China: Which exhibitions to attend in 2018?

China's fresh produce industry is rapidly developing and if there is anything to show from this development, it might be the active scene of old and new, domestic and international, trade shows popping up and competing.
To sum up a number of last year's events: 2017 kicked off with the PMA in Shanghai, followed by the Fresh Produce Forum in May. Autumn passed even faster with Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong, the International Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Shanghai, China FVF in Beijng (having moved from September to October) and finally iFresh, and direct competitor TFresh/MAC Frut/China Horti, both organised in November in Shanghai.
Click here for the 2017 PMA Shanghai photo report
Click here for the 2017 Asia Fruit Logistica photo report
Click here for the 2017 China FVF photo report
Click here for the 2017 HiFresh/MAC Frut/Horti China photo report

PMA Fresh Connections 2017, Shanghai
It seems 2018 might pass even faster. The first international event to pencil in the agenda would be the PMA Fresh Connections in Shenzhen in March. Following that, Fruit Logistica will launch its first exhibition in Mainland China in Shanghai in May. In September, those from the Mainland with international visas can travel to Asia Fruit Logistica Hong Kong, meet with international delegations at China FVF in October, or with suppliers and retailers at either iFresh or Tfresh later in November.
Meanwhile, international visitors are increasingly in doubt about which event to choose. "We like to establish an understanding of the Chinese marketplace and how we might be able to position our products in it. And we are not sure which event would be most suitable," is a feedback frequently heard.

Asia Fruit Logistica 2017, Hong Kong

So how to choose? 
The PMA has successfully established itself at the higher end of the market. For those looking for a meta-understanding of the industry and its latest trends, that conference will prove the best place to be. In addition, the event facilitates direct interaction with high level managers of China's largest fruit importer and retailers, as well as guided visits to relevant companies and wholesale markets.

On the other hand, China FVF has close ties with China's import authority AQSIQ. The exhibition gives one the opportunity to meet with officials that deal with import protocols. It can also serve as a platform to introduce new products to the market.

Meanwhile, Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong has managed to attract a fast growing group of Chinese participants, both import and export companies. From around 80 Chinese stand holders in 2016, the 2017 edition grew to almost 180. New exhibitors last year included some of the largest importers and online retailers, mainly attending to meet with their existing international suppliers and find new ones.
Different to the events above, iFresh and Tfresh/MAC Frut/China Horti give the most exposure to the domestic fruit industry and local players. Chinese growers attend to showcase their latest varieties, packaging and brands. Suppliers to the industry are also present, including packaging producers and technology providers and grading technology. Navigating without a translator can be tricky and one of the ways these two shows could attract more visitors from abroad is by catering more to an international audience.

HiFresh/MAC Frut/China Horti 2017, Shanghai
The recent split between iFresh and Tfresh/MAC Frut/China Horti (before 2017 both belonged to the same organisation) has been a cause of concern for people in the industry: "Instead of having one solid event in November, we now have to divide our time and effort between two. Hoping that the one we focus on is the one that will turn out to be most valuable."
So perhaps there is a window of opportunity for the launch of China Fruit Logistica, which will take place in Shanghai in May. According to the organisation, at least, there is. “The time is right for the launch of China Fruit Logistica,” according to Wilfried Wollbold, Marketing Director of the organisation. According to him the industry is "looking for a leading event". 2018 might bring the answer.
For those trying to find a way:
Export to China:
PMA Shenzhen (March, Shenzhen)
Fruit Logistica Shanghai (May, Shanghai)
Asia Fruit Logistica (September, Hong Kong)
China FVF (Beijing, October)
Domestic market:
iFresh亚果会 (November, Shanghai)
HiFresh/MAC Frut/Horti China (November, Shanghai)
Import from China:
Asia Fruit Logistica (September, Hong Kong)
iFresh亚果会 (November, Shanghai)
HiFresh/MAC Frut/Horti China (November, Shanghai)

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