12th CIPS 2008: Interview with Yang Cheng

China's rapid economic growth is reflected by the development of the Chinese pet supplies industry. The People's Republic of China currently has some 100 million pets, and the trend is still upwards. The import of pet supply articles from abroad is booming. The Chinese spent 5.63 million US dollars on imported goods in 2007, which was four times more than in 2005. Particularly popular are quality goods from Germany and other European brand products, such as food from Royal Canin or dog beds from Bastis. So excellent prospects for the 12th China International Pet Show (CIPS) and its organizers, China Great Wall International Exhibition and Nürnberg Global Fairs, to expand its position again as Asia's biggest pet supplies exhibition. The display area in the Beijing Exhibition Centre in Peking has already been extended to 30,000 square metres to cater for the rush of exhibitors from 6-9 November 2008.

The following interview took place with Yang Cheng, President of the Chinese organizer China Great Wall International Exhibition, who has worked in the exhibition business for over twenty years. In addition to the organization of CIPS, she heads the Chinese representation at Interzoo, the international exhibition for pet supplies that takes place every two years in Germany.

Ms Cheng, how important for your work is the cooperation between China Great Wall International Exhibition and Nürnberg Global Fairs?

We have the same ideas and plans in terms of the development and orientation of CIPS in the coming years. We also want to offer exhibitors and visitors the best possible service.

The Chinese pet supplies market is growing. 100 million pets in China, three million of them in Peking alone, and steeply rising figures are expected in the next ten years. Over 70 per cent of Chinese city-dwellers can imagine looking after a pet. What are the reasons for the explosive development of the Chinese pet market?

One reason is certainly the rising standard of living of the Chinese population due to the rapid economic growth of our country, which has persisted for some years now. The Gross Domestic Product is increasing continuously. People with more money can afford pets. There are many successful married couples in China who have concentrated on their career for many years and have no children. Pets are very popular with them. Another reason is the one-child policy, which the Chinese government has applied for several decades to curb the growth of the population in China. The family is still very important in our appreciation of values and pets enlarge the family as it were.

What pet products are especially popular among Chinese pet owners?

The standard repertoire includes food as well as beds, toys, training equipment and toilets. The main trend is health products and perfumes for the four-legged friends. The Chinese have been very interested in aquaria products for years.

The pet supplies market is no high-tech market. Can Europe compete with the Chinese producers?

European producers of pet supplies are very successful on the Chinese market. Some 70 per cent of the Chinese buyers purchase pet supply products such as food, clothing and medicine in Europe, because the quality is convincing. Many Europeans are currently expanding their production and setting up locations in China.

Whose idea was CIPS?

I visited Interzoo for the first time in 1996 and liked the special orientation of the pet supplies exhibition to the needs of the producers and their partners. This was how the idea of CIPS originated.

The pet supplies market in China is huge. What makes exhibiting in Europe worthwhile for you?

We started the overseas market in order to gather valuable experience and now concentrate on the domestic market. Our continuous presence as exhibitors at Interzoo in Nürnberg is intended to make European exhibitors aware of CIPS and encourage them to exhibit in Peking.

What are your impressions of the German market?

The German industry's potential is tremendous. The pet supplies market in Germany is growing rapidly, without the varied products from the German producers suffering any loss of quality. Whereas imports and exports are roughly balanced in Germany, China is still very heavily dependent on imports from other countries.

If you look back on your many years of experience, what differences exist between the German and Chinese exhibition market?

The differences used to be bigger. Today, both exhibition markets are very modern and internationally orientated, but each market does have its special cultural features.

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