Paperworld China demonstrates its effectiveness as a business platform
The curtains came down on another successful edition of Paperworld China, with stakeholders from across the paper and office supplies industries commending the fair as the ideal place to generate new business and learn about the latest retailing models. The three-day fair, which took place from 22 – 24 November 2018 in Hall 1 of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), was also applauded for championing unique and original stationery products.
Now in its 14th edition, the fair was held under the new theme of “Stationery trends. Tomorrow’s office” and was split across 23,000 sqm of exhibition space into four zones dedicated to ‘Stationery and Hobby’, ‘Tomorrow’s Office’, ‘Quality Suppliers’, and ‘Oriental Products’.
Visitor numbers rose 15% from the previous edition of the fair, as a total of 26,868 trade visitors converged at the show to search for the latest forward thinking designs and innovations. For many of these visitors, the fair was not only a great place to connect with Chinese suppliers, but also an ideal platform to meet quality international brands. Overall, 499 exhibitors from 16 countries and regions participated at the fair.
Ms Judy Cheung, Deputy General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd, spoke about how this year’s edition of the fair was ideally situated to serve the market’s requirements: “Younger generations are now becoming the dominant consumer group for stationery. The warm response to the fair’s themed areas, such as the ‘Stationery and Hobby’ zone and the ‘Small yet Beautiful’ showcase demonstrates that Paperworld China is catering extremely well to this demographic. Original stationery has also been a big hit among buyers at this edition, and we are proud to have done our part to promote original and unique designs through the Best Stationery of China Awards and the new ‘Design’ area. In terms of generating new business, the positive feedback from exhibitors is testament to the fair’s effectiveness as a platform for suppliers to connect with quality buyers and increase their brand exposure.”
Original stationery and new retailing models spotlighted at ‘Small Yet Beautiful’ showcase and new ‘Design area’
A number of themed zones and areas at this year’s edition of the fair fulfilled a variety of sourcing needs and attracted thousands of buyers to the aisles of each zone.
The ‘Stationery and Hobby’ zone was awash with visitors and the returning ‘Small yet Beautiful’ showcase was a hive of activity, with buyers sampling a wide range of stationery, gift and lifestyle products from leading brands such as Beifa, Guangbo, Mindwave, Simbalion and ZIPIT.
Not only was the 250 sqm showcase a great place to find new stationery items, but it was also a window into future retail trends. With younger generations beginning to have a greater influence on buying patterns, many stationery stores have been redesigned to offer an improved overall shopping experience. The showcase addressed this trend through a café area, unique methods of product presentation, and an interactive art station.
Ms Xu Feng, the owner of Shenyang Aofeisi Shangmao Ltd, spoke about how visiting helped her to find the latest trend setting products for her retail stores: “The fair hosts a wide variety of suppliers, from well-known brand names to small and medium companies, and plenty of cultural and creative products. It caters to buyers with all kinds of different sourcing needs. I have exchanged contacts with around five to six brands from China, Japan and Germany, and will find out if there is room for cooperation after the show. The set-up of the ‘Small yet Beautiful’ area brings a new and in-depth experience to visitors. It definitely helps visitors to understand the current diversified sales patterns.”
Original brands were an important part of the 2018 show and a spotlight was placed on the increasing standard of unique Chinese stationery design through the ‘Best Stationery of China Awards’. The awards took place the day before the show and a wide selection of entries were on display to visitors during the course of the fair. Some of the highlights included unique bookmark designs from PaperPlay and Sozencreate, ladybug styled miniature scissors from Guangzhou Qiwen Business Development, vegetable and fruit themed kitchen timers from Hangzhou Hechuang Culture Products, automatic pencil sharpeners from Shanghai Han Shu Industry, and a selection of fashionable travel logs, daily planners and diaries from companies such as Chenzao, Kokuyo Commerce, and Shenzhen Comix Group.
Shandong Orange Paper was one of the winners at the awards with its uniquely designed paper globes. The General Manager of the company, Ms Jiang Shaoying, spoke about how the awards helped to raise awareness of their unique design and attract trade visitors to their booth: “The organiser has featured our brand on its social media platform, and our stand has been constantly swarming with visitors. The fair enables us to meet agents and industry players who are pioneering new retail business models. We have met many professional buyers from both mainland China and abroad and have received the most up-to-date information about the industry. We will definitely participate again.”
