CITExpo 2008 Focuses on Trade
Official figures now put attendance at this year’s CITExpo at 6860 visitors and 311 exhibitors. With at least three main tyre exhibitions operating in China, not to mention a tyre recycling and retreading fair, other related rubber conferences, and other exhibitions in the Far East T&A asked if there will be a kind of consolidation in the show sector, with the more provincial exhibitions ceasing to be international scale events. Wilko Fong, director of CITExpo organisers, Reliable Exhibitions, shied away from commenting on the relative success of other exhibitions. Instead he preferred to quantify CITExpo’s success on its own merits: “CITExpo is now a mature show and while it is still growing now, after 6 years future growth is likely to level off and mature. The show is likely to become a more regular established show for tyres.”
CITExpo has a character of its own. There may not have been a full complement of the top 10 Chinese tyre manufacturers present at the 2008 show, but large scale manufacturers such as Triangle and Sibur took very significant sized stands. Sibur’s reasoning for its involvement with CITExpo was particularly telling. Bearing in mind the fact that, at present, the large Russian manufacturer generally exports economy-orientated truck tyres, China (home to probably the largest manufacturing base for this level of products in the world) is unlikely to be the end destination the company was aiming to reach. In stead Sibur invested in exhibiting at CITExpo in order to meet European buyers sent east to procure next year’s stocks.
In addition to this clear trade-focused environment, as the following articles demonstrate, the show also provided an opportunity to source new previously unknown suppliers of key product lines.
While CITExpo’s buying community has been pretty straightforward in showing its dissatisfaction with the volume and scope of price increases some Chinese manufacturers implemented this year, for their part Chinese tyre makers are showing clear signs of upping the ante. Supply/demand, raw material and global economic issues may delay the impact these manufacturers have on the mature and western markets, but recent years have seen the Chinese products come on leaps and bounds in terms of quality and technology.
When you compare any of the three Chinese exhibitions Tyres & Accessories has covered this year it is clear that the abundance of giant OTR radials represents an unrealistically rapid advance in technology. Last year few manufacturers had this technology, now dozens supposedly do. In fact this is one area where only the best really are as good as they say they are and some companies claiming radial OTR technology, upon closer inspection are actually only offering bias tyres in the larger sizes.
Speaking to representatives of the trusted TUV Sud testing laboratories in Shanghai reveals that Chinese manufacturers (especially in the passenger car segment) are increasing their concentration on narrowing the gap with premium manufacturers. Some estimates put the technology gap at around five years, however the most advanced suppliers are working to surpass the latest ECE homologations and future-proof themselves from further developments.