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China: Leading suppliers fear for what comes next


Fears over rising costs plus a fall-back in demand and a lack of face-to-face interaction with customers are giving Chinese factories cause for concern. “The future is unclear,” they are warning.

Qian Gang Wang (main picture), owner of OEM Weihai Hanhigh, is among those that believe the trade will suffer a backlash as economies across the globe battle to recover from the COVID pandemic. He told Angling International: “For Chinese manufacturers, the orders situation is the best in recent years and all factories are working day and night to keep up with demand from customers. However, costs of components and materials have increased sharply since the end of last year and the exchange rate for the RMB against the US dollar is getting stronger, resulting in reduced profits. There is also problems with the supply chain and inflated freight costs that have to be contended with.”

He warned that there is more trouble on the horizon. “Production capacity is fully booked until spring, but orders are calming down and that seems to be a trend. The situation with COVID is obviously still major a concern. Despite more and more people getting the vaccine, the disease keeps developing stronger variants. The elimination of COVID-19 is not dependent on the countries who can control it best, but on those poorer ones who cannot. The longer it takes the whole world to recover, the longer it will take the global economy to get back to normal.”

He added that another point of concern is inflation caused by countries across the globe releasing increasing amounts of money into the market to pay for measures to combat the pandemic. “Individual countries will have to pay for this eventually and that will result in everything becoming more expensive. The future is unclear due to the uncertainty of COVID. The longer it lasts the more damage it will do to the world economy and the market will be adversely affected.”

Wang’s warning comes at a time when China Fish – one of the world’s top fishing tackle trade shows – announced that it was cancelling its physical/virtual show that was due to take place at the beginning of October.

Talking before the decision was revealed, Lee Seng Shoy (above), Managing Director of Singapore-based China Fish regular Hong Guan Tackle, rued the lack of trade shows due to COVID-19 and its effect in the future. He said: “We have missed the Beijing show, EFTTEX and TAFMA (Thailand) which is a shame.

“Fortunately, it has not affected us, but it could possibly start to bite if the cancellations continue for another one or two calendar years. The current momentum of goodwill and solid relationships were established pre-COVID, but this will wane if further actions are not taken going forward. Nothing beats people-to-people interaction and the touch/feel of new products. I believe this is going to be even more important moving forward when the COVID situation stabilises. The pandemic has taught us not to take personal relationships for granted.”

Award-winning terminal tackle supplier BKK is another company that is missing the personal touch that shows like China Fish deliver. Guilio Bortalaso said: “The exhibition has been very valuable to us in regards to our OEM business. We miss being directly in touch with our clients and the industry at these gatherings. However, we have to acknowledge that business has grown for the company during COVID – not just for us, but the entire industry. How long that remains the case we do not know.”

Art of Tools, owner of the Frichy fishing pliers brand, says that one of the results of the cancellation of trade shows, including China Fish, across the world has been the slowing down of many new projects with its business partners. Luke Lyew explained: “The trade shows used to help us develop new products and come up with new ideas by talking to our friends. Without that opportunity the pace of that has slowed. Our hope is that COVID will be gone soon and we can meet up with them all again.”

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