To extend its reach into the mainland market, Messe Frankfurt will follow up its Hong Kong show with an encore performance in Shanghai. Intertextile Shanghai, to be held from October 9 to 11, is in two sections - one for apparel fabrics, the other for home textiles. Messe Frankfurt introduced the event in 1995 as a platform for apparel fabric, home textile and accessories manufacturers to tap into the potential of the China market. Exhibitor and visitor numbers have grown substantially over the years. Last year, 682 exhibitors and more than 30,000 buyers attended Intertextile Shanghai 2001. 'China's position as the world's leading consumer of textile products remains unchallenged,' says Katy Lam, general manager trade fairs at Messe Frankfurt (HK). 'Its economic growth is surging while many other economies remain sluggish against a background of global uncertainty. In fact, since entering the World Trade Organisation last December, China has moved into fourth position as a global trading nation. Real GDP grew by 7.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2002, while urban per capita income rose by 16.2 per cent over the same period. Both indicators confirm the seemingly unlimited potential of the Chinese marketplace.' The aim of Intertextile Shanghai is to aid foreign companies that want a piece of the action in China, Ms Lam says. Over the past eight years the exhibition has become a fixture in the textile industry calendar for apparel fabric and home textile manufacturers and buyers looking to expand business in China. Of special interest this year will be the home textiles and accessories section, accounting for 23,000 square metres of exhibition space over two halls of the Shanghai New International Expo Centre in Pudong. 'As China's economy continues to grow, opportunities increase for foreign home textile manufacturers to meet the demand for quality home textile products,' Ms Lam says. 'At the same time, reform in China's textile industry has encouraged companies to dump old machinery and import new technology using interest-free loans from the government. With high productivity and a focus on developing products according to market trends, Chinese products have become more competitive, in price, quality and design.' The 2008 Olympics in Beijing will increase demand for quality home textiles in two areas, Ms Lam says. On the commercial front, hotels are being built and existing ones are being refurbished, while the demand for home furnishings will grow as increased personal wealth and spending power transform into an enhanced quality of life. Exhibitors such as Antonio Carlos Orpheu, of Casalegno Tendaggi (Italy), agree. 'We are getting a feel for the marketplace here,' he says. 'It seems that as people in China become wealthier, they are willing to spend on quality home textiles. First they look to better quality apparel, then home textiles.' More than 170 home textile and accessories manufacturers from 13 countries and regions attended Intertextile Shanghai last year, including national or group pavilions from France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan and Taiwan. They will return this year with the addition of a Spanish pavilion. To date, 250 textile manufacturers have indicated their participation at Intertextile Shanghai 2002, a 40 per cent increase on last year. In the apparel fabric section, there are 736 confirmed exhibitors so far, an increase of 46 per cent. Chinese home textile associations have organised pavilions to highlight the diverse range of home textile products and accessories available in China. Visitors can view furniture and curtain fabrics from the city of Yuhang, decorative fabrics from Haining, Guangdong, Shanghai and Zhejiang, and bedding products presented by the China Home Textiles Association. The apparel fabrics and accessories segment is also generating wide interest, locally and abroad. Italy accounts for almost one-third of overseas exhibitors, with 94 companies represented. South Korea and Taiwan are each bringing about 50 companies, while Hong Kong, Japan and France have more than 20 participants each. There will also be exhibitors from Australia, Austria, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Britain and the United States. Just over 50 per cent of the apparel fabric exhibitors are from the mainland, including some from Zhejiang, the leading producer and exporter of silk fabrics. Intertextile Shanghai is organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK Ltd), the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the China Textile Information Centre, and the China Home-textiles Association.