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CIFF 2019 Guangzhou

I just landed at Terminal two of Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport just in time for the 43rd CIFF (China International Furniture Fair). Phase-2 which is mostly for commercial furniture exhibitors. The first thing I noticed was this shiny new hi-tech terminal with face recognition capabilities and lots of smart technology integrated around the airport. This has to be good, China has come a long way since my last trip to the country 12 years ago.

Huge Marketplace

Upon arriving on the exhibition grounds, I find myself in a maze of stalls, space, and people. Honestly, I am lost and don’t know where to start. Much has changed since my last trip and the crowd is enormous. It’s like the whole of Asia converged in one place looking for the best bargain to trade into their home countries.

After getting a map, I was able to find my way. Day one is basically just a meet and greet with some of my old friends and past suppliers. We hang out for an early dim sum nearby and talked about how things have changed over the years. As most of us would do, we tend to relax and take it easy on the first day. To focus and have more energy for the next day.

Day Two

Its time to get serious and look into new China made products with more attention to detail and quality. Act like an end-user scrutinizing every particular item that interests me.

“In the process of looking into this office furniture, I noticed something interesting. I’m having fewer questions about quality and more into design and functionality.”

In as little as a day, I was able to notice the difference between the China of the past & today. They are already catching up on western products. And while the UK & EU is talking about Brexit and the US is focused on getting rid of Trump. China is moving towards steady progress and without us noticing it. They may even surpass the western powerhouse in the years to come.

China is no longer just a factory of the world, they are also coming out of their own with better machinery, manpower, training and quality control provided by their western counterparts. They are having their own brands and better marketing strategies for their new products, the booths are enormously big some occupying more than tens of thousands of square feet with an army of salesperson entertaining every customer.

Day Three

By this day i am now convinced that quality is no longer an issue.

“They have progressed past this stage and I am now looking at something original, creative and one that I have yet to see from other exhibitions overseas.”

This is where I still find them lagging behind. Most are just mere copies with a few enhancements and combinations, others are just bad designs. Personally, I can say they still lack the thinkers and the talent that can create something with a better design and functionality. Where one can say that “How come they can think of that…” The wow factor that you can only see in Orgatec, Neocon, Workspace Expo & Milan.

It’s a Wrap,

By the end of the exhibition, I just have a realization. A wake-up call that consumerism has already given rise to China. Majority of Asians still prefer price over quality and design and this has given them the purchasing power. Now that China already overcame the quality issue. They may have hired and paid good designers well enough to work in their factories. To create better designs and functional furniture.

It’s just a matter of time and a few more future trips to the CIFF, to see better ideas rivaling those from the west.

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