The industry’s anticipation for Paperworld China’s return has been met with an enthusiastic response, as evidenced by a strong visitor turnout and high praise from participants. The three-day show attracted 28,906 visitors. Spanning 17,000 square metres of exhibition space, the show featured more than 316 exhibitors from 11 countries and regions. The positive sentiment also extended to the show’s relocation to the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Centre from 17 – 19 November 2023, where Paperworld China significantly amplified its end-consumer engagement through the introduction of B2C elements.
This year’s strengthened B2C approach elevated the fair’s status as a platform catering to the needs of both businesses and end consumers. This strategic shift included the move to a more accessible fairground, the incorporation of interactive events, and a substantial investment in social media promotion aimed at engaging end consumers.
“The show’s successful return has provided an exceptional platform for industry players to rekindle momentum and explore the immense potential within the markets for stationery, office supplies, hobby, arts and crafts, and trendy consumer lifestyle goods. This year, we are thrilled to have included end consumers in the show. Their invaluable feedback on products at the fair has served as first-hand market intelligence for exhibitors, guiding them in the right direction for product design. Meanwhile, participation from leading manufacturers highlighted fresh designs and innovations, allowing channel players and end consumers to discover the latest market trends,” remarked Judy Cheung, Deputy General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd.
Exhibitors capitalise on B2C approach
Despite palpable enthusiasm from many first-time visitors, Cheung stated that it was exhibitors who reaped the most benefits from the increased focus on B2C business. “These advancements have brought about a significant transformation in the dynamics of Paperworld China. The integration of B2C elements has helped exhibitors reach a broader audience, and through this more comprehensive platform, businesses can now more effectively engage with their target customers, ultimately driving sales and reinforcing their brand presence in the market.”
“Our booth has been very busy,” said Zheng Yuchao, General Manager, SenPoo Culture Communications. “This show not only attracts industry insiders, but also many end users who want to know more about our journal items and accessories. I look forward to meeting more of them over the coming weekend because it definitely has a positive influence on our brand building efforts. We’re also pleased with the opportunity to collect useful contacts from small to mid-sized retailers and distributors, and meet with many of our old customers from the Shanghai and Jiangsu regions.”
For many exhibitors, the chance to get direct-from-market feedback on their latest products was invaluable. Yu Suzhen, founder of Kinbor, a cultural and creative lifestyle brand, shared her view: “With the show strengthening its emphasis on trendy and cultural goods, we’ve taken the opportunity to display various original and co-branded IP products. This year’s show is open to end consumers, which also allows us to reach more of our Kinbor fans and stationery enthusiasts. Their feedback is very important to us.”
Expressing similar sentiments was Han Qiang Sheng, Foreign Trade Manager for Cixi Superstrong Stationery Manufacturing, “We’ve had the pleasure of interacting with many dealers of art painting materials as well as art students and enthusiasts eager to learn about our products. Whether it be business customers or end users, their needs align with our offerings. I’m grateful for the opportunity to gather their insights, as this will help us improve our products and better strategise for the future. I’m delighted that Paperworld China has invited visitors from both ends of the spectrum to this edition.”
While B2C business was firmly in the spotlight, exhibitors cherished the opportunity to connect with major B2B trade visitors, including international distributors, retailers and wholesalers.
“As a long-term exhibitor at Paperworld China, we are delighted to use this platform to reconnect with industry players and showcase our new Snowhite products. On the first day, we’ve already welcomed customers from Mexico and some Southeast Asian countries, showing a high level of interest in our products. The inquiry rate at our booth is also remarkably high. This year, the show has introduced trendy and cultural items, which aligns perfectly with our product development direction. Paperworld China continues to adjust its positioning to cater to the latest market trends. This puts us in touch with more suitable buyers,” said Deng Wei, Marketing Manager, Qingdao Changlong Stationery.
Recently, Inrik has also been proactively incorporating trendy elements into their products to cater to the tastes of students and white-collar workers. Speaking of the effectiveness of the show, Xu Renbo, Deputy General Manager for Zhejiang Delijia Stationery, explained, “We have met with many customers from stationery stores, wholesalers, and retailers, as well as some end consumers familiar with our products who are interested in learning more about our newest offerings.”
Revamped product zones provide targeted sourcing opportunities
Dedicated zones and pavilions were strategically arranged to provide a multifaceted show experience for visitors. One notable addition was the newly launched Zakka Shop, which featured over 20 manufacturers proudly presenting and directly selling their own branded products to visitors. The Twenty Pro International Brand Pavilion stole the show with its impressive line-up of renowned international brands from France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Norway. The Journal Event was a bustling area that captivated visitors with a diverse selection of calendars, planners, stickers, decoration tapes and stamps.
Meanwhile, the Cultural Exchange Plaza attracted a significant number of visitors who engaged in the art of Chinese calligraphy. Other visitors indulged their creativity by participating in the “DIY workshops” to handcraft various items. Enthusiasts of Chinese characters were also given the opportunity to create their own unique fonts at the “Make Font” sessions.
“I frequently use various stationery items in my teaching and I especially like to use different types of stamps, writing tools and papers. I am amazed by the numerous overseas stationery brands at the fairground, and there are a lot of innovative Chinese brands here too. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to view many new products that have not yet been released in the market. I’ve purchased many stationery products at the Zakka Shop, and I also took part in the interactive events at the Cultural Exchange Plaza, which truly made my visit worthwhile,” commented kindergarten teacher, Han Hongyu.
Extensive fringe programme for an even more immersive trade fair experience
In addition to the diverse products on display, the fair offered a comprehensive fringe programme of more than 20 seminars covering various topics of interest to industry players. Ping Gao, Senior Trend Analysis Director for Aiyuan Design was among the speakers unveiling a stationery trend analysis which was released just last month. “We aim to provide some guidance for overseas trade customers, especially those who engage in cross-border e-commerce. The most popular colours and themes are often related to hot social topics or video games and movies. For example, this year’s Barbie craze has led to an increase in the sales of pink stationery. Designs with foldable and upright pencil case have also gained popularity,” she revealed.
For overseas visitors, the opportunity to connect with quality Chinese exhibitors was something that couldn’t be missed. Nico Antonio Santoso, Commercial Division Head for PT Paperina Dwijaya, travelled to Shanghai from Indonesia specifically for Paperworld China. He explained, “The show has broadened our knowledge about what’s happening in the industry. I am impressed by the large variety of suppliers who present us with everything we need. We have found some intriguing products such as detailed die-cut paper items that involve a great deal of technical skill to make. What also leaves me with a good impression is the creativity and the eagerness of the exhibitors. They are keen to meet our requirements, creating a sense that anything is possible here.”
A buyer from Austria was among many from Europe who also found innovative products with potential marketability. “Our company specialises in innovative stationery and office supplies. So, we are looking for unique and new products that probably nobody has seen in Europe before. So far, we’ve found some interesting glues in various colours and cutters that have very interesting shapes and functions,” said Matthias Juenger, Managing Director, Panda Office GmbH.
Paperword China is organised by the China Stationery and Sporting Goods Association (CSSGA) and Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd, and is the only trade fair in the domestic stationery industry that receives official support from the CSSGA, an influential national industry association in China. For more information about the show, please visit www.paperworldchina.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org