A Sino-European Catalyst?

Jan Nintemann – Managing Director of Global Fairs TT Messe.de was attending CE China for the first time with a delegation from Europe, planning to come back with a full European Pavilion next year. What were his impressions of the event and what are his plans for the next edition?

I’m surprised about the quality of the event. I am impressed by the interest held by the visitors. CE China is building up. It’s not so big, but the quality is good. I have seen that our exhibitors like Yamazoki have visitors to their booth all day, and most of the time there has even been a queue to see the product and talk to the management. It’s been quite busy.

Next year you are planning something bigger from Europe?

Yes. I entered into discussions with Messe Berlin four of five months ago in terms of putting together the European pavilion – with European brands exporting to China. After some analysis, I felt this would be an excellent idea, because in Europe, many good brands, mainly B / C brands, have fantastic products, but they cannot enter the European market, and consumers are not looking for so many new products. The way of distribution in Europe is quite difficult for B and C brands, because the distributors who deliver the big retailers are focussed on the big brands. And it is not easy to be listed by these big distributors even if you have attractive products. The situation in China is completely different. Here, there is a growing middle class, and these consumers are interested in Western products and lifestyle, and they love new products. So, I get the feeling it is easier to sell to the big retailers in Asia than in Europe. Chinese buyers are looking for new ideas from Europe. They really want the original non-Chinese product styles, new ideas, engineering, and this combination of Chinese know how in production, bringing together with European new design, this kind of cooperation is going to be the way to go. I believe that any industry that fails to cooperate and do business with China and Asia will in the future lose too much from the world market, and not be powerful enough in the future to meet global competition. It’s very important to be in this market.

What do you think of the initiative of Messe Berlin to launch this show in China?

It’s a very good idea. It’s the right concept at the right time. In the past, people said China was the factory of the world. But the OEM producers now find themselves in a situation in which their profits vary wildly, because all their business is based on price. If someone else makes the same product a bit cheaper, the buyer will move. There is no security for future business, and profits are shrinking. Furthermore, people even in China, little by little, have growing incomes, so the difference between incomes in the Western World and China is shrinking. 15-20% of the value of a product is in the production. The rest is in marketing, sales, logistics and so-on. China, with the factory of the world, is only taking a small part of the whole business, from the creation of the idea of production to when it comes out of the factory. Branding has been at the root of success story of the western world. Meanwhile, in China, big brands are emerging, like Huawei, Hisense and so on. So now is the right time for the emergence of a show like CE China, based on the same brand concept of IFA in Berlin. It shows how the branding of products can work. It’s very different from the other exhibitions in China, Hong Kong and so on, which are primarily OEM and sourcing exhibitions, and not brand exhibitions. The business of branding is very different. A brand produces more value, gives you security for the future, because if the brand is known, consumers will always ask for the product. It’s the right time to bring European B&C brands, and Chinese brand companies, who want to work with the European culture and image, to the Chinese retail and public.

What are your thoughts about CE China Daily?

This is a very important communication and information platform. When two worlds come together it is very important to get the information on what’s going on here. For the European companies who are here, there are some who already have experience in China and have developed some channel contacts here or produced some products here. But for most of the companies – the B / C brands, they need the right information, the right orientation. How important is it to work with Suning? What is the function of JD.com? Is it the same as Amazon or is it different? There are many questions, and these people need to learn what is the market, who is in the market, and what do the Chinese business people want? For this, they need information during the fair, as well as shortly afterwards, and CE China Daily gives them this thanks to its live editions and online review. Other information is, I am sure, of extreme value, such as the latest GfK market facts figures that I could find in the daily, which I have not seen anywhere else. So, it’s a “must have”.

Photo: Jan Nintemann – Managing Director of Global Fairs TT Messe.de