Interior Lifestyle China, the China International Trade Fair for Household Products and Accessories proved once again that it offered the most professional and business platform for the mid-to-high-end interior market when it attracted a record number of exhibitors and visitors.

Organized by Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Ltd, the 17, 825 sqm show took place 10 – 13 October at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre, Shanghai. It featured 248 exhibitors from 15 countries and regions – Brazil, China, Denmark, Greece, Iran, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, together with pavilions from Germany, France, Italy, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Commenting on the show’s success, Mr Evan Sha, General Manager, Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd said: “This year we attracted 10 percent more exhibitors than last year and the total visitor figure was 16,725 from 35 countries and regions. Of these there were 15,591 trade visitors and this was a substantial 18 per cent increase compared to the 2011 show.  The show’s popularity is unmatched with local and international brand exhibitors and quality buyers. All regard our show as the only professional business platform for mid-to-high end lifestyle brands in China.” 

Exhibitors impressed by quality of buyers

First time exhibitor Brabantia International bv from The Netherlands produces housewares for department stores and high-end specialty shops and is setting up its own business in China, having previously used a distributor.  Mr Stefan Kersten, the company’s Sales Director Retail commented: “Department store managers visit this fair and this is where I can reach out to our target group and make a statement that we are in the market.  We have had three or four good interviews with influential department stores from Shanghai and outside of Shanghai.”

Another first time exhibitor, Mr Neil Hughes, Managing Director of UK company Dartington Crystal, said his booth received tremendous interest in their Dartington Glass, Caithness Glass and Royal Brierley Collection products from department stores, distributors and retailers. “We have been inundated with interest,” he explained.  “We came to the show on the recommendation of another exhibitor who said if we were seriously interested in the China market, then this is where we should exhibit. I am very happy with the visitor quality and in the first two days we have had at least 60 to 70 good leads.”

Italian exhibitor Mr Pietro Zani, Export Manager for Zani Serafino s.r.l. has been exhibiting at the show for three years and says it has helped heir business greatly.  “China is a large market and we are investing and developing our products,” Mr Zani remarked.  “It’s very important for us to meet buyers and department store general managers as we are opening shops within shops. It’s important for us to show the brand and let people know who we are.”

The Jules Pansu soft furnishings company from France agrees on the show’s importance to their business. Ms Marie-Thérèse Rojo, the company’s Export Department, said: “After we exhibited the first time we decided to exhibit again this year.  It has made a big difference to our business. We have an agent so we are looking for as many customers as we can in as many cities as we can such as department stores and decoration shops.”

Also hoping to break into the Chinese market was local company Galaxy Giftware Trading (Shenzhen) Limited, manufacturers of Germany’s Scneidteufel kitchen products.  Mr Jonathan Lo, the company’s director said he was looking for gourmet and specialty shop distributors.  “We are very happy as we have met some good potential customers here,” he remarked.  “We also met some exhibitors looking for a good quality product. I think China is lacking good quality local products as most are imported, so I think there is good potential, if like us, you have a good quality product made in China.” 

The potential of China’s fast growing middle class helped to attract German company Rosenthal to the show bringing several of its brands including Rosenthal, Versace, and Sambonet. Ms Stella Liu, General Manager, of local company Rosenthal Lifestyle Trading (Shanghai) Co Ltd said the company was exhibiting at Interior Lifestyle China for the first time as it wanted to develop a distribution system. “We have had some contact with potential customers and we will follow up after the show,” she added. “For visitors it is their first exposure to our brands. China is a very big market for the development of homewares so we are looking at this chance to grow Rosenthal more in this market.”

Taiwan Design Center and Capital Art Enterprise Co Ltd were also attracted to the show by the huge potential offered by the Chinese market. Exhibiting for the second year running the Taiwan Design Center featured 23 companies under the theme “Fresh Taiwan”. Mr David Lee, Director of the center explained: “We bring Taiwan’s original products to the show as this is the iconic fair for the industry in China. We want to introduce Taiwan lifestyle products to Chinese buyers, especially hotel representatives.”

Mr David Liao from Capital Art Enterprise Co Ltd was exhibiting his well-known Taiwanese brand ‘Gallery Chuan’. “China has potential
for lifestyle products as people here are getting rich, the houses are big and they start to look for decoration with nice design,” he commented.  “We are seeking for partners and we talked with good quality visitors like interior designers and hotel representatives. Our products are designed by artists and made by craftsmen and we believe there is no such kind of product in China at the moment.”

