Chinese exhibitors at the world’s motorcycle exhibitions
Report collated by David McMullan and Sean Kerr
Last month I wrote about the Chinese motorcycle industry’s inability to market their products in an original and affective manner. They do however, exhibit at almost every motorcycle exhibition in the world. Attending professional trade shows is a best way for Chinese motorcycle manufacturers to promote their brand and gain overseas orders (there is after-all very little brand recognition to be had from re-badged motorcycles). The number of motorcycle and parts trade shows in the world is great, and their qualities and influences vary. ChinaMotor Magazine sends reporters to the 4 corners of the earth to cover these expos and also to report on the experiences of Chinese companies attending them.
Chinese motorcycle industry historian Winston Guo has a long history of attending EICMA and Intermot. “EICMA 2013 was the 71st show and in terms of its scale and professional quality, only Intermot can compete with it. Many Chinese manufacturers choose to release their new products at EICMA as it attracts an international audience; this is especially true of the companies that produce bikes with EURO certificates of conformity. Chinese manufacturers are more likely to exhibit at EICMA during odd years as it seems to be much more effective then, this is probably due to the affect INTERMOT has on the expo. Last year 7 manufacturers had to take scooter models out of display as they were deemed to be Vespa copies.
The bi-annual INTERMOT held in Cologne, is another very influential trade show that is heavily populated by Chinese manufacturers including many electric scooter and bicycle manufacturers who see it as a route into the European market.
The number of Chinese enterprises at the show took up a big percentage of floor space but many Chinese exhibitors have complained that they have been ‘marinalised’ in terms of getting the best positions at the show.
Minnie Xiang was at Moscow’s MOTO PARK. “Russia’s MOTO PARK is the most important motorcycle trade show in Eastern Europe and has enjoyed great popularity despite the outbreak of the global economic crisis as Russia has become one of the most important target markets for Chinese motorcycle enterprises for both parts and whole units. Chinese motorcycle products such as scooters made in Taizhou, ATVs and dirt bikes made in Yongkang and Jinan Qingqi motorcycles are all sold well in Russia and many of the giant Chongqing companies are greedily looking at the market. However, imported motorcycles face difficult customs clearance meaning that the exhibition products of some motorcycle enterprises couldn't make it to the show causing a great loss to the exhibitors. Chinese motorcycle enterprises also encountered the same problem. After a couple of slow years the Russian economy has gradually recovered and motorcycle and parts demands on the Russian market were soaring between the end of 2011 and 2012. Many Chinese motorcycle enterprises from Taizhou and Jiangsu re-entered the market with great success causing Chinese motorcycle enterprises to begin to aim at East European markets (including Ukraine) with renewed vigour. If the customs clearance problem can be thoroughly solved, the influence of MOTO PARK will be greatly improved and become a must-attend for Chinese brands.”
Zo Fu has been a regular visitor to Dealer expo through the years. “The America Dealer Expo has been held 45 times and is one of the oldest professional motorcycle trade shows in the world. This trade show aims at North American dealers, especially dealers in the United States of America. The modern Dealer Expo puts most of its efforts into promoting motorcycle parts and accessories and related services with the result that Chinese motorcycle manufacturers tend to pay less attention to this trade show. Chinese motorcycle enterprises have a strong desire to exhibit at Dealer Expo but until recently have been powerless to gain dominance of the market due to America's strict rules and regulations. Due to this the number of Chinese motorcycle enterprises on Dealer Expo is gradually decreasing. In recent years, Dealer Expo has seen the constant decrease of its scale, the number of exhibitors and professional visitors overall. In my opinion, as America's most internationalised motorcycle trade show, Dealer Expo will see a great increase of its influence if it adjusts its positioning properly in terms of actively trying to attract Chinese exhibitors rather than taking a frankly ‘snobbish view’ of the world’s biggest motorcycle industry.
