WeiLi Seng, Managing Director, China and Korea for auto tanners GST Autoleather told the audience of 130 that in China some mid and high-end models are purchased with up to 95% of all models fitted with leather compared with 30% in other regional markets such as Europe. Seng also said that consumers in China specified leather towards the top of their list of interior extras when buying a new car.

With a growing number of middle and upper class consumers across Asia, especially in China the conference discussed a number of technical and market topics. Dr Gerhard Wolf, Head of Technical Service, Europe, BASF introduced their new ‘Anti’ finish concept aimed and providing the next generation of upholstery leathers with a more natural appearence while meeting all technical requirements required by OEM’s.

With the recent rise in raw material prices, Robert Hein, Senior Vice-President/General Manager – Leather Division of National Beef Packing Company outlined the global decline in raw hide availability with a breakdown of the global reduction in hide numbers from the major beef producing countries from around the world. Hein said that supply was likely to become more restricted in the future suggesting that prices of raw hides and semi-processed leathers were expected to remain high in the future.

The half-day conference took place at the Kerry Hotel in Pudong on September 5 and was sponsored by BASF, National Beef and APLF Ltd.