Shanghai — Chinaplas, already the world's largest plastics trade fair, is getting 30 percent bigger this year with its move to a new exhibition center in Shanghai.
The show, which opened April 24 and runs through April 27, this year moved to the city's new National Exhibition Convention Center. Organizers said NECC is the largest single block exhibition center in the world.
At 340,000 square meters, or more than 3.6 million square feet, Chinaplas this year has about three times the 1.2 million square feet of exhibitor space at NPE2018 in Orlando, Fla., next month.
But the NECC fairgrounds, which opened in 2016, still had to be upgraded to handle a plastics fair and the attendant requirements for power and other needs of industrial machinery on the show floor, said Stanley Chu, chairman of Hong Kong-based Adsale Group, which operates the event.
"It is true that [NECC] is huge in size," he said, speaking at an April 23 news conference ahead of Chinaplas. "But it was not built initially for a huge number of machinery. The center supported us a lot by adding compressed air and compressed water, which is needed for a lot of plastics machinery and is quite industry specific.
"After close to two years of preparation, it is fit for Chinaplas," he added. "If it can support Chinaplas, then it for sure can support any industrial-level exhibition. That is why they were willing to invest to update the facilities. We are very satisfied with the current situation."
Adsale executives believe the exhibition center design, with its halls shaped like butterfly wings or a four-leaf clover around a central circular tower featuring convenience shops and restaurants, will be an improvement from the previous location, the Shanghai New International Expo Center.
The NEIC, on the other side of the city, required the show to use temporary tents for many exhibitors.
The new NECC complex, which will house 4,000 exhibiting companies for Chinaplas, is on three levels, with eight exhibition halls, each the size of a football field.
The bigger space enabled Chinaplas organizers to incorporate a variety of theme pavilions, along with industry-specific zones, including a 3D Technology and Thermoplastic Elastomers & Rubber, among others.
One thing that won't change, however, is the show's long tradition of alternating each year between Shanghai and Guangzhou, in southern China, organizers said. There are no plans to keep the show in one city, Chu said.
The China Import and Export Fair Pazhou complex, in Guangzhou, clocks in smaller, at 258,000 square meters, or 2.8 million square feet. The fair will continue to alternate between Shanghai and Guangzhou, Chu said.
"The two regions have two separate markets, so we will continue to go back and forth each year," he says.
Germany's K show by comparison, took up 173,000 square meters, or 1.9 million square feet, with 3,285 exhibiting companies at its last edition in 2016.
Adsale officials, however, said that Chinaplas and the K Fair are actually about the same size, because the 340,000 square meters for Chinaplas refers to gross area, while K's figure is net exhibition space.