Furniture China attracts 85,000, organizers report
Furniture Today Staff -- Furniture Today, September 30, 2013
SHANGHAI - This month's Furniture China 2013 show here again set a record in the number of international exhibitors with 232 foreign brands, 18% more than the year before.
According to Wang Mingling, founder and director of show organizer UBM Sino-expo, a total of 3,000 exhibitors from China and 23 other countries and regions participated in this year's 19th annual show, held Sept. 11-15. The total exhibition space was about 7 million square feet.
This year's theme was Life style + Original Design.
According to the Shanghai show authority, the total number of visitors reached 85,313, 18.5% more than last year's show. Visitors from outside China numbered 21,131, including a North American conting ent of 1,634 from the U.S., 617 from Canada and 356 from Mexico, organizers said.
However, traffic appeared lighter to a number of show attendees. From a random survey of some 40 people at the show, both exhibitors and buyers, Chinese and foreign, Furniture/Today China learned that most had noticed the lighter traffic, but said business volume turned out to be OK, especially for larger companies or those with special features.
China's leading sofa brand, Kuka, saw increased business even though traffic was slightly lighter compared with last year, according to Shi Tingzhen, head of sales. "I would rate this year's show satisfaction as 90%," said Shi.
Kuka's best seller this year was a new product, Kuka Home 1875, a motion sofa that serves as a sofa and a bed. It also has an LED light and a stand for an iPad.
Kuka participates in two shows every September - the Dongguan show, which aims at domestic market, and the Shanghai show, which aims at the international market. The company also shows in High Point.
"We are in Shanghai to attract buyers from Asia Pacific and Europe," Shi said. "Most orders so far were placed by our old clients, yet we also had new clients in this show."
Zuoyou Sofa from Shenzhen also reported good sales in Shanghai, although Wu Han, head of Zuoyou domestic marketing, said traffic was lighter than last year.
"Our business was stable this year," Wu said, "Many old clients came to Shanghai to replenish stock. Our clients are mainly from the U.S., Australia and South Africa. I feel clients from U.S. are of better quality; they bought more."
Wu said international clients bargain hard and they expect cheaper prices every year.
"Despite higher costs due to more expensive labor, Zuoyou has not increased prices in the past three years," Wu said. "We have to improve management to absorb the cost increase."
Zuoyou Sofa has just signed Yang Lan as its brand ambassador, Wu said. Zuoyou now has 1,500 retail shops across China, with more than 20 in Shanghai alone. Sofas priced between RMB10,000 to 30,000 (US$1,600-$4,800) sold best in the domestic market.
Fermob, a 125-year-old chair source from France, has shown in Shanghai for four years and its executives said they were happy with this year's show.
Francois Depaix, head of export at Fermob, said the company wanted to find new partners in Asia, help its Shanghai partner promote the brand to architects and designers, and expand its business in China. "I'm optimistic all three goals are to be met," he said.
A buyer, Mr. Xie from Nanjing, came to the Shanghai show looking for office furniture and solid wood furniture. He hoped to find new designs but was not satisfied.
"Design wise, this show still is not yet up to my expectations," he told Furniture/Today China. "At the same time, we are looking at a manufacturer's financial strength."
An interior designer, Miss Chen, said, "This show was interesting to look at, but I have only really found four brands that I truly love. I feel there is a lack of really touching objects."
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