The sixth edition of Asia's biggest textiles event-the ITMA Asia CITME 2018-promises to break its own earlier record in terms of both size and scale. Subir Ghosh presents a curtain-raiser.

A hundred thousand visitors is a big number for a trade show, especially when most of them were ones making a frantic beeline to attend the event as business visitors. That's how big the last ITMA Asia CITME 2016 at Shanghai, China was. The latest edition of the bi-annual five-day event that gets under way on October 15 at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in China's biggest city and commercial hub is expected to relegate those numbers to the history books.

It is, to bluntly state the obvious, one of those #MustVisit trade events for the global textiles-apparel fashion industry. Not only because it is being held in China, the world's biggest player in the theatre, but also for the reason that what's on display today well indicates which way the industry would be headed in the next few years.

Of all the investments made in the textiles-apparel-fashion industry, those in machinery are the biggest. For that very reason, investments are hardly ever for the short run. Those putting in the money are there for the long haul, and those manufacturing the machineries are people either setting trends for the future or are those who know which way the ball will roll. And given that in today's time, technological advancements take place at such a furious pace, making the right machinery choice becomes critical to a textiles-apparel company's future.

All Roads Lead to China

By the middle of the first decade of this millennium, China had well entrenched itself as the manufacturing hub of the world. It also formed the core of the global textiles-apparel industry. So, when it was announced in 2007 that the biggest event of the industry, ITMA, was tying up with CITME for a mega machinery show the next year (christened ITMA Asia CITME 2008), it was reckoned to be the perfect blend for customer-supplier interaction. The official announcement itself put it clear: "The partnership brings together the technological power of the CEMATEX countries in Europe and the massive market for textile innovation provided by Chinese textile producers."

The 2007 announcement had described it as the only Asian exhibition to have CEMATEX and CTMA support. It was meant to keep "the momentum created by the two previous ITMA Asia shows in Singapore, in 2001 and 2005. And it now dovetails with the four-yearly ITMA shows in Europe, to form a global calendar of premier textile machinery events. ITMA Asia CITME 2008 is scheduled to be staged every two years and details are currently being discussed for the 2010 edition."

It was, for sure, a meeting point of European technological prowess and Chinese production capabilities-certainly so at the time. But this was no session of closed-door parleys. So, the event assumed enormous significance for the global textiles-apparel industry. And over the years, this has only grown. If you are in the industry, you cannot afford to give it a miss.