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Converging business, education, culture and fun – a review of Music China 2018

22 Oct 2018

The effervescence running through the halls was almost as amplified as the continuous buzz of instrument playing and live performances at Music China 2018, as the event closed its doors on another successful edition last week. A sense of satisfaction and enjoyment was shared by participants across the entire spectrum of the MI industry, who turned out in record numbers at the SNIEC in Shanghai once again.

For four days, a total of 110,381 visitors from 81 countries and regions crossed paths with 2,252 international and domestic exhibitors. For comparison, that’s a respective increase of 5.0% and 5.4% from the 2017 show. Another increase in size came from the exhibition space itself, which grew by 10.4% to 138,000 sqm across 12 halls.

“We couldn’t be happier with how the show has gone this year,” said Ms Judy Cheung, Deputy General Manager of Messe Frankfurt Shanghai Co Ltd. Outlining which areas of the show provided the best results, she said: “Our live performance stages have been busier than ever before, and people seem to love the combination of getting business done in an engaging environment. We’re also satisfied with how our stronger focus on music education and culture has been positively received. The fringe event topics have drawn people to learn, share and network more efficiently at the fairground.”

The autumn sun shone down on the fairground throughout the show, allowing exhibitors and visitors alike to emerge from the halls and come together for the wide variety of live performances across four stages. “This is unlike any other trade show in the world,” swooned one participant during a performance by world-renowned musician Guy Pratt, referring to the hybrid atmosphere of business and entertainment.

Inside the halls, exchanges were made between industry leaders for almost every kind of musical instrument imaginable. In the bustling Hall W2 for classical and Spanish guitars, Taylor Guitar offered their view: “The Chinese MI market is extremely dynamic, and it’s been growing rapidly,” said Export Manager Mr Andy Lund at the company’s booth. “For the past five years, our sales in China have increased more than 20% every year, and the country is by far our biggest market in Asia.

“We see Music China as one of the most important platforms to promote our brand to both end-users and dealers. It provides us an opportunity to meet with our clients from Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, and effectively learn from the industry’s professionals. We are very satisfied with the scale of the show and the number of visitors, and impressed to see how excited the visitors are too,” he added.

Many exhibitors were even receiving orders on the first day of the show, including first-timer Kambala Percussion, a fair trade instrument maker based in Austria. “We’ve already exchanged contacts with over 40 companies interested in our products, including from China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore,” said Mr Marcel Deforin, Export Manger. “One company even placed an order with us just after we arrived here. The show is a paradise for all music lovers to converge together, so I’m confident that we’ll be back in 2019 and beyond.”

Conversely, piano-making giant Steinway is one of the show’s longest participants.           At the company’s booth, Mr Guifeng Hang from Steinway’s Asia Pacific subsidiary, explained: “This is the 17th time that we’ve exhibited in Music China, and this year is a special occasion for us too, as we celebrate 165 years of Steinway. We are displaying two special anniversary edition pianos for the very first time. We already have good dealer networks in China, and are now hoping to attract more end-users such as institutes, music educators and high end consumers.”

The show’s buyers shared similar sentiments with regards to their satisfaction: “I come to Music China because I know that I will be able to find every possible thing here, and still discover new products and people that I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else in Asia,” said Mr Hap Kuffner, a long-time visitor at Music China and President of Kuffner International.

“The speed at which this show is growing is phenomenal. It’s all about having fun and meeting with the people who can boost your presence in your respective musical field,” he emphasised.

Ms XiaoFeng Liu, General Manager of Golden Note Musical Instrument Store in Huizhou, Guangdong, gave insight as a buyer from a tier-three city in China: “I have a music retail store in Guangdong, where there is less awareness for music education compared to places like Shanghai and Beijing, and it can be difficult to sustain business. At the fair though, I visited Hall W1 where all the music education companies are exhibiting, and have gained new ideas on how I could improve my business to embrace more music education elements.”

In a similar vein, Music China would not be the same without its educational fringe events, which continued to receive unanimous praise from attendees. One such example could be found at the Kids’ Music Castle, where over 100 children took part in various instrument-based activities to harness appreciation for music at kindergarten level.

Ms Elle Lu is a teacher at a local kindergarten in Shanghai, which was involved in the event. She said: “There are more participatory events at the show than last year, and especially at the Kids’ Music Castle. There are so many different elements of music for young children to explore here. In China, parents are very focused on harnessing music education at a younger age, so it’s a good chance for the kids to discover their own creativity and start making music. The children are clearly gaining a lot in terms of enjoyment and education.”

The ever-popular outdoor Drum Circles and children’s musical performances also put smiles on the faces of all in attendance, and offered insight into how valuable music can be not only from a business and trade perspective, but also in terms of enjoyment, togetherness and education.

The show’s seminar-style fringe events were equally as popular. During a full-house at the NAMM Industry Forum on the first day of the show, Ms Susan O’Neill from Australia’s International Society of Music Education spoke on a panel about how to adapt music teaching in the face of an evolving market.

She said: “China is a great example of how instrument learning is embedded into the education system. It’s vital that for the market to flourish, children need to have their hands on instruments at an early age. For China, this platform has already been laid, which means shows like this can be hugely beneficial for trade and knowledge-sharing.”

Next year’s edition of Music China will again take place from 10 – 13 October 2019. For more details, see or email the show’s organisers at More press information and photographic material can be found here:

Other shows under the Musikmesse brand include:
NAMM Musikmesse Russia
12 – 15 September 2019, Moscow

2 – 5 April 2019, Frankfurt

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,400 employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €669 million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).
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