Summit organizer did not charge attendees for taking photos with Obama

By Zhang Hongpei Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/6 15:33:39

The host of the 3rd summit of global small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has denied media reports that claimed it charged attendees for taking photos with guest speaker former US President Barack Obama, the host confirmed with the Global Times on Wednesday.

A representative of the Shanghai office of Global Alliance of SMEs (GASME), the host of the summit, told the Global Times that Obama's speech during the summit was commercially funded, yet the GASME is a non profit multinational NGO approved by the US government, meaning the event needed sponsorship packages from some participating enterprises, which is customary.

The representative declined to be identified.

In addition, the summit venue, the Shanghai Expo Center, also costs a lot to hire, he noted.

"There were more than 10 sponsors that provided amounts ranging from 200,000 yuan ($30,243.50) to 4 million yuan, and taking photos with Obama, a very popular figure among Chinese entrepreneurs, was part of the reward for these sponsors, but did not cost them anything," he said, denying the Beijing News report that alleged the photos cost attendees between 250,000 to 300,000 yuan each.

He also mentioned that for sponsors who have too many photo opportunities, they are able to transfer some to their business partners, but was not clear about the details of this process.

"It might cost more than 200,000 yuan," he calculated.

"The people who took photos with Obama are all excellent entrepreneurs from different industries, with only a minority representing firms selling products via the WeChat platform," he said, adding there have been photoshopped images circulating online that superimpose Obama next to firm representatives that did not even have photos taken with him. As such, those WeChat accounts responsible for distributing the manipulated photos will be resorted to legal liabilities, the host representative said.


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