ITMA Asia + CITME 2012
Was the latest exhibition a true ITMA or a local show?
Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor
Textile World Asia spoke to many important machinery suppliers to learn their impressions of the show. One thing is for sure: according to these exhibitors, it was a regional exhibition rather than a true international event.
Cooperations And Acquisitions
Some important cooperations and acquisitions were announced at the show. Toyota Industries Corp., Japan, and Trützschler GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, announced a cooperation for the development, manufacture and marketing of combing machines. The other remarkable news is the acquisition of A. Monforts Textilmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, by Fong's Industries Co. Ltd., Hong Kong, a subsidiary of China Hi-Tech Group Corp. (CHTC).
ITMA Asia + CITME returned to the Shanghai New International Expo Centre for its 2012 edition
Answers to the question, "Are you happy with this ITMA Asia?" ranged from "quite satisfied" to "very happy." Most visitors came from Mainland China — some exhibitors estimated more than 80 percent. India took second place, followed by Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia. Visitors also came from Japan, Vietnam, Turkey, Brazil and former Soviet Union countries. Nearly all interviewed exhibitors presented new machinery for the first time in Asia, and reported very positive feedback to these exhibits. Energy, water and air usage reductions were the big issue. Every European supplier is producing more and more machinery focused on sustainability.
Was there any difference between this ITMA Asia and the last one? "Oh yes," said Erwin Devloo, marketing communications manager, Picanol NV, Belgium. "This time, we had to contact different people for everything, which complicates handling of the event drastically. And everything is extremely expensive."
Jürg Kundert, corporate communications, Itema (Switzerland) Ltd. (Itema Weaving), confirmed these facts and noted, "The funny thing is, we have to pay cash for everything."
A big problem was the air conditioning. In the afternoon, the heat and humidity in the halls increased dramatically. "The air-conditioning did not work properly, and there were way too many people to talk to if something was needed during the preparation for the show," said Klaus A. Heinrichs, vice president, marketing, Monforts. An old problem is the hall layout. There were no letters on the ceilings to facilitate finding specific exhibitors in particular aisles.
On the positive side, André Wissenberg, vice president of marketing & corporate communications for now-Shanghai-based Oerlikon Textile, mentioned "less people, more quality. That's the trend, which we also saw at ITMA Barcelona 2011."
Verena Thies, managing director, Thies GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, said: "The 2010 show was very bad for the exhibitors of finishing machines. This time, it was much better in many respects."
Picanol filed an intellectual property infringement complaint against another ITMA Asia + CITME exhibitor, charging that the weaving machine was a copy of a Picanol model.
The biggest problem is still intellectual property infringement. For example, just opposite the Picanol booth, a copy of a Picanol weaving machine with even the same color was shown. After protests from Picanol, the show organizers covered the copy. However, soon afterward, the Chinese exhibitor took away the cover and wrote on the machine, in Chinese: "Picanol says this is a copy of their machine. Have a look and check if this is right."
China is changing from being a pure export market to a more domestic market. Buyers are more aware of quality products because the level of products for the domestic market is steadily increasing.
A big issue is sustainability and environmentally friendly processing. Energy and water savings as well as labor costs will be topics for years to come. One Chinese official said Chinese labor costs have increased 20 percent in each of the last five years.
Is the somewhat shaky economic situation distorting business? "At the end of 2011, we had a little slowdown," said Birte Kleefisch, senior manager of corporate communications, Groz-Beckert KG, Germany. "For 2012, we think the markets will remain steady at this level."
"Some projects have been postponed," said Reine Wasner, head of marketing & business development, Uster.
"In spite of all rumors about China, there is a possibility to sell," said Hermann Selker, head of marketing, Trützschler. "There is still some particular interest. The outcome of the event was better than expected. We signed a considerable number of contracts."
Asia For Big Volumes
Regarding growth opportunities, the Asian market is more important than the European market. For Oerlikon Textile and Switzerland-based Rieter Machine Works Ltd., China and India are the most important Asian markets. China, Turkey, India and Brazil deliver the largest order volume. South Korea, Indonesia, the United States, Pakistan and Bangladesh are also important markets. However, China is most important.
"China is still a huge market, but it also depends on China's future development and its five-year plan and other incentives as well as increasing domestic wealth and consumption," said Wissenberg.
Edda Walraf, head of technology & marketing, Rieter, added: "It is important because China offers growth opportunities."
The Chinese market is slowing somewhat on a high level. Carlo Rogora, CEO, Itema Weaving, and Devloo did not see any stimulation from the Chinese National Bank's recent interest rate reduction. If the importance of the Chinese market will further increase, it depends on Europe, both said.
And Chinese customers want more and more sophisticated machinery. Especially for Monforts, under its new ownership, the Chinese market is vital. "This new ownership will help us get more market share, and have more presence with the new facilities in China," said Heinrichs.
What about India? "India is very quiet at the moment," said Selker. "There are not many projects in the pipeline. However, the Indian government's investment program was extended, so there is some hope."
The development of ITMA Asia + CITME toward a domestic event was hardly to be overlooked. Walking through the halls, one had the impression of being at ShanghaiTex. And, for the first time in the existence of any ITMA, one company, CHTC, occupied one full hall alone. In contrast to ITMA rules that every industry sector must be grouped in separate halls, CHTC assembled all its companies in hall W1. While official statements mentioned, "The five-day show is owned by CEMATEX [the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers], together with its Chinese partners," the reality was a different picture. Many European exhibitors expressed annoyance with the idea of the future ITMA Asia as an international event. It seems that CEMATEX, owner of the ITMA brand, has completely lost the lead in this event.
Forgotten Targets Of ITMA
In 2001, ITMA Asia was created to underline the growing importance of the Asian markets and reduce the number of exhibitions in the Far East — namely, OTEMAS, CITME and ShanghaiTex. The idea was to run an ITMA every four years each in Europe and in Asia, alternating every two years between locations, but now there is an ITMA Asia every two years, and ShanghaiTex still exists. Most European exhibitors argued that ITMA Asia is not an international exhibition anymore, but just another, of course important, Chinese show, and CEMATEX should organize ITMA Asia in other countries, too — maybe back in Singapore, or Hong Kong. But how? One possibility could be to organize a ShanghaiTex every year to combine interest in the Chinese market in general with locally produced machinery from European suppliers.
In spite of all these comments, CEMATEX announced that "the collaboration will continue for the next two editions." The next ITMA Asia + CITME will take place June 16-20, 2014, in Shanghai.
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