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The 2005 presentation of China Composites Expo was frankly a success. In just ten years, the Expo has worked its way up to become one of the “must” trade shows in the international composite industry.
(Published on December 2005 – JEC Magazine #21)
With 226 companies registered in its catalogue, the eleventh presentation of the China Composites Expo trade show on September 1-3, 2005 in Guangzhou (Southern China) was a true success – not that anyone had thought it wouldn’t be! This was the first time it had been held in Guangzhou.
Some of the biggest raw-materials suppliers had already announced in advance that they would be coming to this dynamic southern city, and if there were any doubts about the trade show’s attendance, these were dissipated on the first day of the Expo.
Although the official statistics have not yet been published as we write this article, the event itself points to excellent results. Given the overall trade show quality and the attention to detail exhibitors dedicated to their stands – and therefore to the reception given to their customers and prospects – we can see clearly that the nature of the market has changed in just a few years. The market is growing continuously and the trend is irreversible.
This year, innovation prizes were awarded for the first time. These, the China Composites 2005 – JEC Innovation Awards, are the fruit of a partnership between the Expo’s Chinese organisers and the JEC Group.
The composites industry in China has been developing rapidly over the past 11 years, keeping up with the steadily rapid growth of the Chinese economy (see table).
While great progress has been made, the per-capita output of FRP composites is still much lower than that of developed countries. The Chinese market for composite technologies and products is enormous, but for technology to improve and production to expand, new technology and equipment are badly needed.
As the Chinese market continues to grow, more and more foreign companies are being attracted each year by the considerable potential there.
This year’s Expo was ample proof that most, if not all segments are being driven by these dynamics. Raw materials made a great showing. The largest national and international players in resins were there in Guangzhou: very high-profile as the trade show opened, with superb stands from DSM and Ashland, to name just two.
On the reinforcement side, there was an exhaustive offering, or nearly so, from the glass-fibre segment, which was represented by CPIC, Jushi, Owens Corning, PPG, Saint-Gobain Reinforcement and Taishan, among others.
According to some of the people we talked to, the market is doing fine and the growth rates recorded are highly satisfactory. Carbon fibre was also prominent (Toho, Toray, etc.) in sports and automotive applications, among others, and several companies were exhibiting basalt fibre. There were multiaxial glass/carbon/aramid hybrid fabrics from medium-sized companies – Selcom, for example, which was exhibiting for the first time and, as Selcom’s export sales manager Claudia Maria Canal told us, was delighted with the number and quality of the contacts it was able to make during the trade show.
And, of course, honeycomb and other core materials were represented as well.
China Composites Expo is the largest composites/FRP trade show in Asia.
Organizers: China Composites Group Corporation Ltd. China FRP Industrial Association Chinese FRP Society
Number of exhibitors: 228 exhibitors from 16 countries
Number of visitors: 7,000 visitors from 42 countries
Exhibition surface area: 8,000m²
The next China Composites Expo will take place in Shanghai from September 4-6, 2006.
On the process side, pultrusion and filament winding were well-represented, as usual.
It is also worthy of note that infusion and RTM techniques are increasingly present, a trend illustrated by the award earned by Beijing FRP Auto Parts for its RTM-moulded automotive part.
A market on the move
All user markets were represented, without exception, to a greater or lesser extent. The building and construction sector still dominates, and there is no lack of applications: pipes, doors, windows, ladders, banisters, gratings, rubbish bins, bathtubs, and more.
The automotive sector was next, with a large number of applications that included front ends, bumpers, and dashboards. The sports & leisure industry made its mark this year with water skis, bicycles, motorcycle helmets, sailboards and tennis racquets, among other things.
The boating, electricity/electronics, and aviation/aerospace industries were also present, although the applications were a bit less eye-catching, perhaps because they were difficult to showcase.
Wind energy is a user segment that is booming, no doubt helped along by the looming energy squeeze. In our opinion, this year’s China Composite Expo marks a milestone in the event’s development.
The sheer number of exhibitors puts it hard on the heels of the industry’s other large trade shows the world over. Today anyone seeking to develop further might find it very difficult without making a stop at China Composites. The next China Composites Expo will take place in Shanghai on September 4-6, 2006.