Domotex Asia/Chinafloor, the largest trade show in Asia Pacific, opened its doors stronger than ever in Shanghai, welcoming flooring professionals from all around the world.

After three years of closed borders and a challenging business environment during the pandemic, more than 60,000 professional visitors from China and the world were expected to visit the three-day event, July 26-28, 2023, and experience the latest products and innovations in the industry. The show hosted 1,600 exhibitors and brands in an overall exhibiting space of 200,000 million square feet in seven halls at the National Exhibitions and Convention Centre (NECC).

"People are genuinely happy to connect," said Gilliane Rietveldt-Palmer, director, communications and marketing for i4F, a group of companies providing patents and technologies to the flooring industry that exhibited at the show. "It is a friendly and focused atmosphere, with a lot of attention to innovations and new value-adding technologies."

"We had a really good first day of the show with many visitors and good discussions," said Laetitia Kimblad, director BU Floor Locking for Välinge Innovation Sweden. "In general, it’s a pleasure to be back in Shanghai after so many years!"

"In terms of attendance, it was very positive overall," said Jerome Nurenberg, director of marketing, CFL. "We originally didn’t expect the attendance to be very strong on the international visitors side, but we were pleasantly surprised. There were many more people than we expected."

Show attendees comprised mainly Asian visitors‚ this time not only from mainland China but also from Vietnam, Thailand and some from Japan and Taiwan.

"There were very few Americans who made the trip," Nurenberg said. "Those that did though were very excited about our facilities in Vietnam, which have had and are still currently undergoing big upgrades, so it still allowed us to spend some quality time with a few U.S.  partners."

Rietveldt-Palmer noted many visitors from Europe, manufacturers, retailers and distributors from South America and Australia, and product sourcing professionals from U.S. companies. 

Rietveldt-Palmer added that this was the first Domotex Asia that members of i4F’s management, outside of the China team, could attend since 2019.

"Of course, with an i4F office in Shanghai, continued contact and face to face meetings with our licensees and prospects was continuous, even during the pandemic," she said. "For others at i4F, who were unable to visit China for a few years, the opportunity to meet licensees in person again, talk business and catch up on new technologies has proved invaluable."

Exhibitors Showcase Innovations

CFL used the exhibition to showcase its quick-ship programs along with several resilient flooring technologies. The company's Firmfit matte coatings provide a natural look and improved surface performance in endurance, deep scratch, micro scratch, slip and stain resistance. The new Tenacity Eco-Composite Flooring is made up of up to 89 percent post-consumer recycled waste, with a recycled core that is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials. 

"We also experienced a lot of positive feedback on our waterproof wall tile solutions," Nurenberg added.

I4F used Domotex Asia as the platform to announce initiatives, including a new partnership with Exterpark for outdoor decking (see Floor Trends coverage here) and a partnership with Hesse-Lignal (see Floor Trends coverage here), giving i4F exclusive licensing rights for a unique technology delivering  deep pore protection on wooden surfaces.

The company also showcased its innovations in the areas of drop-lock, surface finishing, digital printing, process, wall and ceiling and board composition technologies, such as AquaProtect which protects laminate-core HDF boards from water surface swell.

The company recently rebranded its CeraGrout technologies, which offer the look of rectified ceramics with a grout without the inconvenience linked to real ceramics. Recently, Huali Group companies signed license agreements for CeraGrout and i4F drop-lock technologies (Read the story on Floor Trends). 

Rietveldt-Palmer said that demand for digital printing continues to surge, and the company recently signed an agreement with Barlinek for the use of i4F digital printing technologies and Hymmen digital printing and digital embossing equipment. Barlinek is installing the Hymmen digital printing line at its facility in Poland and is expected to begin SPC production in Q4 2023. 

Välinge reported that several of its licensees launched additional collections at the show featuring 5G fold down installation system, including those in patterns such as herringbone and chevron. Some companies also launched new collection with 5G Dry in resilient and laminate products. The company's 5G dry technology a leakproof joint that improves water-resistance in its 5G Fold Down technology.