The 12th edition of CIFM / interzum guangzhou will take place next year and expectations are high for the show, which is set to run from March 28 – April 1, 2015 at the China Import and Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou. As Asia’s largest and most participated furniture production and woodworking machinery trade fair, CIFM / interzum guangzhou 2014 saw some 1,147 exhibitors sprawl across 130,000 square meters of trade floor. The international exhibitor halls featured 280 well-known overseas companies from 32 countries and regions, bringing with them the latest products, equipment and technologies to the buyers. Karen Lee, General Manager South China, Koelnmesse Co., Ltd believes the next edition will be the largest and best attended in its illustrious history. In an interview with Timber Design & Technology, Lee provides an overview of the show.
01. In retrospect, what were the major achievements of the 2014 edition?
The original four-day event has proven to be insufficient for trade visitors, and as such, after three years of research and coordination, CIFM / interzum Guangzhou 2014 has successfully extended to five days. On the one hand, this has provided more business opportunities for exhibitors, and on the other hand, it has also benefitted buyers with ample time to discover partners that meet their procurement needs. According to our figures and survey, both the length of stay and overall satisfaction of visitors have increased, so the event will continue to span five days in 2015.
02. How is the 2015 edition positioned?
Providing a quality ‘one-stop’ trading platform for all manufacturers and buyers in the various fields of the industry has always been the aim of CIFM / interzum guangzhou. We hope to further grow the position of CIFM / interzum guangzhou as a professional trade fair which both serves as the bellwether of the industry as well as offering trade practicality, for it to become the preferred platform for product launches and lead industry trends in the region. We also aim to be the event of choice for trade visitors to obtain the latest industry information, and promote trade exchange.
Our next edition will further improve on exhibit segmentation, so that different types of exhibits will be more clearly defined and concentrated, which will better categorize exhibitors showcasing similar products together and improve procurement efficiency. For example, the new Hall 12.1 will focus on showcasing machinery, materials and components for upholstery and bedding. In future, we will place more emphasis on the development of the interior design accessories product segment to become a major exhibit category at CIFM / interzum guangzhou.
03. What are the main objectives of the show?
As Asia’s premier woodworking machinery, furniture manufacturing and interior décor trade fair, the scale of CIFM / interzum guangzhou has remained at 130,000 square meters for years. With the growth of the domestic and Asian furniture manufacturing industry, the demand for the event from the woodworking machinery, furniture production and raw materials industry has been increasing every year, leading to a perpetual short supply of booth spaces at CIFM / interzum guangzhou in recent years.
To counter this issue, CIFM / interzum guangzhou 2015 will activate the last available hall, Hall 12.1, expanding the overall area from 130,000 to 140,000 square meters. Through the expansion, we hope to provide more opportunities to the industry to showcase the latest quality products and technologies, so that more premium international brands will be able to participate, and at the same time expose visitors to more exhibitors.
04. Are there any new events such as awards, seminars and workshops at the next edition?
There will be a decrease in the number of organizer hosted seminars in 2015 compared with previous years, as we wish to free up time slots for exhibitors to hold their own product launches, technical seminars and other activities.
05. How do you aim to differentiate the show from other industry trade fairs that cater to the furniture and timber sectors?
As one of the global satellite events of interzum in Cologne, Germany, the brand has enabled CIFM / interzum guangzhou to stand out from its competition since it was first introduced to China in 2004. In terms of influence, CIFM / interzum guangzhou aims to have a strong foothold in China, with influence extending to Asia and the rest of the world. Currently, it has become the industry’s most prestigious, and the flagship trade fair in Asia.
In terms of exhibition scale and scope of exhibits, the event in 2015 will be expanded to 140,000 square meters – the largest event of its kind in Asia. The exhibits of CIFM / interzum guangzhou cover the entire industry from raw and auxiliary materials for furniture production to woodworking machinery, upholstery machinery and other production and auxiliary machinery, as well as interior décor raw materials.
