U.S. Stores Trawl ShanghaiMart Fair

SHANGHAI — The three-day 2005 ShanghaiMart for Spring Women’s Apparel Fair wrapped up last week with both excitement about the nonquota world...

SHANGHAI — The three-day 2005 ShanghaiMart for Spring Women’s Apparel Fair wrapped up last week with both excitement about the nonquota world and concern over its impact.

The fair, which ran March 21-23, was organized by ShanghaiMart, one of the city’s first exposition centers, in cooperation with the Dallas Market Center, the Guangdong Association of the Garment and Garment Articles Industry, the Fujian Province Costume and Finery Association, the Jiangsu Federation of Industry and Commerce Garments Chamber and the Shanghai International Merchandising Center.

Richard Chen, vice president of marketing at ShanghaiMart, said the fair attracted 3,000 visitors in its first two days, including some 300 international buyers from 15 countries. Companies attending included Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s, Gap, Ann Taylor and KarstadtQuelle of Germany.

ShanghaiMart plans to make the fair a regular, biannual event; the fall 2005 fair is scheduled for Oct. 24-26.

There were 117 mainland Chinese women’s apparel producers exhibiting last week, with the goal of increasing their business with Western retailers. Liu Junquan, chief executive officer of ShaXi Hi-Fashion Manufacturing, which participated in the fair's first edition last fall and also has a permanent showroom at ShanghaiMart, said both times were very valuable. The Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province-based ShaXi manufactures women’s formal wear — 95 percent of which is for export, primarily to the U.S. — at a factory employing 1,500 people.

Liu and other exhibitors said the fair was useful primarily for networking, while orders would follow after retailers visited the factories. Guo Bei, production and trade department vice manager of Sanyou Group, described the fair as “extremely well-managed”compared with most trade fairs they attend annually. The 50-year-old Sanyou Group, in Nantong City, Jiangsu Province, employs 5,000 and produces entirely for export.

Special events during the fair included several fashion shows, primarily of participating exhibitors, and an international forum on March 22 titled “Trade and Buying in the New World of Women’s Apparel,” jointly organized by China Textile and the Dallas Market Center. It featured talks by Thomas Burns, senior vice president of Doneger Group; trade lawyer Roy Delbyck; Larry King, director of Li & Fung Shanghai, and Wei Lin, vice chairman of the China National Garment Association.

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