2018 is a special year for China's leather sector and ACLE.
This year marks the China Leather Industry Association's (CLIA) 30th anniversary that since its founding has led to great improvements in China's tanning industry, reaching state of the art levels in sustainability standards.
The CLIA is the only official body in Mainland China for the leather, footwear and leathergoods manufacturing industries. It is responsible for collating production, sales and export statistics for the sector, advising on government policy and aims in the context of Implementing the Thirteenth Five Year Plan in its sector. The CLIA is joint organiser with APLF Ltd of the All China Leather Exhibition.
At the same time, it is ACLE's 20th year as the platform where such changes were brought forward and have positioned ACLE as the best showcase of this shift in manufacturing, which, as Manufacturing 4.0, encompasses automation, technological innovations to allow sustainable processes and added efficiency.
This process in China's industry over the last three decades has transformed it from a low cost manufacturing export-driven economy, to a technologically advanced and sustainable manufacturing nation driven by demand from the huge domestic market.
Innovation is the name of the game
With these two emblematic dates coinciding at the 2018 edition of ACLE, the organisers have turned their focus to innovation, which has become a key element in the future of the leather making industry. More attention is focused on sustainability and environmental care as we have seen in the last three years during China's industrial clean-up of polluting textile mills and tanneries.
With this clean-up all but complete, more sustainable leathers can be produced using advanced cutting edge machinery processes that ensure that high quality, more marketable leather is produced. This is the transformation of leather from a "commodity" to a bespoke product suitable for high class and luxury manufacturing.
To illustrate this, the organisers are proud to set up a luxury area in Hall E1, where luxury leather and components are on display. The first Technological Trend Forum will also be organised, where exhibits are on display in Hall E3, and the Innovation Lab in Hall E2.
Visits to these areas of ACLE will point the way into the future of leather making.
Status of visitor promotion for ACLE 2018
As the official body of the leather and footwear sector in Mainland China, the CLIA is tasked with visitor promotion for ACLE.
The CLIA has access to all the major tanneries and finished product manufacturers in China's manufacturing provinces and each year some 19,000 buyers from these provinces attend ACLE seeking sourcing opportunities and new suppliers from the west.
The organisers continue to focus on bringing ASEAN countries representative from Vietnam and Indonesia, for example, as well as traders and manufacturers to come to ACLE. The ASEAN region is becoming more important especially in terms of footwear manufacturing and has to import most of its leather.
With the advent of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) footwear manufacturers from Vietnam, for example, will come to ACLE to source leather for footwear manufacture, as there is now a 0% import tariff in the context of this FTA.
Western leather suppliers will also benefit indirectly from this zero tariff export market for Chinese tanneries to nations such as Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar and of course Vietnam.
In our next issue of information about ACLE we will cover the vital leather demand sector of the automotive market in China as the world's biggest new car buyer and the changes waiting to be fully opened up to foreign investors in the next five years.