GUANGZHOU, CHINA — Organizers of the massive Chinaplas trade fair, which at 220,000 square meters is the world's second-largest plastics show, said they strongly want to expand the show by another day to five days but are limited by the tight schedules of the two convention centers they use.
Speaking at a press conference May 19 the day before the show opened in Guangzhou, executives with Chinaplas organizer Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd. said the four day schedule is too short.
"We definitely need five days for the show," said Adsale Chairman Stanley Chu. "We have demanded five days every year from the venue management."
But he said the annual show, which alternates between exhibition centers in Shanghai and Guangzhou, is very limited in the number of set-up and tear-down days allowed by the two venues they contract with to host the show, the Shanghai New International Expo Center and the China Import and Export Fair Complex, or Canton Fairgrounds, in Guangzhou.
Chinaplas usually has only five days to move in, while the K Fair in Germany, the world's largest plastics show at about 260,000 square meters, has two weeks, so expanding the show dates could further restrict move-in, Chu said.
He told reporters that one worker had been injured during this year's Chinaplas move-in, and he said that rushed setups can make injuries more likely.
The increasing size of the show does increase the pressure on organizers to expand the number of days, though. This year's Guangzhou event, for example, is 22 percent larger than the last time it was held in that south China city, in 2011.
"Every year we have space requests much more than we can provide," Chu said.
He offered several reasons for Chinaplas becoming larger, even in the face of global economic challenges: it attracts a wide mix of exhibitors from around the world selling all price ranges of equipment and materials, and emerging economies in Asia have been much less impacted by the world's economic problems.
"The global economy is not flourishing, but we mostly see the downturn in developed countries," Chu said. "For Chinese machinery exports, our destinations are mostly developing counties, especially the Asian countries. Their economies are doing fine."
If the show's growth rate of the past years continues, Chinaplas in 2015 would be about the size of the K Fair, which stretches for eight days at the Messe Düsseldorf fairgrounds.
K is held every three years, while Chinaplas is an annual event, but Chu said it's not important if Chinaplas becomes larger than K: "I think size is not our goal and size is not our ultimate objective."
"Having Chinaplas overtake K is nothing surprising to most people," he told reporters, before adding that "Chinaplas will be lagging behind K Fair for quite some time" in technology, visitor quality and other areas.
Chinaplas and the K Fair have been partners in promoting each other's events since 2005, he said: "We are very happy to have them as our partner and benchmark ourselves."
Chu said the K Fair is also limited by the size of the Messe Düsseldorf fairgrounds, and he said he believed that show could be 400,000 square meters if it had the space.
Shanghai is building a massive new convention center that will have 400,000 square meters of exhibition space and is planned to open in 2015, Chu said.
That means it could in theory host the 2016 edition of Chinaplas but Chu suggested Adsale wants to see how the venue operations work, such as taxi service, catering and other support services.
"We have to be cautious when any new center will be ready," he said.
Chinaplas only uses about two-thirds of the huge Canton Fair complex in Guangzhou, but Adsale Assistant General Manager Ada Leung said the section Chinaplas does not use is less conveniently located and its flooring cannot support heavy machinery.
Both K and Chinaplas are more than twice as large as the next largest global plastics shows. NPE in the United States and PlastIndia, for example, are each about 100,000 square meters.
This year's Chinaplas was expected to attract 120,000 visitors, 25 percent of them from outside China, Adsale said.