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PL&S Guangzhou 2016

Discussion in 'Conventions' started by jstroming, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. jstroming

    jstroming Active Member

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    Anyone here in Guangzhou this week? Coincides with GET Show at Poly World Trade Expo so it will be nice to do both shows at once.

    Any of you interested in importing moving lights, pro audio, LED screens from China, PL&S Guangzhou is the trade show to be at. This year it's the entire Area A at canton fair complex. Make's LDI look like a flea market!
     
  2. jstroming

    jstroming Active Member

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    venuetech likes this.
  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I'm all for lights from China if they work well. In fact, China Inc. has come out with some unique designs of their own that are pretty good looking. But I want to rip some people a new one when I see them stealing entire software OS platforms, such as all of the Avolites knockoffs pictured. That software is not free, yet they don't consider it stealing to take that OS and use it on their hardware.
     
  4. rsmentele

    rsmentele Active Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Good thing Avolites software kills itself when not installed in genuine Avo Hardware. Its a ticking time bomb!
     
    Kelite likes this.
  5. jstroming

    jstroming Active Member

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  6. jstroming

    jstroming Active Member

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    Here is my full review for both shows…

    Let me preface this by saying that I am a big believer in sourcing and importing from Asia. I am in a boutique industry where sourcing and importing lights that aren’t 100% reliable is completely acceptable. I also will not get into the copy/clone debate, since most of you will probably disagree with me on it. To explain my qualifications, I run a mid-sized touring production company based in Los Angeles that you probably haven’t heard of since we only produce our own events and don’t rent or deal with outside companies too often. I have imported several million dollars of entertainment equipment from Asian manufacturers, so I consider myself pretty qualified to give my opinion on sourcing and importing in this industry. I should probably write a how-to on working with Chinese (specifically) entertainment manufacturers for everyone on here based on my experiences but that would be for another time.

    First, if you have any purchasing power in the lighting or audio industries and are considering buying lights or audio systems from Asia you are doing yourself a HUGE disservice by not attending at least one of these events. I cannot stress this enough. Being an American, I understand the trip is a drag (14 hour flight from the west coast) and can be expensive. But if you are seriously considering buying direct from Asia you will most likely be paid back the travel and associated costs in your first import. On this trip alone I will save about $25,000USD on importing a specific product by going straight to manufacturer. The budget was already approved and at this point I’m just saving money. Again, I’m in a unique industry where I am able to do this. The 2 shows (PL&S Guangzhou and GETShow) usually overlap or run back-to-back. They take place right next to each other in the Canton Fair complex (yes, it also hosts the 3 phases of the canton fair each year which is unfathomable in size).

    The next thing I’d like to address (quickly) is the culture differences which I will share only to impress upon you how important it is to attend. One of the things I HATE about US trade shows in this industry is that at many booths if you are not a major player working for a large company they will look at your name badge, answer your question quickly, then move right on past you. In my opinion, this complete bougie attitude is a huge turn off. I have NEVER experienced this at a trade show in Asia. They welcome you into their booth without looking at your name tag, offering you drinks & snacks. Every deal is a huge deal to them. It is one of the many reasons I prefer purchasing from Asia. If you are apprehensive about the communication issues don’t be. Most booths have at least 1 representative who speaks less than less-than-perfect English. My general rule is that the less English they speak, the cheaper the products usually are and the better chance you have of getting a great deal!

