or the first time, an exhibition under the ITMA label was organized in China. ITMA Asia +
CITME 2008 took place recently in Shanghai at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC).
The fair leaves mixed emotions: On one hand, Shanghai is the ideal location for a textile machinery
show with China as the main target. However, many participants raised concerns that the
organization and safety regulations hadn’t reached the level of a traditional ITMA. Where and when
the next ITMA Asia will take place is not yet confirmed.
According to the show’s organizers – Beijing Textile Machinery International Exhibition Co.
Ltd., with co-organizer Singapore-based MP International Pte. Ltd. – 1,368 exhibitors from 30
countries filled the entire 126,500 square meters (m2) in the 11 halls of SNIEC, occupying a net
space of 73,000 m2. Of course, most exhibitors came from China, followed by Italy, Germany, China
Taiwan and Japan. China covered 33,000 m2; Germany, 10,000 m2; Italy, 7,200 m2; Japan, 3,300 m2;
and Switzerland, 2,500 m2.
Approximately 25,000 visitors were present the first two days of the show. The official
total number of 80,000 visitors from 96 countries was questioned by some. According to the official
figures, 20 percent of the visitors were foreigners, coming from 96 countries.
The Bund, located in Shanghai’s Huangpu district, sits on the bank of the Huangpu
Many press conferences and informational meetings took place during the show. Fong’s
Industries Co. Ltd., Hong Kong, presented a study about water and energy consumption during dyeing.
Textile World Asia will revisit this subject in a future issue. Switzerland-based Uster
Technologies AG celebrated the 60th birthday of its evenness testing with a big cake and a
On April 17, 2008, the China National Textile & Apparel Council (CNTAC) joined the
Switzerland-based International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) as a new member
association. This membership is very important for both organizations – CNTAC represents the
largest textile-producing country in the world and will be a large contributor to ITMF.
But how was the show really? During its final two days,
interviewed globally active exhibitors to get their opinions. Most of the interviewed
exhibitors were at the first and second ITMA Asias in Singapore and were able to compare the
events. Some enterprises, such as Itema Weaving, Oerlikon Textile and Jakob Müller AG, exhibited
new machinery that was shown at a fair in Asia for the first time.
International Textile Machinery Federation (ITMF) President Walter Simeoni hands over the
Certificate of Membership in the Federation to Du Yu Zhou, president of China National Textile
& Apparel Council (CNTAC).
In Search Of New Applications
Fritz Legler, vice president and director of marketing, Switzerland-based Itema Weaving
(Sultex Ltd.), gave his opinion that many traditional weavers now are more interested in technical
textiles too, and to be more precise, interested in widths up to 650 centimeters (cm). Dr. Carsten
Voigtländer, CEO, Germany-based Oerlikon Textile GmbH & Co. KG, as well as Laurent Jallat,
marketing manager, France-based Rieter Perfojet S.a.s., also shared this opinion. Jallat explained
that Rieter Perfojet’s customers could pay in renminbi now, which is a big advantage for Chinese
customers. However, Bill Fong, executive director, Fong’s Industries, and Erwin Devloo, marketing
communications manager, Belgium-based Picanol NV, thought that the demand for classical or
technical textiles is somewhat balanced at 50:50. As for Stefan Sulzmaier, manager, Fibre
Auxiliaries, Germany-based Zschimmer & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG, the new Registration,
Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances (REACH) regulation of the European
Union, was a great topic. This new law is now of great importance for the chemical industry. Gérald
Alligros, head of marketing, France-based RITM, said he was pleased that his company as first-time
exhibitor had so many visits from customers asking for concrete products that were mainly in the
technical sector. Heiner Eberli, head of marketing, Spun Yarn Systems, Switzerland-based Rieter
Ltd., said that enquiries for Rieter products were well-balanced through all stages of
Left to right: Mr. Franco Cutropia, ISTMA president; together with Mr. Miro Radici, Itema
Group CEO; Mr. Riccardo Sessa, Italian ambassador in China; and Mr. Wang Chi Zhong, Jining City
deputy mayor, at the opening ceremony for Shandong ISTMA Textile Machinery Co., Ltd.
Organization And Visitor Frequency
The question about the show’s organization partly led to hot discussions. The comments
ranged from “very well, thanks to a local booth builder” to “impossible.” Everyone interviewed
agreed that the organization was OK for a local Chinese fair, but never reached the level of an
ITMA standard. The location was mentioned as a positive, but also here, no signage was hung at the
ceiling level, and it was very difficult without a detailed plan to find a particular booth.
The question about the number of visitors received different remarks. For the first two
days, the number of visits was rather good. Japan-based Tsudakoma Corp., a traditional market
leader for water-jet weaving machines, had very good visitor frequency, according to T. Hayashi,
global assistant manager, sales and marketing department, Textile Machinery. He also had concerns
regarding possible intellectual property infringements in some of the machines on the display
As per intermediate results from the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers
(CEMATEX), 25,000 visitors were present the first two days. The third day also was judged to be
satisfactory, but the last two days were already quite disappointing. The interviewed executives
stated that most visitors came from China, followed by India, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Certain
exhibitors also recorded visits from Iran, South Korea and Brazil. Strongly argued was the problem
with accreditation; some countries were not able to send any visitors because visas were refused.
The visitor frequency was nevertheless higher than expected for most exhibitors. Alligros
thought many previous and new customers from China came to RITM’s booth. This primarily depends on
how actively one takes care of the invitations or visitors prior to the fair. The general visitor
frequency predominantly was described as average to good if one looked at the whole duration of the
fair. One exception came from Sulzmaier, who described the visitor frequency at Zschimmer &
Schwarz’s booth as very good. Eberli thought that the visitor frequency at Rieter’s booth was very
good with foreign guests, too. The quality of the visitors was generally judged to be very good;
therefore only true experts were welcomed.
