Domotex asia/ChinaFloor: U.S. mills expand into Asia as Eastern mills grow in west

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SHANGHAI—Massive earth-quakes. Powerful hurricanes. Countries struggling to survive economic collapse. Many would say the world is turning upside down. This is certainly so in the world of flooring—but unlike world events, it is for the betterment of everyone, it seems.

While China remains the most important sourcing market for all kinds of products (73% of the country’s exports end up in the U.S.), flooring including, there is an interesting trend that was played out among the 8.5 football field-sized halls that made up the 12th annual Domotex asia/ChinaFloor (DACF) here last month. Western-based manufacturers continue to see mainland China as a major opportunity for sales of products bearing their brand, while Chinese mills that have set up shop in the U.S. have seen their market share grow as retailers and distributors look for alternatives in this tough economy.

With both sides seeing favorable situations as the world’s economy overall seems headed in the right direction for the first time in three years, DACF once again became the center of attention as visitors from approximately 80 countries flooded the gates on opening day and continued to pour in throughout the three-day event.

Official figures were not available at press time, but show officials said nearly 20,000 attendees including many from the U.S.—from mills to distributors and importers—were present on the first day to see approximately 1,000 exhibitors that made up the more than 1 million square feet of exhibiting space.

Thurain Aye, DACF’s director, said “While pre-registration was up from last year, no one was prepared for the flood of people on the first morning. And overall, the show exceeded all expectations. It has become much more global in its attendance which is one of management’s objectives.”

One of the things attracting this global attention was the inaugural World Flooring Forum (WFF), an all-day conference that took place on DACF’s first day. Focusing on “Low Carbon Economies and Global Opportunities,” the event attracted over 500 people and included speakers from North and South America, Europe, India, and Africa.

“This was just a start,” Aye said in referring to WFF. “Overall, the meeting was considered a huge success, but there is a great deal of information that can be exchanged which will help the wood flooring industry and the world. We will most likely expand our topics for next year.”

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