SHANGHAI — Organizers of this year’s spring edition of Intertextile Apparel Fabrics show relocated the trade fair from Beijing to Shanghai and held the event at an earlier date as part of an effort to attract more international suppliers and to have better coordination with the sourcing time of local buyers for the upcoming spring season.
The three-day show earlier this month attracted more than 1,400 exhibitors from 23 countries and regions, representing an 11 percent increase in foreign exhibitors compared with last year’s event in Beijing, according to organizers Messe Frankfurt. Yarn Expo, which featured 230 suppliers offering yarns and fibers, was also held in conjunction with the apparel fair.
“We received an overwhelmingly positive response from our exhibitors and visitors about the relocation,” said Wendy Wen, senior general manager of Messe Frankfurt Hong Kong. “Most exhibitors agree that Shanghai offers a bigger market to reach many more potential customers, while for many of the buyers who visited the spring fair for the first time, the added convenience of Shanghai was a key factor in their attendance.”
Wen said the show had about a 60 percent increase in visitors compared with last spring’s show in Beijing. The fall edition, held last October in Shanghai, attracted more than 69,000 buyers from 98 countries.
In particular, there were more European suppliers, reflecting the ongoing demand for premium fabrics in the Chinese market. Among the show highlights was the return of the Milano Unica pavilion that featured more than 120 Italian textile producers.
“We are making a big margin in Asia,” said Carlo Anceschi, executive director of Asia-Pacific operations of Lanificio F.lli Cerruti.
Yet Anceschi added that more Chinese brands are opting to buy affordable fabrics rather than premium as part of an effort to tap into the middle class market. This, he said, is largely because business for expensive suits has evaporated due to the Chinese government’s sweeping anticorruption campaign that has heavily impacted the gifting of luxury goods between government officials and business associates. Expensive men’s suits have been a popular gift in the past.
“People are now using suits not for a gift but because people need a nice suit for work,” he said. “Only a few of my customers are selling the high-end collections. Now they want to reduce and sell to the middle part of the market.”
Other highlights included a Korea Pavilion, which featured nearly 70 suppliers from South Korea. Suppliers noted that they are receiving more requests for smaller orders of higher quality products from the Chinese market.
Fabric makers from India and Pakistan also had a more noticeable presence. Sajid Hussain, general manager of marketing for Reliance Weaving Mills Ltd., a Pakistan-based producer of cotton and Lycra spandex fabrics, said while business in China is volatile, the company is seeing growing demand from the domestic market, as well as from international buyers who can no longer source more low-cost textiles from Chinese manufacturers that are now moving up the textile value chain by producing more premium and technically focused fabrics.
“Pakistan and India are starting to have more business from other markets,” Hussain said. “European business is coming and the Chinese domestic market is increasing.”
Hussain said there is an influx of spinning mills opening in Pakistan, some operated by Chinese manufacturers that are now sending production offshore to cheaper markets.
The 2015 spring fair will be moved to the under-construction China Expo Complex in Shanghai, which will be the world’s largest convention and exhibition center.