Volume 41, Issue 11 - November 2006


Seismic Shifts

The biggest story at this year’s show in Las Vegas (see our story starting on page 92) was the very noticeable increase in the number of exhibitors from China. Thirty-five companies—just fewer than 8 percent of all exhibiting companies—were from China. Still more exhibitors were actually Chinese companies that had already set up U.S. operations and thus had addresses here and were not included in these statistics.

And while some may be tempted to credit the excellent marketing efforts that the show’s organizers have put forth to attract Chinese exhibitors, this is due to more than marketing. It is a staggering statistic signaling a seismic market shift.

In the past, if you wanted to sell a Chinese product, you had to make a connection with someone, either by going to China or by working with select distributorships. This will be less the case in the future as many Chinese companies are coming to sell to U.S. customers directly.

Some, like Jiuzhi Xue of Naxellent Mirror, have come to the United States and put down roots—in Xue’s case in Colorado. Naxellent Mirror offers technology that creates glass variable transmittance, variable reflectivity and infrared heat-blocking properties. “We are trying to get our name known and find interested manufacturers,” said Xue. “The product has garnered a lot of interest.”

Others bring the products that U.S. companies seek for reasons of shortages or price. Asia Aluminum had a very large display offering aluminum for reasonable prices. The company’s booth was one of the most popular in the 100 aisle, where many of the Chinese companies were.

Suppliers need to be ready for the changes in the market. It is no longer coming. It is here.

Invariably when I write an article like this, people think they know what I personally think about the emergence of China as a glass industry force. I recently got a chance to hear journalist Tim Russert of Meet the Press speak. He said he knows he has done a good job interviewing a politician when half the people he talks with afterwards tell him he was “too easy” on said politician, while the other half tell him he was too hard on him. “It’s amazing to me how everyone reads an opinion or listens to an interview with their own beliefs in place and superimposes them on my comments. My job is to report without bias, and to not have an opinion.”

So is mine. 


P.S.: All the best wishes from our entire staff to you and your families (personal and professional) for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

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