Markets: Great demand for structural artworks

(June 2010) At this year’s Stonetech in Shanghai we came across sculptures by the Spanish artist Ramón Aymerich who attended on invitation of the Chinese and Spanish Trade Associations. The goal was to open a new market the stone industry.

There is great demand for sculptures in the midst of China’s current economic boom, by means of which office complexes, parks or even city districts or distinctive streets are meant to be adorned. This type of usage would also create important public-relations work for stone as a building material according to one of the organizers, of the Spanish participation, Pedro Valcarel Reyes of Ouhua Stone Company.

Back to the fair: the Stonetech is much smaller than it’s big sister held in Xiamen extending over only four halls in this, its 17th edition held at the accessible grounds of Pudong. Surprisingly, more than one full hall was occupied by machine exhibitors alone. The stone branch around Shanghai is not comparable to the Xiamen and surrounding areas.

The Stonetech takes place about four weeks after the Xiamen trade fair usually altering between Beijing and Shanghais venues. The last three years have seen the fair take place in the South Coast city not least because this is the venue for this year’s world exhibit Expo (see below).

„But next year we will return to the capital“, as Kevin Wang of the fair’s operator assured us „and after that we will see.“ Perhaps Beijing is the more interesting venue in the long run: the capital is the distribution hub for the growth region in the North West and North East of China, particularly the „Bohai-rim Economy Circle“ around Qinhuangdao. The capital is also teaming with building activity in the private home sector.

As far as the Stonetech’s image is concerned the operator seem to want to develop a high architectural-and-design-profile as the fair’s unique characteristic. Two half days of the fair were dedicated to a congress on both themes.

Iran’s strong presence was a surprise, providing no less than 16 of the 75 foreign exhibitors. The insular State of Taiwan was also represented with its natural stone organization. Talk is of signing a free trade agreement between the Chinese States.