WASHINGTON -- The Food Marketing Institute here said last week it is in negotiations to set up a series of trade shows in Shanghai and Beijing beginning in June 1998.
According to Tim Hammonds, FMI president and chief executive officer, the sessions would take the place of AsiaMart, the show the institute held in Hong Kong in 1995 and 1996. There would be one trade show a year, alternating between Shanghai and Beijing.
Hammonds told SN that the FMI hopes to complete plans by early May -- prior to the FMI convention in Chicago -- "and if all goes well, we will probably have a Shanghai-Beijing rotation." He said a government group in Shanghai invited the FMI to hold a trade show there this year, "but that was too soon [to get it organized]," Hammonds noted.
AsiaMart conventions were held in Hong Kong the last two years, and the third meeting was scheduled in Singapore for this year before the FMI announced in January it would discontinue the event.
The FMI said at that time it would refocus its activities in Asia to work with existing food-industry associations there on their own events and to help them with educational programming and trade-show management.
In a talk with SN last week, Hammonds said, "The intent of AsiaMart was to open doors into China for U.S. manufacturers, and that happened faster than we thought it would," with each of the two AsiaMarts being followed up by a tour into China.
He said the advantage of holding AsiaMart in Hong Kong or Singapore "was the opportunity for manufacturers to meet potential customers in Asia, particularly in China. "But the retail scene in China is changing so quickly that these new trade shows will give companies the opportunity to meet new customers more efficiently."
The advantage for those attending the China conventions, Hammonds added, "will be the ability to see the retail industry develop in China."