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The Rupp Report: ITMA Asia + CITME 2008 - What ITMA?

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

The third ITMA Asia is over. It took place in Shanghai July 27-31 and was the first event held in China under the ITMA — European Textile Machinery Manufacturers Association (CEMATEX) — flag, which includes the eight most important supplier countries in Europe.

Ups And Downs?
The first two days, the show was quite crowded, with some 25,000 visitors, according to the organizers. The third day was just okay, but the last two days, very few people attended. In spite of show regulations, right after lunch on the last day, most of the Chinese exhibitors started dismantling their booths. Coming back to the Textile World booth at around 2 p.m., and without advance notice, our staff found the booth “clean” and empty.

If one didn’t know that it was ITMA Asia, one could imagine they were at an ordinary local Chinese show. There were so many Chinese exhibitors that it was hard to realize this was an ITMA Asia. Strange enough, next to every well-known European or outside-China brand, a local Chinese exhibitor presented its machinery, which sometimes had a very familiar look compared to the existing models from abroad.

Copying And Counterfeiting?
In a recent Rupp Report, I mentioned that the organizers of ITMA Asia + CITME 2008 had declared they would take serious action against copying and counterfeiting, and that any offender would risk expulsion from the show, as the show organizers announced stringent new measures to enforce intellectual property rights. This issue was extremely hot among the European manufacturers, but we’ve heard only from one case, in which the Chinese exhibitor was forced to cover the clone. On top of that, rarely were more people seen in an exhibition with more cameras and even professional video equipment.

Devaluing The ITMA Brand?
In an exclusive survey during the last two days, Textile World asked exhibitors for their opinions and impression about the first ITMA Asia + CITME 2008. It is widely agreed that in Singapore, the organizers of ITMA Asia did a perfect job. However, most of the interviewed people mentioned that this event was ok as a local Chinese show, but never reached the level of an ITMA. One person even said that with this kind of event, CEMATEX is devaluing its own brand of ITMA in a bad way.

The Right Place?
So, therefore, mixed emotions were expressed when asked the question where should the next ITMA Asia be located. From a market point of view, it was quite clear that Shanghai would be the right place. However, the organization and the provided services were considered to be questionable in most cases, and the prices sometimes were double that of similar services in Europe. And the biggest issue was the availability of visas. Many countries, i.e. customers, were not able to enter China to participate in the show. With these difficulties, many said, “ITMA Asia should ‘go home’ to Singapore.”

The Wrong Frequency?
Having mixed emotions about the right location for ITMA Asia, all interviewed people argued very strongly that a two-year cycle for ITMA Asia is completely the wrong decision. Wherever ITMA Asia may be, nobody is willing or can afford to spend the time and money to attend an ITMA Asia every two years — in which case, in 2010, ITMA Asia will be one year prior to ITMA Europe. It was also said that the Chinese will probably organize an exhibition in 2010 anyway — with or without CEMATEX.

But one thing seems sure: As some CEMATEX officials confirmed, nothing is signed yet, in spite of the announcement — in Chinese — outside the halls to invite visitors to the 2010 event. I see the following scenario: Whatever will happen, the location for the next ITMA Asia is Beijing. The excuse, sorry the reason, for not going to Shanghai is obvious: In 2010 there is a World Exhibition in Shanghai from May to October. And there are only 7 official exhibitions in Shanghai every year. With this, no one loses face.

The full report on ITMA Asia + CITME 2008 will be published in upcoming issues. By the way, the next events are at your doorsteps: India ITME in Bangalore and CINTE Techtextil in Shanghai.

You are invited to share your opinion with us. Send your comments to jrupp@textileworld.com, whether you agree or not.

August 5, 2008