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China’s Fledgling Professional Textile Care Industry Perfect Draw for Texcare Asia

Bruce Beggs |

BEIJING, China — While the market for drycleaning and laundry services is fairly mature in the U.S., China’s professional textile-care industry is just starting to learn what’s possible. Continued economic growth, improving living standards and a thriving tourism market are generating huge demand for sophisticated laundry and drycleaning systems — and Texcare Asia 2009 put them on display in Beijing, to the delight of buyers.
“Texcare Asia has established itself as an international platform for professional textile care in the region,” says Wang Xueren, secretary general, Beijing Laundry & Drycleaning Industry Association. “China’s professional textile-care industry is still new, so the sector’s growth potential is huge.”
This economic climate made October’s Texcare Asia an event popular for laundry managers, plant operators, and domestic and foreign exhibitors alike. Attendance for the three-day fair was reported to be 5,900, up slightly from the 5,785 who attended the event two years ago in Shanghai.
“I came here to learn more about the latest industry developments and trends and found energy-saving products to be very popular,” says David Yang, laundry manager for Holiday Inn Chang An West Beijing. “I was very interested in the concept of recycling bathroom towels, and will be reporting back on this.”
Hall 8 of the China International Exhibition Centre housed the exhibitors — 133 companies and associations from 17 countries. The show floor covered roughly 10,000 m2 (32,808 square feet), or roughly one-sixth the space of a typical Clean Show. A rectangular layout made it easy for visitors to locate exhibitors, whether they occupied a large booth in the center of the hall or a smaller one at the outer boundaries.
With Texcare Forum Asia, a two-day program featuring presentations from textile-care experts from Asia, Europe and North America, the show’s information-hungry attendees were treated to a feast.
While the 2007 Texcare Asia opened to pomp and circumstance in Shanghai, Beijing’s opening was less formal. Association leaders and show sponsors welcomed special guests with a private briefing, then led them on a VIP tour, visiting booths, greeting exhibitors and posing for photos.
Substantial visitor delegations from Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden and Turkey attended, thanks in part to the show’s support among many international trade associations.
Everyone attending walked through metal detectors to enter; uniformed security guards patrolled the floor. But attendees were armed with cameras — camera phones, digital cameras and handheld camcorders — and used them to photograph or tape product demonstrations and equipment in operation.BRAND REACH
Exhibitors praised the number and caliber of visitors who attended, says Messe Frankfurt. More than 75% reported making sales at Texcare Asia, more than 80% “achieved objectives,” and more than 95% met with targeted visitor groups, the show’s organizers said.
Alliance Laundry Systems, parent of the UniMac, IPSO, Speed Queen, Cissell and Huebsch brands, reserved a large booth to show off examples of each. “I like the fact that [Texcare Asia] does not stay in just one city, but moves around, so you can get a better idea of other textile-care markets,” says Mike Schoeb, Alliance president.
Tingue, Brown & Co. recently opened a warehouse for its ironer supplies in Hong Kong, and Texcare Asia offered an opportunity to demonstrate the value of parts and other supplies to a customer base that’s largely focused on getting the machinery at this stage, says export director Dan Koebel. “This is a growth market. That’s why we’re putting such an emphasis on it.”
“This is the best fair we’ve participated in,” says Hu Jindi, general manager of finishing equipment manufacturer Shanghai Weishi Machinery Co.“The contracts and contacts made have exceeded our expectations. We’ve been kept constantly busy over the fair period, meeting one serious buyer after another. I think as a result of this, we will have expanded our presence not only in Japan, but also in Belgium, Germany, Portugal and the U.S.”
Hoffman/New Yorker liked the show’s timing for the introduction of its single-buck shirt unit and Slim-Line presses to the Asian market. All debuted stateside at last summer’s Clean Show, and the company sees potential for these products in China’s hospitality and retail drycleaning sectors, which are expanding alongside a new middle class.
New products give the company’s Asian distributors “some ammunition” against competitors, says Thomas Bolan Jr., sales manager. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised [by the response]. “When you tell them that your main lines are completely new or redesigned, that gets their attention.”
While it has sent representatives to attend previous Texcare Asia shows, Maytag Commercial Laundry exhibited for the first time this year to inform its Asian distributors about new products and gauge China’s emerging manufacturing base, says Nick Koukourakis, senior category manager for Global Commercial Laundry at Whirlpool Corp., Maytag’s parent company. “Most Western exhibitors are keeping an eye on the China market,” he says.
Fred Schwarzmann Jr., president of A.L. Wilson, says the show met expectations. His company’s products have been available in China for years, but he felt it was important to exhibit this year to meet personally with dealers in the region. He also introduced EasyGo, a cleaning aid for use in removing ground-in soils in hydrocarbon or perc.
Castic SMP displayed a range of equipment manufactured in Asia under license, including Pellerin Milnor washer-extractors, Multimatic and Secomatic drycleaning machines, and Secomatic tumbler dryers. Machines branded with the Multimatic name in the U.S. are manufactured in Castic’s factory north of Hong Kong.
Interest in Milnor equipment has grown significantly in the past two years in the Far East, says Castic director Jason Gerling; X-Series washer-extractors are a top choice among many five-star international hotels.
Texcare Asia will return in autumn 2011 at a location yet to be determined.
 

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.

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