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 ACLE 2014 - A Thought-Provoking Fair for an Industry in Transition

ACLE 2014 - A Thought-Provoking Fair for an Industry in Transition




The 17th edition of the All China Leather Exhibition ended on Friday September 5th, after three days of intense, thought provoking meetings and networking between the various industry participants of the industry.

ACLE is held alongside the China International Footwear Fair and Moda Shanghai, bringing impetus to this annual, Shanghai held leather and footwear exhibition, the largest in Asia. More than 1300 exhibitors from 38 countries were the hosts to over 23,000 visitors.

Discussions about geopolitical, environmental issues and even debates about environment scientific terminology could be overheard along the alleys and in the booths of the fairs. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the consequent ban of Russian leather exports to the United States and European countries; the shortage of raw material in some part of the world and the close down due to upgrade, of leather facilities in China and other countries all have an impact on the leather industry in general and in China particularly. However, optimism was in order as the leather industry is as resourceful as ever and many exhibitors, from the chemical industry especially had come with solutions.

Generally speaking, the development of China’s Leather, Fur, Leather goods and Footwear industries has slowed down in the first part of 2014 compared to the same period of the previous year. Currently the China leather industry is concentrating on enforcing new environmental regulations which has led to the temporary closing of hundreds of tanneries in Hebei and other provinces. However, long term, such regulations are aimed at making leather production more sustainable and less harmful to the environment. “Upgrading has had an impact on the volume of leather produced in China this year, but we anticipate that after this transition period, the figures will recover by the end of the year when most tanneries reopen”, said Su Chaoying, chairman of China Leather Industry Association.

In Pakistan too, results of incentives provided by the government to tanneries for upgrading their facilities can be seen. One example is the Royal Leather Industries which is now able to reuse its wastewater through its own in-house treatment plant. Agha Saiddain, Royal Leather Industries’ Director Marketing said the company also produces chrome free leather, an achievement that earned Royal Leather Industries the IWAY Certification with the home furnishing company IKEA.

The growing role of chemical companies

Most international chemical companies have been playing according to rules for years. New, stricter environmental regulations are an opportunity for them to push their products beyond the required standards. Some companies for example, do not restrict their efforts to making products less toxic but they also tackle issues such as energy reduction and giving leather better durability.

“Environmental compliance is one of the main driving force of the development of the chemical leather industry”, said Lamberti’s Managing Director Asia Pacific, Giorgio Pagnoncelli. Lamberti’s 100% solvent free water based products Nova free was launched during ACLE.

The challenge for chemical companies is to develop new environmental friendly technologies that do not affect the quality of leather, indeed technologies and processes that enhance it, such as Stahl’s new Stahlite product that minimise the weight of finished leather while maintaining its full thickness. Stahlite allows a weight reduction of 15 to 35 per cent, depending on the leather article.

In these times of austerity, softness and lightness, bright finishes, rich colors and patterns, that enlighten our daily lives were definitely the trends revealed at ACLE,. “We work very closely with designers to understand trends forecasting and the fair is the best venue to see which patterns are catching fire”, said Sappi’s director of marketing, Rick Bentley. Sappi’s new collection of release paper includes textures of metal, concrete, stone and soil colors as well as all sorts of denim effects, while Henan Prospect’s latest designs for sheep skins and crusts include porcelain like white blue lotus, camouflage and Leopard.

International Presence

In the limelight since last year thanks to various international events being held there, Brazil registered a record participation with 24 exhibitors. Despite the absence of some tanneries, Turkey still boasted one of the largest pavilions. With total export numbers increasing by 12 per cent, especially towards Europe, and the 22 per cent increase of export of shoes in particular, Turkey has successfully managed its shift from being a supplier of semi-finished products to finished products. One of the highlights of the Turkey Pavilion and definitely the most visual and photogenic booth of the whole fair was the Leather Age Anatolia Exhibition, an interpretation of the many ancient civilisations that prospered on these lands. Designed by Hatice Gokce, a pioneering figure in men’s fashion wear in Turkey, the eight black leather-made, sculpture-like Anatolia warriors’ costumes attracted a nonstop admiring crowd.

Exhibitors quotes:

Rick Bentley, Director of Marketing, Sappi Warren, USA

“We have seen a lot of traffic from all the different sectors and regions, especially from South East Asia and the Pacific Rim. There was a good, well rounded presence from across Asia.”

Larry Liu, President, 3D bio-chem, China

“Leather is one of the main applications of our “anywhere application” biocide and mildewcide products. We participate in ACLE to get visibility.”

Pim Wilgenburg, Product Manager, Smit and Zoon, Netherland

“It is a nice hub to have our customers, our agents and our own people interact.”

Hunter Tait, Managing director, Tasman, New Zealand

“We have been participating in ACLE for the past 10 years. It perfectly suits our needs. It is convenient and successful”.

Adnan Alak, Atacan, Turkey

“We have had some trials orders which we are hopeful will materialise.”

Buyers quotes:

Simone Tortora, Business Manager, Leather and Textile departments, Eigenmann & Veronelli, Italy

“Italy does not have a fair for chemicals. Shanghai is a bit far from Italy, but ACLE is the only fair where we can look for chemical products.”

Paolo Cattapan, Consultants raw material, Rudsak, Canada

“I buy and source raw material for footwear and outwear. I am trying to get away from buying from Italy because of tax duties and logistic and to source from China. I found good alternative from Turkey and Brazilian commodities implanted in China.”

Qi SongHe, Hong Ye Chemicals, China

“This is the largest exhibition in China. Both the atmosphere and services are highly satisfactory, which help me a lot in terms of seeking business partners. I am here mainly for cowhides and chemical dyes, both of which can be found here at the exhibition and it is very likely I will place orders.”

Li WeiQiang, Leather Materials Specialist, The Well Leatherware Mfy. Ltd, China

“I have found many chemical raw materials here, which are very constructive to our production. Handcraft and machinery technology are very advanced too, and even cheaper than I have seen in other countries.”

Ceng BoHui, Associate General Manager, Quan Feng Chemical, China

“I can feel that the fair is growing year after year with a comprehensive variety of materials and customers from various industries, allowing me to meet some old customers. Generally the fair is well-organised, the service is professional and the exhibitors totally fit our needs.”


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