Dual events a magnet for global retail giants

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 12:00am

Autumn fairs will further enhance the reputation of mainland manufacturers to compete on an international stage

AT THE AUTUMN 2004 China Sourcing Fairs, which will open in Shanghai next week, buyers will view the latest gift and household products from manufacturers throughout the mainland.

The three-day exhibition - held in the impressive 37,000 square metre Shanghai Mart from October 25 to 27 - consists of two trade fairs running side by side: the Gifts & Home Products Fair and the DIY & Home Improvement Fair.

The Gifts & Home Products Fair will feature gifts, toys, stationery, party and holiday products, sporting goods, health and beauty products, kitchen and household appliances, and furniture and furnishings.

The DIY & Home Improvement Fair will showcase DIY, garden and outdoor products, lighting and electrical goods.

Organised by business-to-business media company Global Sources, the show is the second of the China Sourcing Fairs and will become a twice-annual event. The first event, held in April this year, featured 1,500 booths and drew an impressive 20,240 buyers from 137 countries.

Many buyers were representatives of top names in global retailing, including Fortune 500 firms such as Black & Decker and Kmart - testament to the growing standing of Chinese manufacturers on the international stage.

Visitors were largely pleased with what they saw. A survey conducted at the spring show found more than 80 per cent of buyers said the number of exhibitors either met or exceeded their expectations.

Most said they had found new suppliers to add to their global network - four out of five respondents said they had met five or more new contacts, while more than half said they had met 10 or more.

According to the survey, the fairs received an overwhelming thumbs-up from visitors. More than 90 per cent felt it was as good as or better than other trade shows they had visited.

A representative of Carrefour, the leading retailer in Europe and the second-largest in the world, said: 'By looking at this show I think we can find what we are looking for.'

A buyer from a New York-based company, said he felt it was 'a necessity' to visit the China Sourcing Fairs.

But buyers were not the only ones to leave the show in a positive mood. Exhibitors also voiced their enthusiasm. Anthony Chan, director of Hong Kong-based gift manufacturer Hankey Asia, expected to benefit greatly in long-term business after the event, which he said was 'an unbelievable success. A very good result'.

In addition to the buying and selling that forms the lifeblood of any trade show, the fairs will offer a full programme of conferences, covering key trends in sourcing products from China. The schedule includes seminars offering expert advice and market intelligence to assist new and experienced buyers.

One of the fair's most effective features is the Vendor Summit programme. A big success at the spring show, this scheme provides a forum for large-scale buyers to present their needs to groups of preselected exhibitors in a private setting. This allows both sides to make the maximum number of useful contacts in the shortest possible time.

Building on the success of the first fair, next week's show is expected to draw even more visitors, establishing the China Sourcing Fairs as an important date in the trade show calendar.

And there are already plans to take the rapidly growing fair even further.

Global Sources intends to expand with an additional fair in Hong Kong by spring 2006.