The company was one of many emerging brands exhibiting at the new ‘Design’ area, which offered original brands the chance to showcase their latest designs and increase their brand exposure. Unique products could be found at the area from brands such as AIT, Card Lover, Douban, Ggem, Happihood, Honorscent, Orange Creation, Tsnow Stationery, Whitehole, and Xiaolin Creative.
‘Quality Suppliers’ and ‘Tomorrow’s Office’ zones connect exhibitors with the most relevant cross-section of buyers
At the ‘Quality Suppliers’ zone, exhibitors benefited from the fair’s high visitor flow as plenty of opportunities were taken to make new business contacts. Umajirushi, a Japanese company and first time exhibitor at Paperworld China attended to boost its exposure and competitiveness in the Chinese market.
Mr Telon Syu, Chief of Overseas Trading & Purchasing at the company, spoke about how exhibiting at the zone allowed the company to connect with quality buyers and generate new business: “We are amazed at how effective the fair is, as we have already received around 10 orders in the first two days. The visitor flow is excellent and we have received a lot of positive and encouraging feedback. The fair has provided exhibitors with the latest information on the industry, which is very helpful for devising targeted marketing strategies.”
Another Japanese company exhibiting at the zone, Mindwave, returned to the show to capitalise on the huge potential in the Chinese market for their specialised journals. Ms Gu Jie, a representative of the company, agreed that the show is an excellent avenue for foreign suppliers to find large Chinese distributors and retailers: “We see tremendous potential in the journal market in China as nowadays journals are very popular among teenagers and young mothers. Paperworld China is the right place for us to penetrate this market. From our first participation last year, we obtained leads from distributors and large-scale retailers. This year we are meeting them again and also new ones.”
At the ‘Tomorrow’s Office’ zone, Paperworld China proved itself to be a great place for visitors to meet with suppliers of modern office equipment. In co-operation with Sunon Group and Zhejiang Growin International Exhibition & Convention Co Ltd, a dedicated showcase allowed visitors to find new electronic appliances and desktop equipment for modern office settings.
Mr Kenny Zhu, Sales Director of Sunon Group talked about how the zone was aligned with modern office trends and how exhibiting at the zone allowed the company to gage customer requirements: “The concept of tomorrow’s office is forward thinking. In line with this, we have launched a series of office furniture which is equipped with smart devices, such as wireless charging stands and remote controls. The fair is definitely a great platform for us to meet potential clients from all over China and get first-hand information regarding customer demands.”
Seminars, workshops and dialogues illuminate newly developing trends
Running alongside the fair was a series of educational events that brought together experts, designers and industry leaders to share new ideas and insights on a range of important topics.
The subject of the evolving retail landscape was a recurring theme at the ‘Sino-Japanese Book Stationery Industry Summit Forum’, which examined ‘open’ retail environments that can also be considered as cultural spaces. Led by industry experts from China and Japan, the forum used case studies of Japanese retail outlets and also examined the merging of book and stationery retail.
Speaking about how the well-received forum allowed industry players to deepen their understanding of overseas retail models, Mr Guoji Ding, General Manager of Shanghai Yinling Brand Consulting said: “The retail market has undergone many changes in recent years. More integrated cultural spaces and stores that are popular online have been set up all over first and second tier cities in mainland China. Through this forum, industry players can learn how overseas’ business models work, discuss how to create retail stores with unique cultural elements, and discover new ways of boosting profits. The result is very encouraging. The visitors were professional and have raised deep and meaningful questions. I will definitely come and host other forums at Paperworld China again.”
Mr Ding’s positive sentiments about the meaningful exchanges of information that took place at Paperworld China were also echoed by a fellow speaker, Mr Toru Okuizumi, the President of the Japanese company Toukou bros, who said: “The platform has provided us with a good opportunity to communicate and exchange experiences and information with each other, and has also allowed us to learn about current developments and trends in China. I believe both event speakers and attendees can draw on the experiences gained at Paperworld China.”
The next edition of Paperworld China will take place in November 2019.
(Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd)