Chicago's McCormick Place will have its own version of ``Chinatown'' at NPE, as more than a hundred Chinese companies make their North American debut at the show. The record number of Chinese exhibitors, 115, more than quadruples the 2003 figure of 27.
``This will be our second time to exhibit at NPE,'' spokeswoman Lois Liu of TK Mold Ltd. (Booth 9355) said by telephone. ``Since we participated in the 2003 NPE show and Plastics USA in 2004, we are getting more involved in the North American market.''
The Shenzhen-based company ships 90 percent of its molds overseas, with the United States accounting for 30 percent.
``[The U.S.] is a major market for us to expand [in] and further explore,'' she said.
TK Mold reported $50 million in sales for 2005 and claims to be one of the largest mold makers in South China. With a 1.4 million-square-foot production base in Shenzhen and a workforce of 3,000, it supplies molds to automakers like Honda and Toyota.
Only three of the 115 firms participated at previous NPEs, according to the Washington-based organizer, the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. The vast majority are just entering the U.S. market.
Harbin Xinda High Science and Technology Co. Ltd. (Booth 7441) hopes to sell resins such as polypropylene, ABS and nylon in the Americas, although the Heilongjiang-based firm has yet to make any sales outside of China.
``We heard of NPE from some friends in the States,'' spokeswoman He Meijuan said.
Changzhou Runtec Chemical Co. Ltd. (Booth 7029) will announce its first line of plastics-related products. The 9-year-old company did not reveal details about the new products, but its existing business is fine chemicals, primarily photo initiators and ultraviolet-light absorbers.
``We want to test the market [at NPE], and collect more industry and market information,'' said marketing manager Dave Chao.
According to SPI, the Chinese exhibitors include 50 mold makers, 30 machinery suppliers, 15 raw material suppliers and 15 custom processors.
Ningbo Aoli Machinery Co. Ltd. (Booth 7108) recently hired a U.S. agent for its bottle blowing line, including blow molding machines, molds and injection molding presses for bottle preforms.
``We are still at the very early stage in this market,'' a spokeswoman said. The Ningbo-based firm employs about 60, exports to South America, Southeast Asia and Europe, and also has a distributor in Canada.
Out of the 115 Chinese exhibitors at NPE 2006, 101 are from the mainland, up from 20 in 2003, and 14 are from Hong Kong, up from seven in 2003. Companies from Taiwan are staying at about the same level, as 62 are participating this year and 64 exhibited in 2003, SPI said.
So far, 79 Chinese firms have taken space in four China pavilions in McCormick North Level 1, Hall C1. The pavilions, which sold out, account for 3,660 square feet of net exhibit space. According to SPI, the other 36 firms exhibiting elsewhere at the show have taken 10,240 square feet of space.
These associations each organized one of the China pavilions: China Shenzhen Machinery Association (Booth 7327), China Engineering Plastics Industry Association (Booth 7125), China Plastics Machine Industry Association (Booths 7344, 7420) and the machinery unit of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Machinery Sub-Council (Booths 7211, 7540).