PCI Magazine once again exhibited at ChinaCoat with Group Publisher David Lurie filing an exclusive report.

Michelman VP, Performance Additives, Howie Brecher uses the word "throngs" to describe the enthusiastic crowds attending ChinaCoat 2000. Using their new Visitor Management System, conference organizers report a total of 15,221 visitors (non-exhibitors) registered for the three-day event in Guangzhou, China — a two-hour train ride from Hong Kong.

Dressed mainly in suits and ties, and armed with cell phones, this record-setting attendance closely parallels the rapid growth of the coatings industry in China. For the first two-and-a-half days of the event, it was difficult to navigate the show floor because the crowds packed every square meter of the aisles. Booth personnel were kept busy for the duration of the show with visitors picking up technical literature and networking with the 415 companies represented at ChinaCoat.

Even when visitors left the Chinese Export Commodities Fairground which hosted the fifth annual ChinaCoat (see top photo), they were greeted by vendors passing out literature for a variety of Chinese companies. According to Chen Chunyan from Kelon Holdings, “the Chinese are anxious to buy or produce specialized coatings for products they are manufacturing.”

Multi-National Companies Represented

Many major U.S. and European chemical concerns like Dow Chemical, Air Products, Exxon Mobil, DuPont, Kerr-McGee, Degussa-Hüls, Lubrizol, BASF, Cabot Corp., Solutia, Troy, Micro Powders, Ciba, Rohm and Haas, and Reichhold, to name a few, exhibited with their booths staffed by their Asia/Pacific representatives. In addition, equipment manufacturers from around the world including Byk-Gardner, Netzsch, Draiswerke, Hockmeyer, Union Process, Italtinto, Inoue, Fluid Management, Q-Panel, DeFelsko, VMA-Getzmann and many others had their own staffs manning the booth (for a complete list, see www.sinostar-intl.com.hk).

U.S. representatives seemed most impressed by what they saw. Peter G. Pape, associate industry scientist for Silanes and Silicone Materials for Dow Corning, said, “I am most impressed by the high level of technology and product quality.” However, while there is still a wide variation in the quality of paint manufactured in China because of technical limitations, that is changing. U.S.-educated chemists are returning to China to represent global coatings manufacturers in China or to set up their own operations. They have the training in technology as well as the network of contacts to make a product that is competitive in a global market. In addition, U.S.-based coatings manufacturers came to China to explore licensing opportunities and the possibilities of setting up manufacturing plants in China. Even mid-sized U.S. manufacturers of paint and ink came to the show looking to rapidly expand their market.

Raw Material Distribution and Representation

James Shu, Shanghai Partners Co. Ltd., said, “As the Chinese market grows so rapidly, so does the raw material distribution business for the paint industry. For the less established companies from the west, the distributor is the key to reach the customers and serve them both technically as well as logistically.” He went on to say that companies like his Shanghai Partners work hard to build a very strong relationship with the local paint manufacturers. The logistic complexity in China as well as a language barrier will necessitate reliance on distributors, especially in the near future.

Attendees Eager for Information

As the leading international magazine attending ChinaCoat 2000, PCI had thousands of professionals stop by its booth looking for leading edge technical information. While the internet is beginning to gain popularity in China, less than 1% have access, so a magazine like PCI serves an important role.

WTO to Expand Coatings Industry in China

As the newest member of the World Trade Organization, the rapid ascent of the industry in China will only be enhanced. The Chinese today are far more self-confident and at ease doing business internationally than ever before. With more than 100,000 of China's brightest students studying in the United States or Western Europe, the integration of the Chinese economy into the western world will be enhanced. China represents an extraordinary opportunity for suppliers and manufacturers alike to expand and grow. Many companies, like the ones exhibiting at ChinaCoat, are making it happen today. One company selling micronized waxes said that the market was growing nearly 30% annually and that the Far East represented larger sales than the entire rest of the world. Therefore, it is not surprising that show promoters are confidently expecting ChinaCoat 2001 in Shanghai to be still larger and more successful.