from the Far East
October 2, 2009
When the U.S. economy was strong, Chinese companies flocked to the
GlassBuild America show. With the economic downturn, there has been
a noticeably reduced Chinese presence on the show floor in Atlanta.
Talking to the Chinese companies which are exhibiting offered insight
into their thoughts, motives and actions.
For Yuntong Glass Mech-Electro Technology Co. Ltd., "the U.S.
market has great potential," said Frank Lu, general manager
of Yuntong USA. He said that his company, which makes tempering
equipment, has sold a number of systems over the last couple of
"It seemed like we were on the right track to grow, but then
the economy turned," he said. "Now, we are doing the marketing
and getting our name and credibility built up."
He pointed out that the company has a technician who visits customers
to allay any concern about service problems.
Lu said that while there used to be eight to ten Chinese exhibitors
at the GlassBuild show like his company, but this year the number
was closer to three. "Chinese companies have scaled back worldwide,
not just in the U.S.," he said. "The domestic market is
still strong, so the companies are changing their emphasis until
the market springs back." Lu calls it an interesting situation.
"Companies feel they will survive and come back but they are
pulling back and regrouping right now. When the market was good,
we were doing 10 to 15 machines a month, but in the last year and
a half, it has been slower."
Hangzhou Haofeier Decorative Co. Ltd., was a first-time exhibitor,
and Geoffrey Xu, sales manager in the United States, said that it
was not a total match between his company and the show as its main
product is an interior door. However, he said that the family-owned
company also provides glass doors, shower doors and mirror. "This
is a new market segment for us," he said speaking of the large
company with diverse product lines.
However, Xu said that he had seen some machinery at the show which
they might buy and export to China to make decorative glass. "However,
we are interested in finding distributors in the U.S. to expand
our sales here," Xu added.
Xu told the story of taking his cousins from China, who are visiting
for the show, to a Home Depot. "They said that the quality
of the products being sold in China is higher than those at Home
Depot. This gives us some insight into how we might approach the
market here in the U.S. with higher quality products," he said.
Intex Glass (Xiamen) Co. Ltd., which offers a range of fabricated
glass products, was represented in its booth by Continental Group,
which is its representative in the U.S. In discussing the market,
Continental's Thomas Snyder said that it is slow "but it's
still good and it will come back. In 2008 the market started down
and our customers are off up to 50 percent," he said. "I
think it will come back but not to where it was."
While the number of Chinese exhibitors was down, they offered a
diverse range of equipment and products. Yantai Bluesky Glass Co.
Ltd., a Chinese glass fabricator, was promoting decorative glass
in its booth.
So much of the discussion on the trade show floor in Atlanta came
down to three things: The economy, the economy and the economy.
In examining the commercial and high-end residential side of the
market, Max Hals, whose company, Intercontinental Glass Technologies
in Scottsdale, Ariz., imports glass, said that his suppliers are
"They're not happy about the situation in the U.S. but they
understand. They just shift to other parts of the world," he
stated. "They're not concerned that we're not getting the jobs.
They understand there just aren't jobs to get."
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