The up-coming All China Leather Exposition reflects a Chinese market in transformation, due to the new environmental guidelines introduced by the government
As ever, the 19th All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE) tradeshow, which will be held from 31st August until 2nd September, at the New International Expo Centre, in Shanghai, will provide a privileged snapshot of this country of staggering figures. The last tradeshow hosted more than 1100 exhibitors, including Chinese brands and a smaller number of overseas companies, with the attendance of over 23.500 buyers, most of whom came from the principal production provinces of the immense Asian continent. This year the exhibition area will cover a total surface area of 92.000 square metres, divided over eight exhibition halls, of which three are reserved for the tanneries, machinery and international chemical segment, while the remaining areas will showcase companies from the local market. An explosive market: according to the data of the China Leather Industry Association (CLIA), published in early march, in 2015 the country imported 740.000 tonnes of finished leathers (2.63 billion dollars).
An exorbitant figure that obliges the Chinese tanneries to import approximately 50% of its annual requirements of untreated and semi-finished leathers. A scenario that still remains positive (despite a slowdown in growth trends), which, according to the Chinese operators, is currently undergoing an enormous shake-up that will transform the entire leather industry and bring them up to level with European eco-sustainability standards. The clamp down enforced by the government on all the polluting segments of the industry (including, for example, leather processing throughout the entire production line) has led to the closure of many tanneries in
North China, who were unable to conform to the new standards on toxic emissions. This trend will continue, with the declared aim of conserving the environment and, above all, the (least declared) objective of making exportation of finished products much more desirable. To be clear, the intention is a commendable one. However, Michael Duck, Director of APLF, is cautious:
«We have no doubt that these policies are the right road to take. But after decades of under evaluating environmental issues, we will need to be patient before we see the concrete results of this change of direction»
This means that the exhibition at the end of August will provide a picture of a market in transformation, as Su Chaoying, President of the CLIA, also explains:
“China has entered a period of transition, with the economy shifting from investment growth fuelled by exports to a demand for innovation and the need to satisfy demand. This new objective represents an enormous challenged for the Chinese leather industry.”
Changes and challenges that will be reflected by the ACLE, which poses itself as a privileged platform for meeting with sector operators, sharing experiences, sealing new deals and exchanging information in a professional business environment.