Long-term exhibitor Tayohya is in no doubt about how Interior Lifestyle China has helped to build their brand over the last five years.  Ms Susan Pan, Tayohya’s President said: “We thank Messe Frankfurt for giving us the opportunity to show Chinese consumers the concept of ‘better living’, and the chance to build up our own brands. Over the years, there are more and more quality brands joining the show which is helping to develop the Chinese homewares industry.”

Mr Zhang Bing Li, General Manager, Shanghai Janehome Decoration Co Ltd, China agrees about the show’s quality.  He said: “We are a loyal exhibitor because it is a high class trade fair and the image fits our company.  We are able to network with department store representatives, interior designers and homeware investors here. The lifestyle products sector in China is expanding as consumers are willing to spend more on lifestyle products.”

Mr Wayne Xiang, President of Chinese company LiKuai added: “At the show we communicate our concepts to our target consumers, like the department stores owners. The Chinese market is now more ready for luxury products. In the past, Chinese people only thought of product function and did not understand style and design. LiKuai offers products that improve the life of Chinese people.  By focusing on function, quality and design, we educate users about lifestyle.”

Several exhibitors were recognised in fifth annual Home Style Awards for their high-quality products:

Best Look
BK Cookware for Wokarang
WMF for WMF Carafe

Best Practical Use
Rosenthal for Nendoo/Solists
Laurastar for Laurastar Garment Care Solution

Best Green Style
Brabantia for the WallFix Wall-Mounted Dryer
Goodgoods for the Water-Saving and Big Pressure Multifunctional Water System

Visitors were impressed by what local and international exhibitors were showing. Ms Vicky Cui, a designer with Chinese company Shanghai Sunwin Industry Co Ltd, said: “The show brings design concept to China and changes our lifestyle. It also helps to raise the standard of the Chinese designers.”  Fellow Chinese visitor Mr Tanner Ren, Manager, Merchants Department, Guiyang Xingli Group Co Ltd added: “The show is a good channel for brands to display new products, and it’s true that the products here are top quality.” 

International visitor Mr Thomas Lindner, Head of Sales Far East, Seltmann Weiden, Germany was visiting the show to support one of the exhibitors.  He commented: “It is a very good quality show and my company was exhibiting here four years ago and between then and now I can see a really big improvement in exhibitors and product quality and the atmosphere. It’s a very nice show and I have a good impression of it.”

During the show, visitors were also able to enjoy various showcases such as Shine, Miji Art Kitchen, Outdoor Life Concept House, Store of Happiness, 24-hour Life and the Secret of the President. 

On Design Forum and other events prove to be a major show attraction

Capacity audiences attended all the sessions of the On Design Forum held during the four-day show.  Speakers included Ms Karin Wahl, a visual merchandiser from Germany and winner of the 2012 Best Visual Merchandiser Europe Award. She spoke about shop window design trends, how product displays can visually stimulate customers to purchase products and how to create show window themes. After her speech Ms Wahl said: “There was such a lot of interest from the audience who had many questions about all aspects of show window displays.”

Award winning German designer Mr Sebastian Herkner spoke about the appeal of product design.  He remarked: “The audience were very open minded and interested. I was very impressed by their thirst for knowledge.”  Other events were:

  • “How to improve storefront sales and profits through display and management” presented by Mr Adam Hu, Chief Executive Officer of Deco100 and a distinguished Chinese home furnishing lecturer.
  • “The creative economy must be organically collected with life asethetics” presented by Mr Hideyoshi Nagoya, head of Japanese company H concept.
  • The Bamboo as Medium Forum was hosted by Grand Design magazine editor Mr Gu Quing and focused on Chinese traditional handicraft and modern design.
  • Forum Horizons featured designers Tan Ching-Ching, Jamy Yang, Enrico Taranta and Shen Lan.
  • “Talents”, showcased the work of 13 young designers from China, Europe and Japan. "Talents" is one of Messe Frankfurt's most important global programmes which promotes original design.  Those taking part were: Kai Linke, Maria Volokhova and Nicole Bauer (Germany); Aliki Stroumpouli (Greece); Dan Namura and SOL (Japan) and Lan Tian, Li Zhiqian, Ma Junliang, Ran Xiangfei, Zhang Fei, Zhang Junjie and Zhou Chenchen (China).

Commenting on the ‘Talents” event, Mrs Nicolette Naumann, Vice President of Consumer Goods Fairs for Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH said: “Interior Lifestyle China will continue to invite several Chinese designers to Ambiente 2013, the world's largest consumer goods fair held in Germany, as well as to Interior Lifestyle Tokyo 2013.  We are happy to promote Chinese designers as we have seen how their work impacts positively on international design.”

Due to the continued expansion of Interior Lifestyle China, the 2013 show will be held on a new date and at a new venue, from 25 – 27 September 2013 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre, China.  For more information and photographs please visit