FHC China 2008

With a middle/upper class market currently estimated at 250 million and expected to double to 500 million by 2015, demand for imported and high quality food and wines in China are growing rapidly. When you add to this mix tourist arrivals topping 100 million per annum, boosted by major events including the Beijing Olympics 2008 and World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, it come as no surprise that international food and wines exporters are rushing to establish market share in this booming economy. An indicator of the growing interest in this market by international companies is the number of National and Regional food and wine marketing groups that are joining FHC China 2008. According to the organisers China International Exhibitions, CIE, a record 26 national and regional pavilions have already registered to participate for the 12th edition of this food, wine and hospitality trade show from 4-6 December 2008 in Shanghai.

The 2007 edition of FHC attracted 786 companies from 40 countries. "Advance bookings by companies and groups to-date indicate that the 2008 show will exceed this number" says Renee Lu, Communications Manager for CIE. Billed as the largest and longest running imported food and wine exhibition in China, FHC has been a measure of the progress within the food & hospitality industry in China for the past 12 years. From 1993 and the opening of the first foreign owned supermarket in China and few star rated hotels, to the present day with over 800 foreign owned supermarkets across the country plus 10 times that number of Chinese owned supermarkets. In addition, a HORECA market (hotel, restaurant and catering) growing at 20% per annum. According to the China National Tourism Authority, CNTA, there were 14,000 star rated hotels in operation at the end of 2007. The CNTA report that 200,000 new hotels, resorts and guesthouses will be built by 2015. While the WTO forecast China will be the No. 1 tourist destination in the world by 2012.

Spain had the largest pavilion last year with 140 participating companies and have already booked again for FHC China 2008. The Spanish will show a range of wines, olive oils and uniquely Spanish specialties. Through the offices of the Italian Trade Commission, ICE, are for the first time exclusively supporting FHC above any other event in China. By concentrating all marketing resources behind one major promotion at FHC China 2008, the ICE group is expect to equal the size of the Spanish pavilion. "We are going to organise several supporting activities in order to make the Italian Pavilion as successful as possible" commented Maurizio Forte, Italian Trade Commissioner, Shanghai. Parma ham, which was first approved for import to China in 2007, will be highlighted at FHC China 2008 along with Italian, wine, cheese, gelato, confectionery and bakery products.

New groups this year include national pavilions from Ireland and Belgium. The major USA pavilion supported by the US Agricultural Trade Office returns again to FHC China. This year the USA group has three new regional pavilions including companies from SUSTA, representing the Southern States, MIATCO, representing the Midwest and Atlantic States and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. New Zealand and Germany both will return with groups to FHC and have doubled the size of their pavilion bookings from the areas taken at the 2007 show. "Very good feedback from our exhibitors. We look forward to taking part with an even larger group next year" commented Dr Jan de Graf, Chief Representative China for CMA, the German food marketing board.

The Tea & Coffee Space at FHC China 2007 proved such a popular platform for the specialist companies marketing their products that it will return in 2008 with even more companies covering a larger area. A central feature of the Tea & Coffee Space was The Ultimate Barista Challenge, a competition featuring National barista champions from USA and China.

Another addition to the 2008 show will be the 1st China Canned Food and Ingredients Expo. Organised by the China Canned Food Association, this will be a unique platform for Chinese manufacturers of canned fruit, vegetables, meats and sauces to face the domestic and international trade buyers attending the fair. The canned food expo will be supported by the Annual General Meeting for the China Canned Food Association and a China wide meeting of canned food distributors.

The FHC show gets bigger every year in response to the rapidly expanding market for imported food and wines. The organisers forecast demand for space at FHC China 2008 will again grow this year by a further 15% taking the show to a total area of 34,500 square metres. Plans for even more national pavilions offering new products are currently being finalised from South and Central American countries, confirming the status of FHC China as the first choice for international food and wine companies entering the China market.

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