BEIJING — China’s buoyant bounce-back from the global financial meltdown has brought a resurgence of enthusiasm, alongside higher manufacturing and trade numbers, ahead of the spring and summer 2011 trade show seasons.
Fair organizers said they expect bigger shows, more vendors and higher customer numbers in the months to come, and all are preparing for a season they hope will make up for two sluggish years amid financial turmoil. Even though China’s own economic situation has some problems, including a potential rise in the currency and some overheated sectors, trade fair organizers are optimistic that buyers will be returning to China next year in droves.
“The scale of our exhibition overall will be 50 percent larger than last year, so we’ll have more companies and visitors,” said Ma Ying, media organizer for Mode Shanghai, which takes place March 16 to 18.
Other trade shows are also planning larger exhibitions than this past year, when many companies scaled back fairs to compensate for a glaring lack of customers. The number of buyers, particularly from the U.S. and Europe, slowed significantly as retailers cut back on orders and consumers tightened their belts. But with renewed spending, fairs are prepped for greater volume.
Still, there are trouble spots, noted Yang Chunhua, marketing manager for the 2011 Shenzhen International Clothing OEM Expo, set for March 7 to 9. Yang said Chinese companies are still looking for new markets and domestic customers amid fears over changing currency values. Orders have not resumed their fast pace of pre-crisis spending, and Chinese textile and apparel markets are hungry to recommence trade.
“The increase in prices of raw materials, possible changes in currency and the labor shortage in the south are still causing problems,” said Yang. “[Manufacturers] have started paying more attention to the domestic market, as the domestic market is comparatively stable.”
At the same time, as foreign customers return to China and find the manufacturing glut over, they’ll need to find new sources and companies with which to do business, Yang noted, adding those factors should make for a brisk trade show season.
Another trend on the horizon: More clients will be looking for research and development, potential innovation from China, rather than just top-down ordered clothing and textile manufacturing. Chinese companies are aiming to increase their worth on the global value chain, in part by coming up with their own products and ideas. Yang said many companies will bring new ideas and products to apparel and textile fairs this season.
“Government policies have also created a trend in making ‘low-carbon’ fabrics,” he added.
Ma of Mode Shanghai said she expects to see more companies coming in with products geared directly to the Chinese domestic market, rather than tailored to foreign tastes and prices.
“We expect to see foreign brands and designers with strong demand to enter the China market,” she said, “as well as the emergence of young Chinese fashion and creative designer brands.”