The international aspect of the visitors attending the fair was evaluated as poor by many
interviewed, and from an economic point of view, few were completely satisfied with this fair. The
forthcoming Olympic Games were described to be a negative factor for the exhibition because many
visitors did not receive a visa.
Of course, the question also had to come whether the next ITMA Asia should take place in
China or Shanghai again. The opinions on this question were exactly 50:50. There is no better
location than Shanghai, everybody agreed. All of the interviewed people were also twice in
Singapore, so they could compare the previous shows with this one, and the verdict was clear:
referring to organization and internationality, Singapore is the right choice. Hong Kong and
Bangkok were also mentioned as alternative locations, but this will probably never happen. The
questionable safety regulations and the issue of product piracy were also of concern. Rarely at an
international exhibition could more picture-taking people and professional video equipment be seen.
Some even mentioned that this freedom was worse than at an average Chinese exhibition.
Having mixed emotions about the right location for ITMA Asia, most interviewed people argued
very strongly that a two-year cycle for ITMA Asia is the wrong decision. Wherever ITMA Asia may be,
few expressed willingness, or could afford, to spend time and money to attend an ITMA Asia every
two years. An ITMA Asia in 2010 will be one year prior to ITMA in Europe. It was also mentioned
that the Chinese might organize an exhibition regardless in 2010 – with or without CEMATEX.
The current market situation was predominantly described as poor- some even mentioned very
poor. For Fong, this was not a surprise. He thought, unlike some other people, that the bottom
level has not yet been reached. Consolidation continues, and many enterprises will not survive.
Among other reasons, raw material prices, energy expenditures and the currency situation contribute
to a bad situation on the textile world market. The circumstances are different for nonwovens and
technical textiles machinery. As Jallat mentioned, Rieter Perfojet is still quite busy, except in
the United States and also Japan. Rüdiger Weinhardt, deputy director, sales and marketing,
Germany-based Fleissner GmbH, confirmed that the US market shows weaknesses. Money is available,
but few want to spend it. China has not quite come to a standstill, but rather goes in the
direction of better products. Legler underlined this fact as he confirmed Itema sells more weaving
machines for technical textiles applications than for traditional end-uses, a fact that was also
confirmed by Voigtländer.
Jallat (left) and Legler
Generally, the situation was considered to be rather tough, and it is thought that an
improvement will happen at the earliest in mid-2009, or even at the beginning of 2010. Some
interviewees thought the bottom has been reached. Sulzmaier did not complain. On the contrary, his
company is facing a good time with its four product groups, and the delivery time is up to 10 weeks
in both traditional and technical applications. However, the prices could be better, he said,
because the raw material expenditures are very high and the margins are shrinking. Alligros, as the
representative of a smaller company, thinks his company is in a good position with the size of the
company and can react to the situation more flexibly than a big company. This was confirmed by
Jallat, who mentioned that the spunlace sector developed in the direction so that the weight of the
nonwovens has shrunk up to 30 percent because the weight per square meter has been reduced from 60
grams per square meter (g/m2) to 40 g/m2 – the material is nevertheless more voluminous. But, as he
mentioned, the bottom line has now hit, and physics will not allow a further weight reduction.
Eduard Strebel, manager, marketing services, Switzerland-based Jakob Müller AG, confirmed that the
textile industry is used to facing ups and downs, and the industry has been able every time to
recover after a certain period of time. However, this time all negative facts come together at
Strebel (left) and Sulzmaier
The Near Future
It seems the bottom has been hit, but still not for everyone. Everybody is working hard to
master the situation without big problems if possible. At the moment, quality is in the foreground
of the efforts of all enterprises. The next important shows are already waiting to be visited.
Except for Zschimmer & Schwarz, every interviewed company also is an exhibitor at India ITME,
which takes place in Bangalore in November
ITME Moves To Bangalore,”
TW Asia, this issue).
No doubt, over the coming years, China will still play an important role in the global
textile business, if not the most important one. As long as the Indians cannot solve their
problems, or do not use their language advantages, for example, they hardly will be prepared to
challenge China, and, last but not least, because the domestic market in China is still growing.
Only if India gets its infrastructure under control, can it seriously put some pressure on China.
But China is still the most important market, and this will remain so in the future.
However, India is a promising marketplace, and therefore it is not surprising that India was
considered by all people to be in second place in terms of market importance, which is already the
case. As further Asian competitors that could play a more important role in the future, Vietnam,
Indonesia, Bangladesh, and also South Korea and Japan were mentioned.
also wanted to know which moments were particularly happy during the fair for the interviewed
people. Everyone happily remarked the team spirit and the guts to work even harder in difficult
times at the exhibition. Just as pleasant was the fact that the products are right and are the
confirmation of being on the right track, which results in a successful show in Shanghai, in spite
of all the mentioned problems.
He who asks about happy moments should not fear to ask about the negative moments. Logistics
or questions about organization were mostly mentioned. Nevertheless, everyone should further
cooperate to improve the situation for the next fair in China and serve the industry.
But one thing seems to be sure: As some CEMATEX officials confirmed, nothing is signed yet,
despite the announcement in Chinese outside the halls to welcome the visitors for the 2010 event.
One might consider the following scenario: Whatever will happen, the location for the next ITMA
Asia is Beijing. The reason for not going to Shanghai might be obvious: In 2010, there is a World
Exhibition in Shanghai from May to October. And there are only seven official exhibitions in
Shanghai every year. This may change everything.
By the way, the next events are at your doorsteps: India ITME in Bangalore and Cinte
Techtextil China in Shanghai.