Considering Shenzhen is a first-tier city and home to tech companies like Tencent and Huawei, I was surprised to see a post in my LinkedIn feed for an event billing itself as Shenzhen's first SEO conference. Is SEO that nascent there? Who's speaking? Will I learn anything? I decided to go and check it out.
"Oops! I cannot send this email!" responded the form on their website when I tried to request tickets. Not a good start. I sent an email to the address listed on the site and luckily got a reply back within an hour confirming the ticket price. The price is literally 4% of what I paid for a ticket to SMX West in San Jose a few years ago. I figured this is one hell of a bargain for an SEO conference or price=quality and it's going to suck.
I arrived about an hour early to the conference, held at a ballroom in a higher end hotel in Nanshan. I paid for my ticket in cash - which they weren't equipped for since apparently most people got tickets in advance or paid on the spot with WeChat Pay or AliPay - and they couldn't produce change. No matter since my change was very little, but it was weird they couldn't provide a physical ticket. I got a t-shirt and stickers and one of the organizer's added on WeChat so I figured that should be enough to prove I paid. I wish I got a ticket or a receipt though, which felt unprofessional.
After returning to the conference venue from lunch, I was surprised to see the ballroom packed with hundreds of people and what looked to be standing room only. I found an open seat in the back and the first speaker was already speaking.
Here's my notes on attending the first SEO conference in Shenzhen:
Overall I'm glad I went but I don't think it was worth it for me. There was some good tidbits but nothing truly advanced (I can't remember any technical SEO at all discussed), most of the people there were young (one guy I talked to has only been doing SEO for 3 months vs 10+ years for me) and it was too heavy on SEO for websites that monetize with affiliate programs. I got what I paid for.