It’s not just about trade relations

With CE China just around the corner, what are the stakes for Sino-European electronics business?

A recent report by Deutsche Welle indicates that Europe will see an increase of €1.7bn in trade with China as a result of the country’s trade war with the US. With CE China – IFA’s annual trade event in China – just around the corner, we asked IFA Director Dirk Koslowski how he sees business going this year in the light of this, and the changing retail scenario in China.

The situation in China is not that different to that of Europe at the moment. We are facing some markets where the industry is struggling in terms of distributing their products – especially branded products – to consumers.


Europe as an open market is not protected by any specific tariffs, but to be truthful, co-innovation doesn’t stop in Europe. We need the American companies as well as the Chinese companies, if it comes down to microchips, displays, or whatever. So yes, we are having a few more chances at the moment, but honestly, at the end, the consumer has to benefit from co-innovating processes. So, in the long-run it is not a win-win situation. Of course, there will be some new opportunities, because Chinese companies and Chinese consumers used to be very focused on the American market, especially on Silicon Valley and all the co-called IT giants which promoted and created pretty good consumer solutions for them. Nowadays, especially if it comes to smart home appliances, products from Europe are seen as quality-driven.

You have a different concept from other events. Can you tell us a little more about this?

IFA comes at the right time, and in the right direction, because we are the launch pad – not just for new products and innovations for consumers. We are educating our retail partners how to upsell quality products. IFA and CE China are based on the same principles: we aim to empower the global retail trade. Especially in Europe, it comes down to the likes of the MSH Group, to Expert or Euronics: mainly bricks and mortar stores. And of course, it’s the same story for our international partners like Suning and Gome in China. Our idea of distribution is not just selling products through online channels. We promote the bricks and mortar experience: the hands-on experience for consumers.

Please tell us about the move of the CE China show to Guangzhou.

The collaboration with the authorities in Guangzhou was one of the major reasons we decided to move to Guangzhou. It is one of the most traditional trade show cities in China. They have been successfully doing shows there for over 50 years – primarily dedicated to export. The difference with what we are doing is that we are trying to promote an import show of interest to Chinese retailers and consumers.

Next to the exhibition site itself, it is important to have the right timing – just after IFA – which is the perfect time frame for enabling the markets to be ready for the end of the year season, when more than 40% of the entire year’s sales for electronics will be done. In China, there is also singles day, which is a very big buying time.

Photo: Dirk Koslowski, IFA Director