11 February 2021
Lockdowns and international travel restrictions have created difficulties for all industries, including trade fairs in all business sectors across the globe.
APLF has successfully organised and launched three Virtual Exhibitions – with the focus on Greater China; the Indian Subcontinent, and Africa & Middle East from 20 January to 4 February. Each Virtual Exhibition was held in its respective time zone with the aim of catering to the local buyers meeting with the new and existing suppliers around the world. A total of over 100 exhibitors have been participated in these Virtual Exhibitions.
The importance of these Virtual Exhibitions is borne out by the fact that they received support from national associations such as the China Leather Industry Association (CLIA), the Council for Leather Exports for the Indian Subcontinent, Leather Apex and the Leather Export Council of Egypt for the Africa and Middle East. For the Africa & Middle East event, the recently elected President of the International Council of Tanners (ICT) and the Executive Director of the Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI), Prof. Dr. Mwinyikione Mwinyihija participated in the webinar programme.
As both buyers and exhibitors were to discover, there was no hassle to buy air tickets, book hotels or ground transport. APLF Virtual Exhibitions were accessible from your office or home computer.
The Virtual Trade Exhibitions
Three Virtual Exhibitions had successfully attracted over 8,500 visits. Each of the three Virtual Exhibitions had a different target audience depending on the needs of the industry of that country or region.
For example, the Greater China event attracted buyers from finished products manufacturers looking for high quality leather, alongside domestic tanners and furniture manufacturers looking for crust.
In the case of Indian Subcontinent, there were tanners looking for chemicals and machines as well as distributors and traders looking for leather.
Africa and Middle East were somewhat different as there is an abundance of raw materials in that continent, but tanners need expert and technical advice on chemicals and machinery offering the opportunity of a strategic alliance with western firms with the latest technology.
Generally, exhibitors found the virtual platform user-friendly and easy to handle.
FILK, Germany – The system is appropriate, good features, handling was rather simple.
Karaca Deri Sanayi, Turkey – I made some potential contacts and spoke to prospective customers.
Curtume Natur, Brazil – I would say it surprised me positively. The platform was well designed, trying to make the connection between exhibitors and visitors as easy as possible. The support team that connected exhibitors with buyers was incredible, always looking for the best way to connect the parties, and even with the time zone, it was possible to make good contacts. The fair was another event that showed us how we can overcome and do differently.
Purchaser of PORTS – It is rewarding to be able to contact the leather suppliers directly through this online exhibition, which provides resources for the development of our business in the future. The one-on-one business matchings helped a lot.
Buying Team of Belt Fashion – The virtual exhibition was interesting and clear. It was very nice and structured to have business matching meeting like this. Everything was well prepared.
A total of 21 webinars had been organised, which included a presentation by Leather Naturally; overview of the US leather sector; at the India event, there gathered 30+ Indian leather and footwear leaders and at the China conference the Secretary General of CLIA Chen Zhanguang presented an analysis on the current state of the China leather and footwear industry.
At the Africa & Middle East event, ICT President, Prof. Dr. Mwinyikione Mwinyihija, gave a talk titled Preview of the Status of Environmental Management in the Leather Value Chain in Africa.
All webinars replay are avaliable on Virtual APLF website:
Greater China: virtual.aplf.com/china/#webinarreplay
Indian Subcontinent: virtual.aplf.com/india/#webinarreplay
Africa and Middle East: virtual.aplf.com/africa-and-middle-east/#webinarreplay
Digital events are now part of a series of APLF’s tools to help the industry stay connected and generate new business opportunities. The fashion world designers are used to going online to attend webinars, meet colleagues and conduct new materials research.
Understanding the irreversible trend, over 100 exhibitors who are ready to embrace the online tools joined Virtual APLF over the last three weeks. Through the business matching services facilitated by APLF, both exhibitors and buyers were fully prepared to make the most out of virtual events and digital marketing.
APLF will soon announce new initiatives that aiming at serving the leather and fashion industry on a global scale.
The next APLF events in Hong Kong will be held on 5- 7 July 2021 and the ACLE in Shanghai will be held on 31 August to 2 September 2021.