ENK International has signed a joint venture agreement with Shanghai-based Shangtex Development Corp. to operate Mode Shanghai, the contemporary trade show in China.

This story first appeared in the September 19, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The deal expands ENK’s reach in China, following its initial foray into the market in March 2011 when it established its own branded pavilion at the China International Clothing and Accessories Fair in Beijing, the largest apparel show in China. Dubbed ENKUSA@CHIC, among the first participating brands at that show were AG Adriano Goldschmied, J Brand, Hudson Jeans, Paige Denim, Nanette Lepore and Robert Rodriguez.

U.S. brands do not yet participate in Mode Shanghai, and ENK is aiming to leverage its relationships to change that in the new 50-50 partnership. “Without question, this will become a critical market for American fashion brands going forward,” predicted Tom Nastos, president of New York-based ENK.

Mode Shanghai was founded in 2010 by Shangtex Development Corp. This year, the show hosted 500 brands from 14 countries with 7,000 attendees. “They have had a successful show over they past three years and we feel we can grow the business substantially,” said Nastos.

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About 60 percent of the brands that exhibited were China-based and 40 percent were international brands. The Shanghai show focuses on the high-end contemporary market, while the larger Beijing show caters to a broader audience.

ENK is aiming to expand the scope of buyers attending Mode Shanghai from the Greater Asia region. “Shanghai is such a fashion capital and we want buyers from the entire region coming here and will be reaching out to Hong Kong, Taipei, Manila, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore and even Jakarta,” said Nastos.

The next edition of Mode Shanghai is scheduled for March 12 to 14 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, concurrent with Shanghai Fashion Week. The ENKUSA@CHIC show in Beijing will follow on March 26 to 29.

ENK International, which is owned by Forstmann Little & Co., operates 25 trade shows a year, including Fashion Coterie, ENK Vegas, ENK NYC, Accessorie Circuit, Intermezzo Collections, Children’s Club, ENK WSA, Sole Commerce and TMRW.