As global business activities pick up towards the back end of the year, Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles – Autumn Edition 2023 closed its doors last week, ending a successful three days of trade at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai). From 16 – 18 August 2023, 1,034 exhibitors (up 38.1%) from 13 countries and regions crossed paths with over 32,000 visitors (up 59.2%) from 96 countries and regions, more than 10% of which were overseas buyers. In a further testament to this edition’s internationality, new exhibitor countries and regions represented were Indonesia, Portugal, Taiwan (China), Türkiye, and the US. With buyers able to source products covering the whole home textile value chain, and a fringe programme that transcended the norm, the international platform has once again marked its importance at bridging trade and communication within the industry and across sectors, circulating trade benefits to every edge of the globe.
As the country perhaps most well-known for its immense market and prolific manufacturing hubs, for the past several decades China has been a desirable business destination for international traders. In a positive step in March, the government relaxed pandemic control measures, enabling a return to cross-border, in-person business activities. This led to a strong increase of international exhibitors and buyers at the recently concluded fair, with visitors flying in from as far away as Africa, Europe, and South America. In addition, three country and region pavilions, from Belgium, Taiwan (China), and Türkiye, added some location-specific internationality to proceedings in Shanghai, and were well-received by fairgoers.
Speaking at the show’s curtain call, Ms Wilmet Shea, General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, said: “With China’s doors widely opened to the world again, we were pleased to welcome so many new and returning international participants to the fairground over the past three days. Across the four halls, not only was the visitor flow strong, but the booths were busy and business interactions were high. The increase in overseas exhibitors, and the return of several country and region pavilions, has meant even more diversified sourcing options for our devoted buyers from home and abroad. After overcoming some global turbulence, we have strengthened this bridge to help industry players reconnect, and redirect themselves towards the new, post-pandemic era.”
Cross-sector collaboration a key highlight of the fringe programme
Enhancing the constant buzz on the show floor, the fair’s concurrently held fringe events saw upstream and downstream suppliers, industry insiders, and even inter-industry guests share some pertinent insights and innovations. This year, a series of mixed events delved into topics related to interior design trends, sustainability, new technologies, globalised and localised designs, health and wellness, and many more. One highlight was the International Intertextile Trend Forum 2023 – 2024, which illustrated the most in-vogue home designs for the upcoming season. More specific inspiration was provided by leading Japanese furniture brand IKASAS, whose exclusive seminar and display area showcased fresh home textile applications for furniture. Finally, a cross-sector conference hosted by the CRECC Full Decoration Council invited experts from both the real estate and furnishing sectors to help attendees broaden their business possibilities.
“This is the first time we have returned to Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles since the pandemic started. It is important for us to be here, where the biggest distributors around the world come meet with the major producers. There seem to be more quality buyers compared to previous editions, with more interest in making deals. Our products are exported to 80 countries, but we are here to connect with one of the world’s biggest markets, and we now know how to better face our Chinese customers.”
Mr José Carlos Oliveira, CEO, Elastron Group, Portugal
“Meeting clients face to face in Shanghai shows our company’s strength and builds trust, which is fundamental to our business and why this fair is crucial for us. While our strongest market is the Middle East, our target market is now Asia. I feel like the potential in China is incomparable to anywhere else, and this fair is a must for connecting with that market. It’s a relatively new market for us, but exporting to China has been easier than expected.”
Mr Süleyman Altiok, Sales Manager, Aleran Tekstil, Türkiye
“This fair is one of the top home textile fairs in the world. This edition has matched our expectations, and we are planning to exhibit again next year. We joined the show to look for new clients post-pandemic. We have a lot of customers from the hospitality industry, and due to the resumption of global travel, our contract sales have grown by at least 20 – 30%. Eco-friendly, flame-retardant, and health-related products are popular among our customers.”
Mr Eric Lee, Managing Director, Maxland Home Textile Industrial Co Ltd, Taiwan (China)
“We have been exhibiting at Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles and Heimtextil for 10 years, even during the pandemic. We have benefited a lot, and we can connect with most of our customers at these platforms. 90% of our business is exports. This year, the overall result has been very good. We met with a lot of buyers from South America and the Middle East, as well as some from China. Our customers are increasingly demanding high-end products, and many of them are interested in our energy-saving and eco-friendly products as well.”
Mr John Wang, General Manager, Suzhou Roufang Textile Technology Co Ltd, China
“I am here looking for new trends and textiles, but my main two goals are to source backing and readymade blinds. I will also have a look at the Trend Forum. Trade fairs are very important for figuring out new trends, especially on different continents. Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles is, so far, more applicable to my market – I am impressed with the standards and contacts I’ve collected on the first day. The booths here are definitely more advanced than in Europe, and it is really inspiring to see.”
Ms Ana Zuravliova, Senior Buyer and Trend Specialist, Green & Brown Ltd, UK
“It is nice to be back at this fair and to see everything flourishing, the organisation and layout is very good. In the international hall 5.1, there are many good exhibitors and a lot of new designs. This fair is very important for keeping on top of trends, because manufacturers showcase technological advancements which we can integrate with our design process. This show is important for our contract industry to reconnect and recover from the pandemic, and with all the refurbishments next year, the timing is very good.”
Mr Hari Rao, Founder and CEO, Azurite Labs, USA
Fringe programme participants’ insights
“I feel the mood of the fair, from designers to visitors, captures the theme of this year’s trend forum, ‘ALIVE’. They are genuinely excited about the business interactions, communication, and relationship-building at this large-scale exhibition. I join the fair to meet old friends like Messe Frankfurt, and to get inspiration, with manufacturers from different countries presenting their best designs and fabrics. This is not something you can experience online, you have to see it yourself physically.”
Mr Shen Lei, Founder and Design Director, Interior Architects Design, China
“The theme of today’s seminar was about Japanese design ideas associated with eco-friendliness. The concept of sustainability has become more important globally, but the designs and quality of the products are also very important for their continued usage. The special display area is a great platform for designers and buyers to take a close look at our sustainable innovations, and to connect and interact with each other. The visitor flow is quite good, and I have met with buyers from different countries.”
Mr Akiyuki Sasaki, Founder, IKASAS DESIGN Inc, Japan
“This conference is a bridge to connect our own home installation with the fair’s textile-related interior design, and to perfectly integrate the two sub-sectors so that we can provide people with a more comfortable, green, healthy, and intelligent place to live. We are here to have in depth discussions with the audience to explore solutions, and to give them a better understanding of the space design concept from a home installation point of view.”
Ms Zhongli Chen, Secretary General, CRECC Full Decoration Council, China
The 2024 Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles – Spring Edition will take place from 6 – 8 March, while the Autumn Edition is scheduled for 14 – 16 August 2024. The fair is organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd; the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT; and the China Home Textile Association (CHTA).
To find out more about these fairs, please visit: www.intertextilehome.com.