34,822 people from 51 countries attended this year's China (Shanghai) International Boat Show
It will take some time for the dust to settle and for organisers, exhibitors and visitors alike to decide whether this year’s China (Shanghai) International Boat Show was a success or otherwise.
As far as visitor numbers are concerned, it should come as no surprise if, pre-show, numbers were expected to be down on last year with two primary reasons to expect this drop, but the pundits who thought this would be the case were clearly wrong.
By a peculiar coincidence the Shanghai Formula One Grand Prix fell on the same weekend this year and with a bright sunny day on both the Saturday and Sunday, long queues could be seen on the highways heading to the circuit, so a natural source of visitors for both events was split between the two.
Secondly, and with a deeper seated impact in visitors to Shanghai in general, was the current worry of Bird Flu, particularly in the part of the country that has Shanghai at its heart.
However, in spite of the competition and the health concerns, both of which took visitor numbers away, CIBS 2013 saw an increase of 10 per cent in visitor numbers to just under 35,000.
To be precise, 34,822 people from 51 countries visited around 500 exhibitors, including a growing number of national pavilions with this edition of the show attracting representation from Italy, Australia, the US, Spain, Taiwan and the UK. Amongst the boats on display there were around 50 making their first appearance in China with a number of those being revealed to the world for the first time.
Such is the ever growing importance of the show and that it is the place to be seen in Chinese boating circles that it saw visits from Ferruccio Rossi, Group CEO of Ferretti, Tim Kuck, COO of Regal Boats from the US, Bjorn Ingemanson, CEO of engine makers Volvo Penta, and Knut Frostad, former team skipper and now CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race to name but a few.
Also present was China’s top ocean sailor, Guo Chuan, who just six days before the show commenced completed a record breaking circumnavigation of the planet, becoming the first Chinese sailor to circle the globe single handed in the process.
It would appear from exit surveys that more visitors were better prepared prior to coming to the show indicating more serious visitors rather than just people lost for something to do.
So once again the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show matched or exceeded the growth rates being experienced by the country as a whole, healthy in anyone’s calculation.
Although too early yet for a correlation of business transacted, feedback from exhibitors ranged from that of those finding it interesting what was happening here in China through to some dealers not just finding interest in one boat but in some cases fleets of boats. Particular interest was apparent in smaller boats, perhaps signaling a market shifting towards not just the very rich to the middle classes who are also being tempted to get on the water – that can only mean a potential increase in the growth of boating in China.A wealthy city with (clearly) thousands of interested citizens, more exhibitors by far than any other show in Asia increasing the opportunities for potential owners to compare, a vast covered airy exhibiting space – why would you want to go anywhere else?