Another new trade show is the joint show of AUTOEXPO Africa in Kenya and the AUTOEXPO Tanzania. Dusty Jiu reports from the Dark Continent. “In recent years the East African market has been China's most important market in Africa excluding the five major West African motorcycle importing countries (Nigeria, Togo, Benin Ghana, and Burkina Faso). This joint show attracts the attendance of motorcycle manufacturers from Chongqing, Guangdong and Jiangsu and has popularized the Chinese made Wuyang CG and Suzuki King motorcycles. However, this joint show is still small in scale, and is still in the stage of early development so the number of exhibitors is small causing many enterprises who attended the show to reconsider next year’s projects. This region has huge market potential, but lacks a professional trade show that can be trusted to attract the right visitors with professional marketing. With the right organisation this expo could represent all of sub-Saharan Africa and become one of the most important exhibitions for Chinese brands; unfortunately this doesn’t seem likely to happen.”
Mike Cai reports from one of China’s (especially Chongqing’s) essential markets- Latin America. “When motorcycle markets in other parts of the world continue to remain gloomy, the Latin American motorcycle market is active. The biggest motorcycle trade show in Latin America is Brazil’s Salao Duas Rodas, which is held every other year. Salao Duas Rodas is highly professional and influential. It attracts the attendance of purchasers from most Brazil’s surrounding countries. The representative exhibitors at the show include Brazil Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Harley-Davidson and Ducati; and Chinese brands - China Zongshen KASINSKI, Jialing TRAXX, and DAFRA. Due to the soaring motorcycle parts trade volume in Brazil in recent years, Salao Duas Rodas attracts the participation of over 100 Chinese motorcycle enterprises. As there is no other trade show in South America like Salao Duas Rodas in scale and professional quality, Salao Duas Rodas is fast developing into the seminal motorcycle trade show Latin America.
Colombia’s Feria de las 2 Ruedas is a relatively new expo which has been held 6 times. Even though it is relatively small in scale and it is not as influential as Brazil’s Salao Duas Rodas, Feria de las 2 Ruedas attracts the attention of many Chinese motorcycle manufacturers and trade companies as Colombia is an important target market of Chinese motorcycles and parts. Colombia enjoys huge motorcycle usage with both commuters and leisure motorcycles high in popularity and the Feria de la 2 Ruedas always bustles with noise and excitement. Feria de las 2 Ruedas mainly aims at the Colombian market but its influence is (from what we saw at the 2013 show) spreading as number of visitors from surrounding countries (especially Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela) was quite high. As many exhibitors predicted, Feria de las 2 Ruedas is developing fast and is becoming the second biggest professional motorcycle trade show after Brazil Salao Duas Rodas in South America. If it can further internationalize itself and attract the participation of exhibitors from other Latin American countries (as well as American and European marques) its influence will continue to grow. Many middle-sized Chinese motorcycle manufacturers are now considering investing their marketing budgets at this expo at the expense of EICMA and Intermot.
The Mexico Expo Moto had been an important trade show in Middle America and the Caribbean region before 2009. Three big purchasers (ITALIKA，CALABELA，ISLO) of Mexico attracted the attendance of many large Chinese motorcycle enterprises from Chongqing, Taizhou, and Guangdong. Even though the number of purchasers is relatively small, purchasing deals amount to many millions of dollars. Mexico Expo Moto is an important exhibition platform that enables Chinese motorcycle enterprises to enter Middle America and the Caribbean region although this expo has been losing ground due to the continuing success of Brazil’s Salao Duas Rodas which is threatening to eclipse all of Latin America’s expos.”
To conclude, the appeal of Intermot and Eicma, which are Europe's two major trade shows, is still great due to their time-honoured popularity and influence, despite the fact that the European economy is gloomy and the fact that Chinese exhibitors have felt that they haven’t received value for money regarding prime positions. All leading Chinese motorcycle manufacturers consider these expos a must although some of the smaller companies are choosing to spend their marketing budgets on the growing Latin American exhibitions instead.
Brazil is one of the few quality motorcycle markets in the world that has seen positive growth and it has great market potential for the Chinese; as a result, Salao Duas Rudas has become the biggest and most professional motorcycle trade show in Latin America and a must for Chinese motorcycle companies especially exporters of spare parts.
In Europe it is Russia’s MOTO PARK which has become the most profitable expo for Chinese exhibitors as it begins to extend its influence to other Eastern European countries, especially those that do not require EURO certificates of conformity.