The unknown parts show
The Chinese motorcycle parts show that everyone needs and no one goes to
Report by David McMullan
Every year at about this time I write a report about up-coming motorcycle exhibitions in China as the ‘expo season’ approaches. Attending and studying these expos is a reliable way of gauging the improvement or regress of the Chinese motorcycle industry for the last year and can prove to be an oracle of future predictions. The exhibitions that are widely reported on are the China international Motorcycle Trade Exhibition (CIMAmotor) and the biannual Canton fair.
Some years ago I noticed that a new (certainly new to me) motorcycle parts exhibition, the China Motorcycle and Parts fair had come to Chongqing. At that time I was entertaining motorcycle industry guests from Uruguay so I suggested to them that we have a look at this new show. As I had never heard about this expo (and you would think that I would have done) I didn't hold much hope of presenting my Uruguayan friends with anything of interest for their business, but as we had no other plans that afternoon we decided to attend. After leaving the expo the Uruguayans had decided that they now had all the information they needed from their China trip (for which they had planned 5 days), all collected in one afternoon! This expo had exhibited every part of every model made in China, and more! Millions of parts, thousands of accessories, thousands of visitors, but not a single foreign visitor except for my good self and the Uruguayan party I had taken there. Fast forward some years and that expo still exists. It opens twice a year in varying cities around China (oh how I’d hoped they would settle in Chongqing at least once a year) and still makes no effort to attract foreign motorcycle parts importers (anyone who follows my articles will be aware that I am often critical of the Chinese motorcycle industry’s marketing abilities, this expo is no exception). The expo’s name is a bit of a misnomer as when I have attended there have been no full units of motorcycles to look at except for some ‘blown up’ Harley Davidsons that a company was selling parts for. This expo specialises in parts, accessories and lubricants in a very non-fussy way. Since that time I have recommended the expo to parts importers (if they are in China at the time) and the few that have attended this ‘secret’ event have been more than satisfied.
Raj Thakrar of Orange Imports from Cambridgeshire was typical of those complimentary about the expo. He reported “I have a long established Chinese motorcycle parts company and thought that I had seen everything (in terms of motorcycle parts expos, shows and displays) there is to see in China. Over the years I have been a regular visitor to Canton fair and CIMAmotor in an effort to get the best quality and prices for Chinese parts and also to expand my stock and selection. One time I just happened to be visiting Guangzhou and my parts contact there informed me that there was a parts fair opening the next day. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much, I thought it would be a small affair with a few stands so I was mightily surprised when I entered the exhibition hall. The place was huge and filled with stands as far as the eye can see. Each stand was filled to the brim with motorcycle parts, there was no design to the stands just mountains of parts, and it was like Christmas come early to a parts dealer. My initial intention was to have a look around in the hope of finding a company that specialises in connecting rods; I didn’t expect the selection I was presented with, in fact there were so many stands displaying so many con-rods it almost made it difficult! ”
Juan Pedro Reyes of Motomeg in Honduras commented “one of the best aspects of this expo is that it just features motorcycle parts and accessories without the entire spectacle that you get with other Chinese expos. There were no scantily clad ladies draped over the stands or blaring rock music (which is sometimes so loud that it is almost impossible to do business), in fact many exhibitors hadn’t even put a minute’s thought in to stand design, they just piled the parts on every inch of the surface, it was exactly what I needed to see to help my business run smoothly.”
The China Motorcycle and parts fair is a real surprise. If I had to make a criticism it is that not many of the exhibitors speak English so it is essential to take a translator. Also, the organisation of the stands is a bit messy, you find yourself having to dig through mountains of metal but many kind of like that sort of thing. There are also very few places for relaxation or refreshment as they seem to utilise every corner of the expo centre; every square yard seems to be filled with bits of motorcycle. I have no official connection with this expo, in fact I have no idea where it is going to be held from one year to the next (they have a website but I won’t even bother sharing it with you as it doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2012) other than that the next one is in Guangzhou in November but anyone wishing to find out more information on it should drop me a line and maybe we can all go there together!