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AI interview with Jason Cao, General Manager of Messe Frankfurt Shanghai Co Ltd.

Covering an area of over 100,000 square meters, Automechanika Shanghai is Asia's largest trade show for automotive parts, equipment and service suppliers

The fifth edition of Automechanika Shanghai will be held between 9 – 11 December 2009. Despite the recessionary trend of the global automotive industry, the show has already managed to attract over 2,000 exhibitors from 21 countries/ regions including Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, UK and USA. 

Covering an area of over 100,000 square meters, Automechanika Shanghai is Asia’s largest trade show for automotive parts, equipment and service suppliers.

This year’s show will attract leading repair and maintenance manufacturers including Bosch, Corghi, Dali Equipment, Ever-Eternal, JinHua Industrial Group, Launch Tech, MAHA, MAXIMA and Snap-on. US company Snap-on is one of the leading global innovators and manufacturers for diagnostics, equipment, tools, software and service solutions for professional users. It sees huge potential in China’s after sales market because vehicle sales remain strong and the country is entering into a phase of quality repair and maintenance. Leading auto parts and components exhibitors include Affinia Group Inc, Hangzhou Westlake Automotive Spare Parts Group Co Ltd, Sumitomo Wiring Systems Ltd, Wai AES Transpo, Wanxiang Group and many more.

The automotive market is upbeat about China because auto sales in the country are booming. Sales in the first half of this year have already made China the world’s largest automobile market and the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) believes that this could be a lasting trend. Investment banker JP Morgan has said that China is currently at the start of another auto sales boom that is being stimulated by rising incomes in third-tier cities such as Xian and Chengdu. The repair and maintenance market is also being propelled by an upsurge in car purchases. According to the CAAM, the auto output and sales in China set a half-year record high in the first six months of this year. 

From January to August this year, China’s auto sales reached 8.33 million units, up by nearly 30 per cent while 8.25 million vehicles were produced in the period, up by 27 per cent compared to last year. The growth is being attributed to a series of government stimulus measures to boost domestic consumption. CAAM predicts that China auto sales in the second half of 2009 are likely to touch a figure of 11 million-plus. 

Automechanika Shanghai is one of 13 global Automechanika fairs held in Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Africa. The show is organized by Messe Frankfurt which is Germany’s leading trade fair organizer. 

Automotive Industries spoke to Jason Cao, General Manager of Messe Frankfurt Shanghai Co Ltd. 

AI: What is the focus of this year’s Automechanika Shanghai? 

We have a few highlights at the show this year. We have special zones dedicated to showcases for electrics and electronics products, engine components, hardware and tools, spraying equipment and materials, car care products, accessories and service outsourcing. This helps buyers to better focus on the products and services they are looking for.

In terms of participation from the exhibitor side, more than 1,500 quality Chinese manufacturers have confirmed their participation and many of them come from important regional automotive production hubs in China, including Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Guangdong, Anhui and Fujian. We also have several countries/regions pavilions – Germany, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, USA, together with Singapore and Spain participating for the first time.

AI: What are some of the events at this year’s show? 

We continue to offer a series of informative fringe programmes including Automechanika Academy, Matchmaking Forum, Product Presentation, International Forum and Showcase of Service Outsourcing in the Manufacturing Industry, Automobile Maintenance Equipment Dealer Convention and Forum on Auto Repair Industry, Summit of China Auto Electronic and Electrical Appliances Industry and Cross-Straits Forum on Low & Zero Carbon Automotive Technology. Some of these events are organised in collaboration with the leading research institutions and trade associations. These events will not only provide the latest market information to the audience, but also offer a valuable networking platform to industry players. In addition to making business contacts on the exhibition floor, I highly recommend exhibitors and visitors to take this opportunity to update themselves with the latest market intelligence and industry developments.

AI: Tell us a little about the line up of speakers at various conferences that are part of the Automechanika Shanghai fair.

We have many prominent industry speakers in the fringe programmes. To name a few, we have invited Mr José Galetto, Service Business Unit General Manager of Comau China, Professor Song Yunchang, General Manager of Sinopec Lubricant Company and Professor Li Wuwei, Honorary President of Shanghai Management Science Society and Vice-Chairman of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference to speak at the 5th International Forum and Showcase of Service Outsourcing in the Manufacturing Industry. The forum will focus on discussing “The Service Outsourcing Strategies and Practices of Chinese Large Manufacturing Enterprises in the Financial Crisis.”

AI: What has been the mood among exhibitors signing up for the show?

The global economic downturn hasn’t made an impact on exhibitor participation at this year’s show. Surprisingly, we’ve had an upbeat and encouraging response from the exhibitors and have increased the exhibition space from eight to nine halls, in order to accommodate the record high 2,000 exhibitors. Since its inception in 2004, Automechanika Shanghai has been achieving new records every year. This has reflected the fact that the automotive market in China is growing fast and full of potential. 

AI: How many visitors are you expecting and what kind of changes are you making in the facilities?

As China’s automotive market is on the rise, we are quite optimistic about visitor participation. We expect an increase of 15 – 20% over our visitor numbers (30,845) last year. These visitors will come from more than 100 countries. In terms of facilities, we have put up the product information of some selected 300 exhibitors on the show website for the buyers to have a glance of what to expect at the show. Buyers can also search for exhibitors’ information by company names, products and location on our website 2 months before the show opens. This enables the buyers to make advance planning for their meeting schedule and make the show visit a more effortless one. Such systems will also be installed at the exhibition halls. 

AI: What is it about China that makes Automechanika Shanghai such a big draw?

China’s auto market is growing rapidly while the world market is slowing down. Total auto sales for the first eight months of 2009 rose nearly 30% year on year to 8.33 million units, as boosted by tax cuts and subsidies as part of the government’s “Automotive Industry Adjustment and Revitalisation Plan”. China’s position in the global automotive industry is becoming very important, while overseas suppliers are planning to enter or expand in the Chinese market, local manufacturers and suppliers have also placed a lot of emphasis to the domestic market. The international brand ‘Automechanika’ is well-known to the world’s automotive industry and thus draws many quality Chinese and overseas suppliers and buyers gathering at Automechanika Shanghai every year

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