A clearer international trade picture is helping the industry move forward.
HONG KONG — As the China trade situation solidifies, businesses are able to plan ahead with more certainty than in the past.
This has boosted competition in the trade show industry as organizers try to capitalize on the elimination of quotas, and in the first half of this year, two new large-scale shows premiered in Hong Kong: Prime Source and China Sourcing Fair: Fashion Accessories.
“There are new [shows] cropping up everywhere,” said Annie Ma, group manager of trade fairs for organizer Messe Frankfurt.
Ma admitted the competition has hurt Messe Frankfurt in the short term because people like to try new shows in new markets. In the end, however, the organizer does have 20 years of experience in the Asian trade show market to fall back on. Messe Frankfurt has six regional textile shows on its calendar for the second half of 2006.
Its Intertextile Pavilion Shenzhen will run July 25-27 at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center. It’s expected to draw as many as 150 exhibitors and between 10,000 and 15,000 visitors in an area of 26,909 square feet.
Messe Frankfurt is looking to develop secondary markets in the country because the trade show organizer is already established in first-tier cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, Ma said. Ideas being researched include expanding pavilion road shows to other parts of China by the second half of 2007.
Cinte Techtextil China will run Sept. 19-21 at Intex in Shanghai. The show, which is held once every two years, had 300 exhibitors from 18 countries and regions in 2004, and visitor numbers came in at more than 6,500.
Interstoff Asia Autumn will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Oct. 4-6. In 2005, the show had 289 exhibitors and more than 10,500 visitors.
Running concurrently with Interstoff will be Source It, in a new autumn slot. The date was switched to enable exhibitors to show products for a different season. However, the show still will run only once a year.
The show is organized with ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and includes exhibitors from such member countries as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The show had 117 exhibitors in 2005 and more than 9,000 visitors.
Source It will have a chief executive officer forum focusing on free-trade agreements between ASEAN countries and their Pacific Rim neighbors Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, said Katy Lam, director of trade shows, adding that by October there will be agreements signed for more countries to participate. Exports to the U.S. and the European Union from ASEAN countries are quite high if you combine their market share, she said.
Messe Frankfurt’s Intertextile Shanghai will be held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center Oct. 25-28. The event has expanded from five halls to seven, an increase of 247,570 square feet, Lam said. The show now will encompass a total of 904,168 square feet.
“We have a big waiting list” of exhibitors, she said, adding that there is never enough space. In 2005, Intertextile Shanghai had more than 45,000 visitors and 1,532 exhibitors.
Rounding out the year for Messe Frankfurt is Yarn Expo, held concurrently with Intertextile Shanghai.
Intertextile Shanghai isn’t the only show that’s expanding rapidly. China Sourcing Fair: Fashion Accessories will hold its second fair Oct. 11-14 at the AsiaWorld-Expo here. The October show, following the success of the April debut, which had more than 500 booths and drew 10,000 visitors, is expected to be twice as big.
The addition of fashion accessories was a result of customer demand and seems to have worked. Buyers for garments, textiles and accessories were already going to Global Sources’ Gifts and Home Products show, which offered home textiles, but they wanted more, particularly more specialization, said Sarah Benecke, Global Sources’ executive director, during an interview earlier in the year.
The show will add three product categories at the October show: swimwear, lingerie and undergarments, and sleepwear. They will join displays of bags, shoes, hats, belts, luggage and scarves, among many other accessories categories.
Hong Kong Fashion Week, which runs July 11-14 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, also has seen its numbers grow. In 2005, the number of exhibitors for the spring/summer show grew 18 percent over the previous year, and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the organizer, is expecting a 6 percent increase in 2006. Buyers in 2005 numbered 19,430, a nearly 29 percent jump over 2004.
Highlighting the increased interest in working with Asia, visitors to Hong Kong Fashion Week from the U.S. grew 50 percent in 2005, Australian visitors grew 38 percent and those from Taiwan grew 73 percent, compared with a 7 percent increase for visitors from mainland China.
Hong Kong Fashion Week is exploring the possibility of adding new zones to the fair this year, but since recruitment is still ongoing for exhibitors, nothing has been confirmed, said Anne Chick, senior exhibitions manager.
As fashion brands have expanded in China, there has been an increased interest in local Hong Kong designers. “Chinese Mainland companies value the international experience and profile of Hong Kong designers. They believe that our Hong Kong designers have a better understanding of international fashion trends and taste,” Chick said. “Hong Kong designers are also able to deliver a total package — i.e., not only on the design of clothing, but also on image branding of labels and retail shops.”
The Trade Development Council also organizes the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair, which runs Sept. 6-10 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.