NEW YORK — China will get a closer look at the store-brand industry when the Private Label Manufacturers Association ties in with a major food, nonfood and industrial exhibition in Shanghai.
PLMA will sponsor a 32-booth private-label pavilion at the Shanghai Sourcing Fair Sept. 23-25. The event typically draws about 700 exhibitors and more than 5,000 attendees.
The pavilion, which PLMA President Brian Sharoff describes as a long-term PLMA commitment, will help PLMA members meet Chinese retailers, and encourage Chinese companies to produce and market private label in China.
This year's exhibitors will be mostly U.S. and European companies, although PLMA plans to get representation from Chinese companies as well.
In 2009, PLMA plans to get additional Chinese companies involved, and even firms from other areas of Asia, such as South Korea, Sharoff said.
The goal is to develop a stronger market for private label in Chinese supermarkets and food stores like Wal-Mart Stores, Carrefour, Tesco and Metro, and in regional players like Bailian group (over 6,000 stores in China) and Wumart.
The main challenge is building a private-label industry from the ground up, Sharoff said.
“The problem in China is finding enough suppliers when Chinese manufacturers don't have a lot of experience making private-label products,” he said.
But Sharoff is confident that American and European companies can use their expertise to develop business partnerships with Chinese companies.
“Manufacturers can work with Wal-Mart and Carrefour to identify products to make products in China,” he said.
The time is right for private-label manufacturers to get involved in China, he said.
“Manufacturers have to go to China now,” said Sharoff. “They can't go in 2017 when China has built up a successful retail business.”
The Shanghai show comes at a time when PLMA is continuing its global expansion. Along with its annual show in Chicago, it also runs an international show in Amsterdam that has exhibitor representation from 2,000 companies and 70 countries. It held several shows in Asia in the 1990s.
This year, for the first time, PLMA will host an Emerging Markets conference in conjunction with the Amsterdam show on May 25-26. Emerging Markets is an effort to hone private-label opportunities in up-and-coming areas like Africa, parts of Southeast Asia and South America.
“The private-label supply chain needs to open itself up to companies and countries that up until now have not been involved,” he said.
The Emerging Markets conference will include a retail panel discussion, as well as seminars on quality control and testing.