Interview with Karen Lee on expectations for Interzum Guangzhou 2016
In an interview of with Timber Design and Technology magazine to Ms. Karen Lee, General Manager South China of Koelnmesse Co., Ltd., talks about the trade fair for suppliers of the furniture industry, CIFM / interzum Guangzhou 2016.
01. In retrospect, what were the major achievements of the last edition of Interzum Guangzhou?
interzum guangzhou 2015 saw the addition of Hall 12.1, boosting the total trade floor area of 130,000sqm in 2014 to 140,000sqm, to become the largest scale in the event’s history. In addition, it was the first time that exhibitor numbers exceeded 1,200. The 2015 edition featured 1,269 companies from 35 countries and regions. In terms of visitors, we received 67,270 people – another record-breaker.
02. How is the next edition positioned? What are the main objectives?
interzum guangzhou has always been committed to providing a quality “one-stop” trading platform for all the manufacturers and buyers within the industry. In 2016, the event will focus more on “design” and “effectiveness”.
As a professional trade fair organizer, we have conducted extensive surveys on exhibitors and international visitors in both 2014 and 2015, and after taking into account all factors of the industry and feedback from exhibitors, we have decided to adjust the event days back from five to the original four days starting from 2016. We believe that the adjustment will be more in line with the participation habits of international exhibitors, provide convenience for buyers with more concentrated sourcing and reduce participation cost for exhibitors, with the aim of building a more robust trading platform.
We also hope to achieve higher efficiency and effectiveness between exhibitors and visitors by shortening the number of trade days.
03. Are there any new events such as awards, seminars and workshops at the next edition?
Official forums revolving around the history and trends of furniture surface materials will be held during interzum guangzhou 2016. Exhibitors will be invited to share their knowledge on the application of a variety of furniture surfaces and auxiliary materials, as well as their latest technological achievements, allowing visitors access to the latest industry information while procuring their products.
Comparing with its parent event, interzum, interzum guangzhou indeed has less fringe activities. It is due to the positioning of the event. interzum guangzhou emphasizes strongly on being an effective trading platform for participants. In the future, with the development of the show, I believe that activities similar to the “interzum Award” will appear at interzum guangzhou.
04. How does Interzum Guangzhou aim to be different from other industry trade fairs?
Due to the venue and positioning of the event, interzum guangzhou is destined to be different from the other similar exhibitions in China.
Since the show’s inception, we have been aiming to create an efficient and effective “one-stop” trading platform and for it to serve as a hub for the latest products and technologies for furniture production. At present, China occupies a pivotal position in the global furniture manufacturing industry, and Guangdong is also China’s leading furniture production base. Through the trade fair, we hope to establish a platform for international brands to enter China, and on top of that, using this same platform for high quality domestic enterprises to reach out to the world.
For exhibitors and visitors, the exhibition itself is always the most important: Which big brands will be participating in the event this year? Who are the new exhibitors? What new products and technologies will be released at the show? These are the main concerns of everyone. So, we have been working hard all these years to attract more high-quality brands from abroad, for them to showcase the industry’s latest products and technology in China, and also sparing no efforts in promoting and attracting more international visitors here, to purchase quality products from China.
With the development of the event, interzum guangzhou now enjoys substantial influence within the industry, and has won a number of “Asia’s firsts”. interzum guangzhou will celebrate its 13th birthday in 2016, but relative to the parent event interzum, as well as numerous other trade fairs organized by Koelnmesse in Germany, 13 years is merely the beginning of an international event. interzum guangzhou still has a very long way to go.
05. What does Interzum Guangzhou specifically offer to the timber and related industries?
A dedicated wood and interior design feature zone at one of the international exhibits halls – Hall 15.1 – has been established and will feature several wood promotion bodies from abroad, including the American Hardwood Export Council, Canada Wood, ProChile and French Timber. Besides the strong support of the associations, interzum guangzhou 2016 has also attracted the participation of wood manufacturers from forest-rich nations, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Uruguay, Brazil, Finland and Sweden. In the promotional aspect, an issue of our electronic event newsletter focusing on the wood industry will provide an introduction and relevant developments of the wood exhibitors in this year’s event.
06. How many visitors and exhibitors are likely to be there at the next edition? What percentage of them are repeat exhibitors and how many of them are new?
The total number of exhibitors for the next edition is expected to remain at between 1,200 and 1,300 companies, with more than 80% of them being returning exhibitors. As show days in 2016 will be shortened by a day compared with the last edition, we expect the number of visitors to be similar with 2015, at about 67,000 people.
07. Who are some of the new exhibitors making their debut at the next edition?
Some of the exhibitors at the international halls making their first appearance are:
Ferwood, Beckhoff Automation and Nederman (Woodworking Machinery category); Alfa, Simalfa, GTA, Comfytex, Kisbu, Lalan Eco-Latex and Mitsan Makina (Upholstery Material category); Pytha, Virgo and Durian (Interior Decor category); Onkar, Servetto, Verov and Decro (Hardware category); and Matilda Veneer, Termopal and Verinlegno (Wood & Adhesives category).
08. Do you have an idea of the volume of business that might be conducted at Interzum Guangzhou 2016?
interzum guangzhou is a satellite event of the renowned interzum from Germany, and is similar to European trade fairs in terms of the concept and management. The most important feature of European trade fairs is that the show focuses more on design concepts, providing the latest information and inspirations for the participants, for insiders to experience, feel and promote exchange. This exhibition concept is extended to interzum guangzhou when the show came to China. Therefore, comparing with trade fairs that stress on trade volume, such as Canton Fair, interzum guangzhou pays more attention to the participation experience of exhibitors and visitors, as well as the follow-up communication between buyers and sellers after the show, which is what we mean by “effectiveness”. This is also the main reason why interzum managed to successfully extend its footprint from Germany to Singapore and to Guangzhou, to achieve sustainable development and a long-term high reputation within the industry.
09. What – in your opinion – are the major trends for the timber industry at the moment?
In April this year, China has implemented a new forest policy, which puts the commercial logging of natural forests within key state-owned forests to a complete stop. This move will be gradually introduced across the entire country in the next few years, including all natural forests owned by the State. As a result, China’s demand for imported timber is bound to increase following the logging ban, and this growth is expected to begin to show in 2016 – 2017.
In addition, China is in the peak of its economic development, especially in the second, third and fourth-tier cities, pushing up the demand for wood, coupled with the recently announced “two-child policy” that is poised to greatly stimulate the real estate market of first-tier cities. Therefore, the domestic demand for wood, as an important raw material for furniture and flooring, is believed to still see an upward growth trend. I am confident about the future of the timber industry.
Information & images by courtesy of CIFM / Interzum Guangzhou
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