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All China Leather Exhibition reports energetic opening day

Sep '09
The 11th All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE) kicked off in a buoyant atmosphere yesterday at the Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre. Organised by APLF and the China Leather Industry Association, the 3-day event (1 to 3 September 2009)is being held concurrently with finished-product fairs China International Footwear Fair (CIFF) and Moda Shanghai.

Exhibitors at ACLE are showing the latest in innovation and production technology. Paradoxically, while it is one of the oldest manufacturing industries in the world, leather is using the latest technologies. For its first showing in Shanghai, Italian company Praktica' newest inkjet printer uses nano-technology to penetrate and print on every material, crystal, ceramics, leather and metal included, without prior treatment and with a perfectly smooth aspect.

Another product launch is the software-based Samia Color system from Italy, which automates the process of pigment formulation in a more accurate way than done manually.

Said returning ACLE buyer Kitty Zhou of Harrison Group, from the Foreign Purchasing Department: "Product varieties are wider than last year and all the good quality domestic and international exhibitors are here. I've met many suppliers offering a broad range of components along the leather supply chain."

As in previous years, ACLE 2009 has attracted participation from international players such as Italy, Brazil, Spain, Turkey, Japan, India, Germany and Taiwan, who exhibit alongside China's domestic suppliers.

ACLE is a good indicator of China's leather industry at large. The sector faces a business outlook that is far less bleak than the scenario it confronted last year. Speaking on the opening day, Su Chao Ying, Secretary General of the China Leather Industry said that since May orders have began to increase for both raw material and finished goods, as companies are now restocking depleted inventories. It seems that after months of cost-cutting and cash conservation, the priority is once again gearing up for growth and that the future indeed looks brighter.

There is positive news that growth has returned thanks to massive global government financial stimuli and economical measures such as export tax rebates. For example, in China the export tax rebate on leather footwear and bags increased to 13% from 11% in December 2008.

One of the driving forces behind this positive move is the upholstery sector for the automotive industry. China's car industry is experiencing a sales boom.It is estimated that it could reach 10 millions sales this year alone. Chinese drivers seems to favour leather upholstery. According to Jonathan Muirhead, from Bridge of Weir, demand in Europe for leather upholstery for the Volvo S40 - a relatively small model - is 20%, while it is 100% in China (where it is assembled since last year).

ACLE, CIFF and Shanghai Moda is also hosting a series of fashion shows and seminars, including the much-anticipated "Changes in the Hide and Leather Industry" forum held, where top players in the industry are expected to discuss key global issues affecting the leather business.

APLF Limited is a joint venture between UBM Asia Limited and SIC SA, Paris and is managed in Asia by UBM Asia Limited.

APLF Limited

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