Despite heavy rain hammering down on Shanghai at the moment, the 17th edition of the All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE), the China International Footwear Fair (CIFF) and Moda Shanghai got underway this soggy Wednesday morning. This is the collective Super Bowl of leather exhibitions and the general mood so far from a handful of exhibitors is very optimistic.
Kicking off the three-day event was a press conference that highlighted China's position in the leather industry. APLF director Michael Duck said that the fairs this year, which cover 92,000m2 and comprise 1,337 exhibitors from 38 countries and regions, have grown steadily but that a major theme over the next three days will be how competition for China's footwear manufacturing industry has increased from neighbouring Asian countries, despite China's unprecedented domination of production.
China Leather Industry Association chairman Su Chaoying then spoke about the economic status of China's leather industries from H1 2014. In a few distilled bullet points, he said that there was steady growth in annual sales revenue of China's leather industry, which stands at RMB587.4 billion, a year-on-year increase of 10.4%. However, while industry exports were up 5.7% year-on-year, the growth rate declined by 6.6%.
Another major theme will be environment and sustainability. In addition to a brief address from Mike Redwood on growing support for the LeatherNaturally! Campaign − especially now from PrimeAsia's environmental manager Sarah Swenson − Hao Yingpeng, deputy mayor of Xinji City, gave a distilled report on the environmental protection, upgrades and reconstruction of Xinji's tanning industry. In it he mentioned the urgency of upgrading the reconstruction of tannery treatment plants, and implementing more rigorous safeguard measures in order to fulfill corporate responsibilities of environmental protection.
We're just underway in Shanghai but look for more updates on leathermag.com as the fairs progress over the coming days.