China’s leather industry grew steadily between January and May of this year. Sales revenue and profit – in terms of value – increased by 6.41 and 7.56% respectively from the same period in 2016.

The Asian nation’s medium and large-sized tanneries produced about 277 million square metres of light leather by January–May, a yearon- year increase of 3.1%.

The production volume of automotive leather in 2017 was about 450 million square feet, which is 2.3% more than the previous year’s yield. The number of cars to be sold in 2017 is expected to reach 29.4 million, an increase of 5.0% that is expected to create good opportunities in automotive leather.

Last year, China produced 13.1 billion pairs of shoes, down by 3.0% from the previous year. Of these, 3.9 billion were consumed locally, which represents an increase of 2.6%.

The volume of leather shoes produced by medium and large companies in January–May 2017 grew rapidly to reach 1.82 billion pairs, which is 4.27% more than were made within the same period the previous year.

The total value of exports of leather, leather goods, fur and footwear achieved $31.1 billion, an increase of 13.5% on the 2016 figure. Of these, the 4.1 billion pairs were exported at an overall price of $18.3 billion, which represent respective year-on-year increases of 5.6 and 6.9%.

Imports reached $3.8 billion, up 8.3% from the previous year. Among them, the imports of finished leather accounted for 48,000t, which is 11.5% more than last year, while footwear imports were $1.17 billion, which is 14% more than the 2016 figure.

The upcoming World Leather Congress, now in its third edition, will take place on 29 August in Shanghai. This year’s theme is ‘the leather revolution’, and international industry experts, as well as the VIP guests, will make presentations on the expectations for global trade over the next couple of decades.

Change is on the way

China has driven change over the past 20 years or so, and significant changes are now taking place within the country itself. These include increased quality, reduced excess production capacity, and a shift from a quantity-and-export-driven model to one based on innovation, as well as rising costs – which will affect every global industry over the next few decades. All of these fundamental changes and challenges will be addressed by the speakers and experts.

The congress will also be designed to promote the leather industry as a whole and to reinforce the profile of leather as a material, while at the same time promoting the role of ICT as the representative body of the global leather industry. Several discussions have been arranged to enhance the understanding of leather, and to disseminate the message that it is a distinctive, highly versatile and unique material, rather just another type of textile.

The congress has assembled an excellent array of expert speakers from all sectors – including consumers, leather product manufacturers, leather producers and suppliers – to share their valuable thoughts. As a co-organiser, CLIA believes that the event gives every participant a great platform upon which to exchange information and create new business opportunities.

The congress is closely followed by ACLE, and visitor numbers are expected to receive a boost as a result. The domestic halls are traditionally almost fully occupied, with exhibitors being drawn mostly from tanneries, chemicals, and manufacturers of synthetic materials and automotive leather manufacturers.

Match-making meetings between automotive leather suppliers and buyers will be held during the fair, hopefully boosting sales.