    OK now on to the trade shows. Starting with ProLight+Sound Guangzhou, I have not been to PL+S Frankfurt so can’t really compare them. This trade show is very heavy on Audio, but it is so big (13 halls, 1.6 MILLION square feet of exhibit hall space) that there are still 3 massive halls of lighting. I would say each hall is about the size of LDI 2015 if not a little bigger. As far as lighting goes, there are several hundred Chinese ”manufacturers/assemblers/distributors/etc” that all display products with about a 3x overlap in my opinion. This means that if you took a total number of products on the show floor and divided by 3 you would have about that many completely unique products. This may not be too different from US/European manufacturers, many of whom have a 575W profile moving head for example. There were definitely unique types of lights that I have not seen available in the US, but this accounted for no more than 5% of the products being offered. The range of products were from higher-end DJ type lights to lights that rivaled many of the higher end products in the US. I did not see more than 4 or 5 booths with specifically DJ-type lights (think the round multi-colored DJ lights, etc). Many booths will give you quotes right on the show floor, which is a GREAT utility for someone like me. Try getting an actual street price from a distributor at a US trade show, virtually impossible. They want to e-mail you, do research on your company, find out future purchase plans, BLAH BLAH BLAH before giving you an actual quote. Having this info lets me quickly assess pricing which when coupled with eyeballing a fixture in a booth lets me spend no more than 5 minutes in booths. This process can be FAST, jumping booth to booth. Get out when you need to. Don't give them your e-mail address, tell them you're just eyeballing for your boss and that you will come back tomorrow for the full 30-minute product demonstration. It is constant moving. FAST. I love it. My girlfriend hates it, unless we're at the steet fairs searching for Chanel purses (then she loves to negotiate! Surprise....I get great deals)

    The audio portion of PL+S Guangzhou was, as to be expected, massive. There are SEVEN massive halls of Pro Audio and 2 microphone halls. They technically break it down to 4 “Brand Name Audio” halls and 3 “Pro Audio” halls but to be honest with you I couldn’t tell a freakin difference between any of those halls. I think they have to pick a hall based on their “primary” business but they overlapped a ton. I saw about 75 booths with different line arrays, and collected about 40 catalogues for my Audio Director. Everything from VRX clones (part for part, including JBL driver) to custom gold-plated line arrays that I could have fit my girlfriend inside a cab they were so big. Both shows had an outdoor line-array setup which let you listen to 30-second sections repeated out of about 20 of the top line-array manufacturers. This is always a highlight for me, I don’t know why I just think it’s a great way to keep up the competitive nature of it.

    There isn’t much to write about the GETshow, not because it isn’t much to look at (there’s a ton) but because it is very similar to PL+S. The major differences were that they attracted a different set of exhibitors as it was too difficult to have booths in 2 places. They also attracted what I would deem a higher-quality contingent of exhibitors. It's odd to me they get the higher-quality manufacturers considering they are a smaller show by about 1/2. Their level of spoken English was better, as were the descriptions in their printed literature. In scale I would say about 1/3 the size of PL+S Guangzhou. The booths were much better constructed as well. At both shows I was very impressed with how “cool” the booths were compared to say LDI. As you can tell by the videos above they go all out with the programming and KILLING it. To someone like me who isn’t really into all the fancy technical details of the lights it’s nice to see some very cool looking lighting effects. Another important note is that at both shows there were many “parts suppliers”. Generic lamps, power supplies, speaker cones, etc. These booths are your typical 10x10 units that line the outside of the exhibit floor and contain many parts and supplies you would expect for the entire industry.

    For hotels, I recommend Westin Pazhou which is the only hotel attached to the fairgrounds. I have stayed here many times, and during Canton Fair (which runs 30 days each phase) it becomes a kind of haven for expats and is a lot of fun. The nearby Langham Place is brand new and although I haven’t stayed there I have had drinks at the bar and it is beautiful. The W Guangzhou is also in a very fashionable part of town (Tian He) and is a great hotel. Many more affordable places are available as well.

    It is shocking to me there aren’t more Americans that visit these 2 shows. There are a pretty good number of Europeans where I believe the Asian products are more accepted, however the US production industry has started to embrace Asian manufacturing increasingly yet every year I see virtually no increase in the number of American visitors. In fact, many of the sourcers from major US manufacturers I see year to year the same people. I have met many of them and it seems to be a kind of hush hush thing in the industry. I’m guessing the last thing they want is people to know they are there or people to even know these shows exist (I understand why).

    Hopefully this review serves as a good record for people thinking of attending in the coming years! If you have any questions about the show or importing in general (from dealing with manufacturers to shipping & customs) please PM me!
     

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