Slowing economic growth in China, combined with rising labor and material costs, has so far not had a major impact on trade fairs in the region, according to organizers of textile and apparel sourcing fairs in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
Wendy Wen, a senior general manager with Messe Frankfurt Ltd. in Hong Kong, which organizes a number of trade fairs, including the biannual Intertextile Shanghai, the spring fair is becoming more focused on the domestic market, while its fall show still has an international focus.
Richard Hobbs, organizer of The Hub trade fair in Hong Kong, said, “Premium, rather than luxury, has massive amounts of growth potential. Brands that have a more accessible price point and appeal to a younger consumer base looking for innovation and interesting products still have growth opportunities.”
An ongoing trend is the shift to Shanghai. Hobbs said The Hub is looking at options to move the fair, scheduled for August in Hong Kong, to Shanghai. Trade fair organizers are also now making a concerted effort to hold shows concurrently with other events. For example, this spring Intertextile was held at the same time as three other fairs, including the China International Fashion Fair.
Bigger changes could be coming for China’s trade fair industry over the next decade. In April, senior government officials revealed plans to increase competition in the domestic trade fair industry by reducing the number of state-funded exhibitions while encouraging private organizers to fill in the gap.
In Japan, an increase in the number of international travelers to the country is seen to have helped boost the economy in general and the trade show sector.
One fair that has benefited from this change is Fashion World Tokyo, most recently held in early April. That event drew 16,023 visitors and 381 exhibitors. About one-third of the exhibiting brands and companies were from outside Japan, and the overall scale of the show increased about 60 percent compared with the previous edition.
The next Fashion World Tokyo will take place Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. In addition to its usual apparel, shoes, handbag and jewelry sections, there will be two new zones: one dedicated to textiles and another to manufacturing and sourcing.
But one fair that has seen a drop in the number of international attendees is PR01 Trade Show Tokyo. The March edition included 75 brands and attracted 3,500 visitors, of which only about 70 were from outside Japan, according to organizer Tomonori Matsui.