APLF celebrates 25th anniversary18 November 2009
Despite current market conditions there was cause to celebrate at this year’s APLF show, which was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, March 31 – April 2. The show, which consists of three shows within a show, MM&T (Materials, Manufacturing & Technology), Fashion Access and Prime Source, celebrated its 25th birthday this year.
Established in 1984 by current APLF director, Derek Dickins (see page 25), the show, originally known as the Hong Kong Leather Fair, began life as a showcase of leather to the Asian markets. Over the years it has grown to be the most international leather fair in the world and an important meeting point for the global industry.
To mark the anniversary the organisers laid on a drinks reception for invited exhibitors and guests where 26 of the original exhibiting companies and organisations were presented with an award for attending each event. This included Leather International.
‘This is a very special occasion for us because we are celebrating our 25th anniversary’, said Michael Duck, APLF director. ‘We had some discussion prior to the event of whether we should be ‘celebrating’ given the very difficult state of the global economy but we decided to choose ‘celebration’ as there is much to celebrate. (However) we in the trade fair sector are here to help stimulate and encourage trade during the bad times as well as the good. Our role is to support the industry’, he added.
The timing of this year’s event was interesting. With hide and skin prices down to record lows, the show was flooded with traders looking for buyers and signs of business from exhibiting tanners. The tanners meanwhile waited for the buyers to show up and make some orders. The organisers had done an excellent job of persuading many buyers to turn up at the show but, as could be anticipated, business was not that easy to come by. Visitor numbers were estimated to be up compared with 2008 and a general buzz around the stands was evident in the MM&T Hall 1 and to a slightly lesser extent was felt in Hall 2.
The fair included 25 country pavilions of which China, India, Turkey, Pakistan, Brazil, Italy and Thailand, formed the largest groups. A total exhibition space of 21,000m2 was covered featuring 1,039 exhibitors from 55 countries and regions.