Oct 6, 2010
I spent four days in Zhuhai, China, which was host to two related events the last week of September. These were the GRIGA Conference and RemaxAsia Expo 2010, both organized by Recycling Times Magazine. The day before the trade show, Saturday Sept 25, was the day of the Global Remanufacturing Industry General Assembly (GRIGA) 2010 conference. Here we had presentations by watchers or participants in the remanufacturing world from almost every continent.
The themes were:
- Compete with the OEM and not each other
- Work on environmental laws to favor remanufacturing
- Work to eliminate illegal and unfair competition within the aftermarket, including patent infringement and product misrepresentation
There was a clear message from the remanufacturing camp that often new build compatibles go too far in terms of cutting price and legal corners. I sense a strong schism within the aftermarket along those lines.
The RemaxAsia Expo 2010 was an experience. There were 300+ booths selling the same thing – compatible and remanufactured laser and inkjet cartridges. Perhaps it’s an exaggeration that it was all the same stuff but not far from the truth. In any case, the result was the impression that it’s all the same. The same stuff with little opportunity for product differentiation. The observation is that price competition is the only clear differentiator. And the hunger for sales was evidence of that. As a minority Westerner walking the back booths at the show I soon found it necessary to resort to the quick statement ”I’m not a buyer” as booth after booth a sales person would jump out at me with a product flier in hand.
The show seemed relatively well attended on the first day, Sunday Sept 26. Monday the traffic appeared to thin significantly. Perhaps people had heard that the air conditioning at the show had broken down, it was warm in there, and were staying away? Or perhaps, as speculation suggests, those who attended the Zhuhai show on Sunday were traveling to Shanghai on Monday to attend the directly competing reChina Shanghai tradeshow on Tuesday? Would those who attended Shanghai on Monday be in Zhuhai on Tuesday to fill the halls again? I don’t know. I had to leave China on Tuesday for other places.
All-in-all it was an eye opening experience. Overall the impression was that to a large extent the aftermarket industry is competing with itself at least as much as it wishes that it was competing with OEM brands. That goes for reman vs compatible, Chinese vs aftermarket producers in other regions and competing trade shows courting the same audience in the same country on the same dates.
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