical and other information to be accessed by the world's plumbers. Currently, the site has two papers that detail certain aspects of plumbing: the health side and the environmental side.
Burgon said the intent of the site is to produce short technical papers that reflect the "best thinking on plumbing technology." He did admit that most of the information on the site is in English, but that the hope is to translate these into other languages.
As to future events to commemorate the day, Burgon said it was "too soon" at this stage to speculate. The WPC board will be reviewing the publicity and activities of this inaugural event next week. He did say that a joint event with the World Health Organization could be possible next year.
After the press conference, I walked around the show floor and sat in on a few sessions of the Sino European Congress. But the dimly lit room and jet lag had me heading back to the show floor.
On the schedule tonight is a special Messe Frankfurt dinner for the media - overlooking Tiananmen Square. I'll let you know how it goes!