The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), Roseville, Minn., organizer of IFAI Expo
Asia 2011, reports the inaugural edition of the expo surpassed its expectations, providing a new,
much-needed technical textiles forum for the Asia Pacific region. The combined trade exhibition and
educational symposiums — held in Singapore, the lion city, at the Marina Bay Sands Convention
Center, March 22-25 — covered the spectrum of the cutting-edge developments occurring in the
The event attracted more than 1,400 registered participants from 39 countries. Large buyer
delegations came from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Australia and Japan, as well as a
surprising number of visitors from North America, Africa, Middle East and Europe. The visitor
survey overwhelmingly showed that participants were looking for matchmaking
Exhibitors came from 18 countries and included the largest U.S. contingent ever to
participant in a technical textile show in the Asia Pacific region. IFAI Expo Asia 2011 was
supported by the Singapore Tourism Board and the U.S. Department of Commerce, and was awarded the
prestigious U.S. Trade Fair certification designation.
IFAI President Steve Warner acknowledged their contribution. “The work done by U.S.
Commercial Service offices and Singapore Tourism Board in bringing buyers to the show was
U.S. exhibitor Jeff Sponseller, executive vice president, sales, Miller Weldmaster Corp.,
agreed: “This show has taken a lot of our leads and quotes to that next level. I was impressed with
the diversity of the audience we’ve seen here from all over Asia. Also with the number and quality
of the people who came to our booth. These were qualified buyers. It exceeded my expectations.”
In addition to his IFAI leadership role, Peter McKernan was an exhibitor. His company,
Herculite Products Inc., is a producer of high-performance laminated and coated fabrics. He summed
up the new show saying, “I thought IFAI Expo Asia 2011 was the best first-time show we’ve ever
participated in. Attendance was good, the quality of the symposiums was extraordinary, and there
was a buzz about this that was unexpected. I’ve been to other international shows, but this one
really blew me away.”
Organized concurrently with the exhibition were state-of-the-industry technical symposiums
drawing large attendance. Under the leadership of Professor Roshan Shishoo, an international
advisory team comprised of the industry’s leading experts organized symposiums that included
applications for geosynthetics, nonwoven, automotive and e-textiles. All of the sessions were
designed to address emerging manufacturing opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.
The advisory members were: Henk Stijweg, BVZ, Thailand; Martin King, North Carolina State
University, United States; Samir Gupta, Business Co-ordination House, India; Junko Takai, Hivix,
Japan; Amie Wang, ACE Geosynthetics, Taiwan.
The event was all about making connections throughout the value chain. Companies exhibiting
were on many different levels within the Asia Pacific market. Some were at an entry level looking
for help in connecting with partners. Others had already been marketing within China, for example,
but wanted to expand in Southeast Asia. One visitor interviewed was part of a division that was new
to Asia, even though other divisions in the company had been there for years. Others were
introducing new products and looking for distributors.
They all had one goal in common — access to new buyers — and this show accomplished that.
The Industrial Fabrics Association International expects to announce the dates and location
of the next IFAI Expo Asia in the very near future. There is already keen interest and many
exhibitors have expressed their intention to exhibit again.
Says Herculite CEO McKernan, “I think that there will be more people from the States who will
want to be a part of it. There is a tremendous interest in the region in high-performance fabrics,
and it’s really important to be a part of that for our company, and for IFAI to be a part of that.
IFAI Expo Asia 2011 was well done all the way around. We will be coming back.”
Compiled from information provided by the Industrial Fabrics Association International and
April 12, 2011