HONG KONG — Cosmoprof Asia boasted an increase in exhibitor numbers with a total up in the double digits this year versus the same session in 2005, but future growth of the event based here looks less clear, with a Shanghai version due to be kicked off in early 2007.
Now in its eleventh year, the Cosmoprof Asia beauty trade show (Asia’s biggest) ended Nov. 17, with many of its exhibitors saying they are taking a wait-and-see attitude about whether they will participate in next year’s event. Firms seeking a foothold in China said they would likely ditch Cosmoprof Asia for Cosmoprof Shanghai, a new edition to run from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, thanks to its anticipated focus on Chinese exhibitors and attendees.
China is a hot commodity these days. Among the fastest-growing markets worldwide, its beauty sales are rapidly picking up speed. The country’s premium cosmetics business, for example, has posted nearly 300 percent growth since 2000 and is today valued at 10.52 billion yuan, or $1.35 billion at current exchange rates, according to tracking firm Euromonitor International.
Cosmetics producers, such as Fossano, Italy-based Midi, are among the many planning to exhibit at Cosmoprof Shanghai.
“We will try it, and afterward, we will decide [between the two],” said Fausto Gonella, chief administrator of Midi. “It’s only one that will survive.”
Cosmoprof Shanghai is being marketed as a venue for foreign businesses seeking inroads into the vast Chinese market. For those focused on China, it could introduce people to a wider pool of customers than Cosmoprof Asia. This is primarily due to its Shanghai location.
“The Shanghai trade show will be more focused on mainland customers and will be more convenient for them,” said James Chen, a marketing executive for Du Pont China Holding Co., of Shanghai.
Cosmoprof organizers say that more than 100 “new” brands — those that are not yet present at Cosmoprof Asia and are primarily from China — have already signed up for Cosmoprof Shanghai.
Meanwhile, Cosmoprof Asia’s broad regional focus has been seen to diminish over the years and therefore is considered to be competing for the same market as Cosmoprof Shanghai, according to some exhibitors.
A number of them said they would try out the new trade show.
“I would never go to both of them,” said Uwe Lohr, an executive of Lausanne, Switzerland-based EB Holding SA cosmetics group, who explained he would probably test out the Shanghai version of the fair in 2008. “They’re too near each other [in terms of timing] to go to both.”
Lohr stressed that going to the two would be too expensive, as well. For the Cosmoprof Asia event alone, he said his costs (including booth fees, travel and hotel accommodation) were in the region of $100,000.
However, Stuart Meldrum, chief executive officer of Cosi, a contract manufacturer with operations in the U.K., Italy, China, the U.S. and South Africa and which is in the process of building a plant in Shanghai, said he plans to keep attending both trade shows for the near future.
“There’s a chance there will be a lot of the same people, but we can’t take the chance of not being there [in Shanghai],” he said.
Yet, when asked if they would eventually choose one fair over the other, he responded, “absolutely.”
Laura Zaccagnini, international marketing director of Cosmoprof Asia, explained the rationale behind launching Cosmoprof Shanghai.
“It’s high time to look into the mainland market and build a bridge [with it],” she said.
Zaccagnini stressed that Cosmoprof Shanghai would serve a different purpose than Cosmoprof Asia, including giving opportunities to those looking for a distribution system there and foreign investors who are China product-oriented.
“We see it as an extension of our successful format in Hong Kong,” she said.
Zaccagnini explained Cosmoprof Asia will continue developing intra-Asian business and should be a trendsetter for the region as a whole.
In terms of exhibitors at Cosmoprof Asia, there were 43 percent more focused on packaging than in 2004.
Michael Duck, director of Cosmoprof Asia, noted, “The perfumery, cosmetics and toiletries sector also enjoyed a growth of 26 percent.”
Running as part of Cosmoprof Asia was the fifth edition of the Natural Health Fair, with firms from New Zealand, Korea, Thailand and Indonesia enlarging their country pavilions since 2005.
Cosmprof Asia registered a 2 percent drop in attendees, with 37,985 versus 38,786 in the previous year’s session. The heaviest focus was on attendees from Hong Kong and China.
The trade show had a record 1,258 exhibitors, approximately 16 percent more than in 2005, when there were 1,085.