27 July 2012
- report from Hosfair 2012, Guangzhou
|Colour-changing tables and chairs.|
The event at the China Import-Export Trade Fair Complex in Guangzhou between 28 and 30 June was the largest of its kind.
The event was hosted by major associations, including the Asia Pacific Hotel Supplies Association, the Guangzhou/Hong Kong/Macau (GHM) Hotel General Managers Association and other units, with the approval of the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation of the Guangdong provincial government.
Over 1,000 domestic and overseas companies exhibited some 30,000 hospitality products.
There were nearly 14,000 star-rated hotels in China up to last December, representing an increase of 130% over 2000.
|Visitors view hospitality supplies.||Exhibitors negotiating deals.|
The country sees the opening of 1,600 new hotels each year, with total investment approaching Rmb400 billion. Furthermore, the development of the hotel industry directly spurs growth in the demand for a wider range of supplies.
According to the latest figures published by the China Tourist Hotel Association (CTHA), there are 660 five-star hotels in China at present, while Guangdong leads the country with 98.
China has the world's largest production capacity for hotel supplies and Guangdong ranks top. Situated right next to Hong Kong and Macau, this burgeoning industry has a bright future, predicts Cheung Hon Chuen, Chairman of the Guangdong Hotel Articles Association.
China Tourist Hotel Association specialises in the production of embedded induction cooktops and electric hotpot tables for hotels and restaurants.
According to the company's Assistant General Manager, Li Gang, China Tourist Hotel Association has been in the supplies business for four years and its sales revenues have been growing at an annual rate of over 50% most recently.
Tian Yongggang, CEO of Shenzhen International SoluSoft Software Co Ltd, said his company has registered annual growth of between 30% and 40%. The firm produces computer software for hotels and restaurants.
Lu Hongbing, Honorary President of the GHM Hotel General Managers Association, has been working in the hospitality industry on the Mainland since the late 1950s. He said the industry at that time was a far cry from what it is today.
|Performance by models.|
The growing scale of Hosfair is proof positive of the hospitality supply industry's rapid growth. Hosfair Guangzhou has been growing in size at an annual rate of 30% over the past nine years, one of the fast-growing exhibitions.
The hospitality supply business is said to be very much in "sunrise" mode. These supplies are now consumed not just by hotels and restaurants but have found their way into ordinary people's homes.
Hospitality challenge from cheap knockoffs
Many exhibitors said they face a major problem of "knockoffs" in the market.
Foshan Shunde Yingshunao Electric Appliance Industrial Co exhibited a round table with embedded hotpot cooktops for individual diners. The table is made of hard wood and glass material.
|Dining table with embedded induction cooktops.||Sound system with retro decorations.|
According to the company's Deputy General Manager, Li Gang, the table is made of premium materials and the production costs are high because embedding cooktops involve complicated procedures.
Li was aware that some small enterprises are making cheap imitations of this product using inferior materials. The lower cost gives these knockoffs a clear price advantage and their presence in the market is affecting Yingshunao's sales.
Foshan Shunde Yingshunao Electric Appliance Industrial Co faces similar problems. It mainly produces decorative sound systems in the shape of retro gramophones, and many Mainland star-rated hotels are using its products to decorate their rooms. These gramophones can play nostalgic LP discs as well as CDs and DVDs.
Marketing Director Hu Shilin said these Canna brand products are not only practical but make good collectible items. However, their unique appearance also makes them victims of piracy.
Hu said small companies would buy a couple of its products, make replicas and sell them on the market. Such practices are hard to avoid, he admitted.
Different companies resort to different means to tackle the challenge from "knockoffs".
Li Gang said his company applies for patents every time it launches its newly-developed products and protects its rights by legal means.
Hu Shilin's company aims at brand promotion in addition to patent application. It's opened specialty stores in various parts of the country and uses anti-counterfeit labels.
Innovative and high-tech
Most people think of hotel supplies as nothing more than items relating to food, clothing and accommodation, such as bathrobes, stoves, mattresses and slippers. However, innovative and high-tech products were the true bright spots of this year's Hosfair.
Canna's Hu Shilin said his company's retro gramophones combine innovative technology with art. They put modern sound elements in wooden cases so that when the sound elements are damaged after years of use, clients only need to replace these with new ones without having to change the outer appearance or quality of the gramophones.
|A zodiac sign bar table made of scrap auto parts.||Many products to view.|
The tea table with metal zodiac signs displayed by Foshan Shunde Newfield Metal Products Co drew attention at the show. Wu Jie, who heads the company, pointed out that all products are made from scrap auto parts and are both practical and attractive.
Many innovative hospitality components and supplies were on display. These included automatic trash cans with touch-free sensors, commercial ultrasonic dish-washers, reusable transparent face masks, light boxes and stands using bamboo as raw material, and illuminated tables and chairs.
Lynn Lee, Marketing Manager with Qingdao HappyView Digital Media Co, presented her company's cloud technology multimedia systems for hotel guest rooms. She said hotels only need to install a server and equip each guest room with LCD televisions and set-top boxes to receive an iCloud service, watch TV programmes and films, control equipment and communicate with guest services.
|Cloud technology multimedia system for hotels.|
According to Lee, the use of high-tech service facilities will comprise a future trend. Her company would continue to develop hotel service terminals that link with mobile phones or tablet PCs.
SoluSoft Software of Shenzhen has developed management software for restaurants and hotels, including a wireless ordering system which allows diners to order food using tablet PCs provided by the restaurant.
|Fair grows in scale.|
from special correspondent Xing Ping, Guangzhou