Lastly, when the trade fair was first established, we realized that ‘effectiveness’ is the key to a successful and lasting event, so regardless of its development, our plans have been focused on enhancing the results of exhibitors’ participation, bringing the latest international industry designs and trends to the event, and promoting the development of the industry. It is this combination of effectiveness and design concepts that has been attracting the continuous participation of our exhibitors and visitors. Needless to say, with the gradual expansion of the event, we are also improving the overall operations management and services to provide an experience of the highest quality for participating exhibitors and trade visitors, which is our core competitiveness.
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?
Next year, the number of exhibitors is expected to exceed 1,200, and among them more than 80 percent will be repeat exhibitors. We are also anticipating more than 62,000 visitors to procure at the event. As participation results have been significant, repeat exhibitors have consistently been taking part long-term, leading to many companies not being able to secure a booth space. Opening up Hall 12.1 will hopefully ease the situation to a certain extent, so that new exhibitors that have been waitlisted for years will have the opportunity to participate in CIFM / interzum guangzhou, whilst at the same time providing more choices for buyers.
07. Who are some of the new exhibitors making their debut at the show?
We will be seeing overseas companies, such as Fibromade, Hans Weber, Permo, Terao and Zimmer from countries, including Portugal, Germany, Italy, and Japan.
08. Do you have an idea of the volume of business that might be conducted at the show?
The interzum series is a brand trade fair with German origins and therefore, show concepts and management styles are close to European exhibition practices. The key difference between trade fairs in Europe and China is the stronger emphasis on introducing design concept into the event to provide the latest information, inspirations and experiences for the industry. Since interzum was imported into China, this concept has been reinforced, and as such, comparing with events like Canton Fair, which pursues trade volume, interzum pays more attention to the experience of exhibitors and visitors, as well as the effectiveness in exhibitor-buyer interaction. This is also the main reason why interzum is able to successfully extend its footprint from Germany to Singapore, Guangzhou and Moscow, develop sustainably and win high praises from the industry.
09. What – in your opinion – are the major trends for the furniture and interior design industry over the next year?
Demand in the upholstered furniture market is closely related to the real estate market, and emerging markets in the BRIC economies are becoming a new point of growth for the global upholstered furniture market with their accelerating urbanization in recent years, growing urban population and intensifying of urban home construction. In China, urbanization will bring about a huge development of the domestic upholstered furniture industry, which will in turn spur the growth of production machinery for upholstery at home and abroad. I believe the upholstered furniture segment will be a major highlight in the next year.
10. What role does Interzum Guangzhou play in the development of the furniture and interior design industries in China and wider Asia?
After over a decade of development, the furniture manufacturing trade in China has now become a pivotal industry. Nevertheless, there is still a gap in the level of furniture manufacturing compared with other countries. For China to make it out to the world, it is necessary to absorb foreign advanced technology and integrate with specific local conditions, establish a strong foundation in the domestic market and seek self-development to come up with new products with independent intellectual property rights, and continue to narrow the distance with the world’s developed countries.
Major international industry players have began participating in CIFM / interzum guangzhou since its inception in 2004, and have designated the event for new product releases annually in Asia. According to statistics, about 25 percent of the total number of exhibitors came from overseas in 2014, which brought with them the latest products and cutting-edge technology each year. For domestic enterprises, not only can they compete against numerous world-class brands at CIFM / interzum guangzhou, but the event also serves as an important window of opportunity to expand outside of China.
For foreign exhibitors, CIFM / interzum guangzhou is a vital spring board to enter China, and at the same time allows them to benefit from the event’s large pool of international buyers. On the other hand, foreign exhibitors bringing advanced technology, materials and designs to China, which in turns enables Chinese/Asian furniture manufacturers to upgrade their own production and compete on a different level with the international furniture industry. CIFM / interzum guangzhou is a quality business platform, which promotes mutual communication among brands in the industry, thus encouraging healthy competition among peers, and plays the role of enhancing the overall level of the industry.