Show Report: Music China 2011
This year’s Music China and Prolight & Sound Expo, held in Shanghai from October 11-14, marked its 10th anniversary of serving the worldwide market. According to the October 11 edition of Shanghai Daily newspaper, the Chinese government estimated that the GDP growth was reduced to 9.4 percent from 9.6 percent, due to “the economic restructuring that allowed the economy to depend less on government stimulus.”
However, this overall economic growth in China pales in comparison to the increase in output of the Chinese musical instrument industry, which clocked in at an astronomical increase of nearly 23 percent in 2010 vs. 2009 (according to the China Musical Instrument Association) to nearly $3.6 billion in sales.
This stellar growth was clearly evident in this year’s gathering, which featured record-breaking levels of exhibitors and exhibit space with over 1,400 companies representing over 29 countries at the Music China show, and 400 at the Prolight & Sound show. Strong traffic from around the world was seen at the exhibition, which included both businesspeople as well as consumer attendees.
To accommodate the increases in exhibitor booth space for both the Music China and ProLight & Sound events, which now take up over 1 million square feet in space, the show added additional halls, as well as tents on the fair grounds. New halls are being completed which will allow for even more space in future years.
According to Iain Willson of IBC Trading and G7th Capos, higher end models are moving well in China, whereas the entry-level products present more challenges. Additionally, he mentioned that distributors from throughout the Asian rim were prevalent at the show; whereas his perception of EU attendance is that it was down, most likely due to the continued economic challenges throughout the region. Pekka Rintala of B-Band Inc, reflected similar sentiments, but added that interest from distributors and manufacturers in India and Dubai present new areas for potential growth in the worldwide market.
The number of international pavilions present at the show also set new records, which included Belgium, The Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Scandinavia, Spain, Taiwan, and the UK. French accessory manufacturer, Franck Bichon said, “There is a positive change of wanting better quality products in China and this is reflected by Chinese dealers caring more about product quality and sound.” Burkhard Stein of German piano manufacturer, Grotrian, suggested that the only piano market in the world that is expanding right now is in China: “Cars are the first luxury item that is purchased by the increasingly wealthy citizens, and pianos are one of the items that come soon after…” China now accounts for nearly 20 percent of Grotrian’s sales of grand pianos. In a similar vein, high-end guitar manufacturer, Guitarras Manuel Rodriguez & Sons, sells 30 percent of its guitars into the Chinese market, with other areas of the Pacific Rim growing quickly as well.