SHANGHAI—As the Western half of the world continues to mostly muddle its way out of the recession, conditions on the Eastern side of the globe are vastly different. China’s economy, for example, grew an estimated 9.5% in 2010 and is showing no signs of slowing down. Mirroring this growth is the Domotex asia/ChinaFloor (DACF) trade show, as officials are expecting the upcoming event to be the largest in the market’s 13-year history.
Scheduled to take place March 22 to 24 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre here and preceded by the 2nd annual Wood Flooring Forum (WFF) on March 21, the show is on pace to exceed last year’s record breaking mark of 40,414 visitors and 1,000 exhibitors, noted Kitty Bai, DACF’s project manager. “In reaction to last year’s unparalleled attendance and this year’s growing market demand, DACF increased floor space by 15% and total space is already 96% sold.”
As Floor Covering News has been reporting since being the first U.S. flooring publication to physically cover the market, the rapid acceleration of global economic integration has seen more Chinese brands entering international markets and, as the country’s economy continues to gain wealth, international brands are entering the Chinese markets. Jim Gould, president of the consulting group Floor Covering Institute, strategic director of the 2011 World Flooring Forum and a guest columnist to FCNews, said several factors are at play but the most notable stems from the fact “China’s construction market is exploding at rates never before seen. Billions of square meters of new floor space is boosting its domestic demand for floor covering beyond levels that anyone could have predicted even two years ago. China now represents a place to both source and sell products.”
The rapid rate of urbanization in China is creating the largest demand for floor covering the world have ever seen. In fact, studies suggest over 430 billion square feet of floor space will be built in the next 15 years—the equivalent of 10 New York Cities. And with China’s economy continuing to grow in the high single to low double-digit rates, it is creating one the fastest growing middle classes in the world. Estimates place the country’s urban middle class at 612 million people by 2025—about twice the size of the total population of the U.S.—wielding the equivalent of $2.7 trillion dollars.
In the year 2025…
Research by the McKinsey Global Institute showcases the potential of China’s emerging flooring market by 2025. For instance, the 430 billion square feet of floor space will be built in 5 million buildings; 50,000 of those will be skyscrapers, which all in all equate to constructing 10 New York Cities.
In addition, McKinsey notes, 350 million additional people will move from rural areas to cities; six new megacities will emerge, with two having more than 20 million residents, and 221 cities will have grown to a more than 1 million people. In contrast, the U.S. currently has less than 10 cities of a million or more residents while Europe has just under three dozen.
Beyond the Great Wall, over a billion new consumers are expected to emerge in all of Asia by 2015.
These figures alone, Bai said, “makes DACF the place to show and discover what the world will be buying [in the coming] year. The show continues to be the largest and most authoritative floor covering trade fair in the Asia-Pacific region. It is the platform for injecting powerful new innovative ideas into this rapidly changing and fast growing global flooring industry.”
While all segments of the flooring industry are experiencing growth, wood remains the show’s signature and largest category. The expansive wood section represents 41% of DACF’s total floor space and features parquet, solid and engineered, cork and bamboo as well as laminate.
Even with this, show organizers point out sold space for both carpet and resilient has nearly doubled from last year. A key reason for this growth has to do with the recent rapid rise in tourism, real estate and entertainment industries. As a result, carpet demand has increased by 20% just in the Asian contract market. With that, the category is the second largest at DACF, making up 28% of the floor space.
“New construction projects desire to reflect economic success and cultural refinement, Bai explained, “and this means buyers are looking for higher quality and unparalleled design.”
This boom in commercial construction has also created a steadily growing demand for resilient flooring. In 2010, resilient exhibitors increased 28% and, with two months to go before this year’s event, the category remains the fastest growing at DACF and now represents 16% of the show’s total floor space.
Beyond floor coverings
Along with the individual floor covering categories being represented, Bai said DACF continues to showcase other aspects of the industry to create a total flooring experience.
For example, FloorTech integrates materials, products and technology to demonstrate the entire wood flooring cycle from production to installation and maintenance in one venue.
Meanwhile, LayTech includes installation tools and equipment, underlayments, adhesives, skirtings, moldings and locking systems, while ProTech is dedicated to cleaning and maintenance solutions, equipment, oils and waxes.
Then there is CarpetTech, which DACF officials said will provide a total solution venue for carpet retailers and manufacturers. It is where the newest in manufacturing techniques, equipment and advanced technology will be displayed. Advances in color and design, fiber enhancements, cushion, cleaning and maintenance products will be featured “to provide a complete carpet experience for visitors.”
New for the 2011 show will be Creative Flooring, which will feature live demonstrations by members of the UK’s Academy of Flooring Skills. They will demonstrate how to utilize floorings to achieve the best results and how designers’ creative demands can be met by using different types of flooring and applications together.
“With an ever-increasing demand for creativity and an eye for finer details and finishing,” Bai explained, “the pressure is mounting on designers and suppliers to provide innovative applications, products and concepts that are applicable to every day use in residential and commercial projects. And, craftsmen are eager to learn new skills and techniques to match the designers’ innovations and expectations. Creative Flooring also provides exhibitors with a great opportunity to increase their exposure by showcasing their products to a live, interactive audience.”
A new Innovation Wall will be unveiled at DACF to display a featured collection of the show’s most innovative products.
The day prior to DACF opening its door to the world, the 2nd annual Wood Flooring Forum will take place. Last year’s event attracted 54 speakers and 500 attendees from five continents and this year’s edition is expected to attract an even larger crowd as 2011 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of the Forests, a year- long celebration recognizing the importance of forests to all timber industries.
Gould called WFF, “a global industry event like no other in the world. The 2010 event was, without a doubt, the largest global event of its kind ever held by China’s floor covering industry. 2011 promises to be a world-class flooring conference.”
The all-day conference will feature a morning general session followed by lunch. Experts will then address topics of interest to the global industry in smaller breakout sessions. They will be presented in two tracks—one with a Western market focus and the other concentrating on Eastern markets.
Panelists include representatives from around the world, including the U.S. Dept of International Trade which will address unique laws and regulations, certifications and customs in major markets. Experts will also address the growing LEED and sustainable building markets; market data and trends for major wood markets. An update on the ITC investigation in the U.S. on antidumping charges against China (FCNews, Dec. 6/13) will be included in the discussions.
Bai concluded, “Whether you are an Asian manufacturer looking to expand your market here or in the rest of the world, an international manufacturer seeking to enter the Asian market…if you are looking for new opportunities, new channel partners and new products… this is the place to be.”
For more information on attending or exhibiting at DACF, call 011 86 21 6195 6088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the WFF, conference, contact Gould at 314.812.2700 or jgould@floorcoveringinstitute .com.