Foodservice Equipment Reports

SHOW REPORT: HOTELEX Hits The Big 21

In spite of concerns about a slowdown in Chinese economic growth, it was a very busy Hotelex this year, the 21st running of this annual equipment and supplies-only trade show. Foodservice Equipment Reports, a media partner of the show, has attended most years since 2005 and the growth during that span has been impressive.

Officially called the Shanghai International Equipment & Supply Expo, Hotelex attracted 83,538 professional visitors from 124 countries during the show’s four-day run April 9 to 12, according to figures from UBM SinoExpo. Show reps said domestic attendance was up 43% this year, as affiliated groups such as the China Tourist Hotels Association and provincial and regional hotel and tourism groups worked to bring purchasing managers and others to the show en masse. International professional visitors reached 3,377.

There was plenty to see as 1,245 exhibitors showed their wares in 110,000 sq. m. of space. And Hotelex was co-located with eight other exhibitions related to hotel construction, engineering and design, including buildings dedicated to lighting, décor, cleaning equipment and supplies, hotel furnishings and the like. The combined exhibitions, dubbed Hotelex + Design + Deco, covered 350,000 sq. m. at the Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre.

Hotelex attracts E&S manufacturers, as well as distributors, from throughout the world. Some come to display their products to this fast-growing market. Others come to source products from Chinese manufacturers, hundreds of whom exhibit at the show.

Many of the big American, European and Japanese brands exhibit, especially those tied to the big U.S. and European restaurant and hotel companies. At least a dozen big U.S. companies, as well as many of the leading European and Japanese brands also have manufacturing facilities in the country, many in Shanghai or industrial cities such as Suzhou, Hangzhou and others within a couple hours drive of Shanghai. We visited Suzhou factories owned by A.J. Antunes, Hatco and Henny Penny during our time in China.

The show also is working to expand its programming. A Forum on China Hotel Design, Engineering and Innovation was sponsored by the China Tourist Hotels Association. The Foodservice Consultants Society Int’l.’s Asia/Pacific Division helped put on a program “Low-Carbon and Eco-Technology in the Foodservice Industry.” FSCI A/PD Chair Clara Pi and He Yi Zhoa from the Shanghai Restaurant Association were among the presenters; they focused on energy savings in kitchen equipment and sustainability throughout foodservice operations.

In ferreting out products to cover at the show, we focused our efforts this year in two directions: 1) Products from American companies manufactured in China for the Chinese and other worldwide markets; 2) Products from Chinese companies we didn’t know well. We found several new products introduced first at Hotelex.

Next year’s Hotelex Shanghai is scheduled for April 8-11, 2013.

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