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18th Annual Music China Largest Yet

Christian Wissmuller • November 2019Show Report • October 29, 2019

The 2019 Music China gathering was the biggest event of its kind yet. 2,414 MI vendors occupied 13 exhibition halls on the fairground in the Shanghai New International Expo Centre, with 122,519 visitors (up 11 percent from 2018’s 110,381) dropping by to check out the newest instruments and related gear. Organizers point to a notable increase in new exhibitors from the music education category. This year also saw a 15 percent increase in exhibition space for pianos and bowed instruments – due primarily to more interest from Chinese companies and European pavilions, such as Germany and Italy. Judy Cheung, deputy general manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, reflects on the event’s 18th edition: “We’re always incredibly excited when a fair is about to start and the four exhibition days have flown by. It was our biggest edition so far, and I was happy to hear that the quality of the show was not in any way influenced by its growth. This year’s expansion was reflected by a number of product categories. Next to the increase in the gross area for the piano and bowed sectors, there’s clearly more interest in everything that has to do with music education. This category could be found in two halls (compared to only one in 2018), which allowed us to offer a variation of traditional as well as less conventional ways of learning how to play a musical instrument. We also responded to the increasing interest by focusing on music education in a number of fringe program events.”

While show organizers offered no official stance and many suppliers on-hand declined to be quoted on the record, accelerating trade tensions between the U.S. and China was unquestionably a main topic of discussion and concern, offering a somewhat dour counterpoint to an otherwise vibrant and positive convention.

The 19th edition of Music China will be held October 28-31, 2020. Visit www.musikmesse-china.com  for more information.

Voices from the Show Floor…

“The Music China show only continues to grow in size and significance, and in its importance to our business. From what I understand the 2019 show was the biggest one yet with over 2,400 exhibitors. Every single type of instrument can be found there and there is even one exhibition hall is completely dedicated to traditional Chinese instruments. What is great about Music China is that it brings together so many different people from so many different countries; it’s a fascinating mix of cultures. Music is an essential part of the culture and music education in schools continues to grow and become more widespread and ever more sophisticated. Furthermore, interest in the saxophone as an instrument, is particularly high for a variety of reasons. The saxophone is a very popular instrument in China and is featured in a variety of locally popular music including traditional Chinese folk songs and their version of a kind of ‘smooth jazz,’ which is incredibly popular mainstream music. In additional to JodyJazz, this year we added an additional booth to showcase the new Chedeville classical products and both booths were incredibly busy each day. We were very pleased with the reaction to all our products at the show.

Music China is second only to the NAMM show in terms of importance to our business. Winter NAMM is still the #1 show – not only for the USA market, but for our business worldwide. This is where we meet with all our North American customers and also many from Europe and Asia. With NAMM at the beginning of the year, it’s the natural time to launch new products, and because of its location, it’s logistically easier for Asian, Canadian, Mexican, and South American customers to attend. The Music China show is now aimed squarely at the China market and stands on its own because of the size and potential of that market. It also attracts a lot of customers from Southeast Asia and Australia, and increasingly from Europe, which is another compelling reason to attend. We used to exhibit at Musikmesse but have not done so for the past two years. Most of our most important larger overseas accounts all now come to NAMM and so many of our smaller European customers simply no longer attend. We always consider going back to Musikmesse each year and if enough of these smaller customers started to attend again then we would most certainly exhibit there.

The only threat to this accelerating growth is in the China market due to the heightened trade tensions with the USA. Given the relatively ‘niche’ nature of the music products industry, we are not seeing any direct effect to our business due to the trade tensions at the current time. But we certainly were made aware of the discontent at the current state of affairs between the two nations and very negative comments regarding a certain U.S. President. It’s a major threat to our business and a great concern. A boycott of USA-made goods among Chinese consumers at the urging of the Chinese government is a real threat and one that would be very detrimental to our business.”

Colin Schofield

Vice President of Sales & Marketing

JodyJazz/Chedeville

 

“Overall the show was successful for TMP. We are starting to see [fewer] international customers at this show, but it is very strong for our domestic China business which is an emphasis for us. Some of the feedback we heard was that the Chinese market was down but the buyer interaction was not representative of that feeling.”

Tom Tedesco

Vice President of Sales & Business Development

The Music People

 

“Overall the show seemed well attended and busy. Although it did seem like many of our key partners were skipping this show and focusing on Winter NAMM. I think this is an ‘every other year’ event for many. I did not get to walk the show as much this year (busy! Good problem!) but what I did see seemed more organized and focused. I saw more known brands and less “trading company” brands. This is always an interesting show and with Frankfurt out of the picture for us it is really the place to do much of our international business now.”

Scott Thompson

Vice President of Key Accounts

The Music Link

 

“It’s both exciting and encouraging to witness the optimism of a growing show in person. I take that as an indicator of a thriving musical environment full of people with an appetite for music and the instruments we create. One of the more interesting observations echoed by veterans of our industry was the apparent shifting of the tide away from China as a mere producer of export instruments, but as a destination market for instruments created elsewhere brought into the country to satisfy the demand of players in China. The music scene and appetite for western instruments is growing, and we see this as an opportunity to serve ever increase numbers of guitar players.”

Andy Powers

Partner

Taylor-Listug, Inc

 

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