Optical Industry & Exhibitions of China

THE INTERNATIONAL OPTICAL EXHIBITIONS FOR CHINA China International Optics Fair (CIOF) and China (Shanghai) International Optics Fair (SIOF, the spring session of the CIOF), are the two annual optical shows in China enjoying official endorsement and support. In China, official approval and sponsorship mean half a ticket to success. The shows are equipped with the right credentials:

They are approved by the Ministry of Commerce and supported by the China National Light Industry Council (the former Ministry of Light Industry). The latter is the authorised body supervising the light industry of the country. Optics is one of it.

They are organized by the China Optometry & Optical Association (COOA), the body that governs the optical industry of China, and the Sinolight International Holdings Corporation (CLETC), the state-owned enterprise running intrnational trade in China.

The Ministry of Commerce, on behalf of the Central Government, has endorsed both the China International Optics Fair (CIOF) and the China (Shanghai) International Optics Fair (SIOF) as the official international optical trade and industry exhibitions of China. Hence all the related departments of China will turn on green light for the trade and import and investment reached in the fairs. Besides central support, the Shanghai show is also endorsed by the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, the local authority.

China International Optics Fair (CIOF)
The International Optical Industry Exhibition for China commenced in Shanghai in 1985. In 1987, the show was moved to Beijing, endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relation and Trade (now Ministry of Commerce) as an official international optical exhibition for the country. As optical industry is under the Ministry of Light Industry (the current China National Light Industry Council), the Ministry started its sponsorship that same year. The show organizer, the China Optometric & Optical Association, renamed it as China International Optics Fair (CIOF) as of 1997 when it came to its 10th anniversary. The new title reflects the prominence of the show nationwide, the status and the support and participation it gets from international suppliers and traders of the optical world. CIOF2016, 29th event, has reached a record high of exhibition area of 55,000m² . Incessant expansion of the show scale, number of exhibitors and visitors during the past two decades once again proves that the status and significance of CIOF has been rooted in the country as well as global optical industry.

China (Shanghai) International Optics Fair (SIOF)
China (Shanghai) International Optics Fair, the spring session of the international optical industry exhibition for China, inaugurated in Shanghai in 2001. Its predecessor is the national optical trade fair in spring taking place in different city in rotation once every year, apart from the international fair which is scheduled to hold in Beijing in September annually. China is the largest single optical market in the world, and the country enjoys high GDP growth. The well-off Chinese buyers constantly require advance, stylish and fashionable optical products. In compliance with the market demand and with approval of related government authorities, starting from 2001, the organizers resolved the spring national fair into an international exhibition to allow foreign companies to exhibit and more overseas buyers to come and trade there. Shanghai, the metropolitan city and economic center of China, and the original venue of the international optical exhibition for China, is chosen as the site of the SIOF. The decision is proved to be wise and successful: the show grew from 8,000m² in 2001 to more than 80,000m² in 2016! Within 16 years, the exhibition area has grown more than 10 times bigger than the first edition! It is obvious that the show in Shanghai also brings about huge business to participants as the Beijing fair in autumn.

Established in 1985, China Optometric & Optical Association is a national association of manufacturers, optometrists, traders, research institutes and education institutions of the industry. It is the only legal entity representing the Chinese optical industry. It is the official administrative organization supervising the manufacturing, processing and import and export of eyeglasses, spectacle frames, lenses and blanks, contact lens and related eye care products, eyewear production machinery, visual test equipment, spectacle components and spare parts, eyeglass cases, raw materials and related optical products.

Under the COOA, there are 8 standing committees:

1) The Spectacle Frames Committee
2) The Spectacle Lenses Committee
3) The Glass Blank of Ophthalmic Lenses Committee
4) The Optical Hard Resin Lenses Committee
5) The Contact Lens Committee
6) The Equipment & Instruments Committee
7) The Optometry Committee
8) The Quality Control Committee
These committees carry out related professional activities with the trust of the COOA.
In addition, the association has its own publication house publishing the China Glasses Science-Technology Magazine, the only official optical magazine of China. With the Government' s delegation, the office of the Optometry Professional Committee of the State Occupational Qualification Committee has also been established in the Secretariat of the COOA to set up the professional qualifications of visual test and lens fitting, compiling the teaching aids of the professional qualification training programmes for visual test and lens fitting and those of other fields. Besides, the Chinese government has implemented the system of Production certificate of optical products to guarantee products quality for sale in China and COOA is authorized to carry out the project. It also has the mission of drafting questions for optometrist qualification examinations; launching training courses for senior and intermediate visual test and lens fitting personnel and trainers. Moreover, it is also the committee's responsibility to host examination of senior visual test and lens fitting personnel with the approval of the State Occupational Qualification Committee.

COOA is under the supervision of the State Economic & Trade Commission of China. The Commission has set down the business scope of the COOA as follows:

- investigating the business of optical trade;
- implementing development plan of the optical industry and raising policy proposals to the    government;
- undertaking government appointment for compiling statistics of the optical industry;
- participating in quality control and inspection of the production;
- organizing technical and occupational training;
- participating in implementing and revising the national and industrial standards of the    industry;
- issuing the production licenses to qualified local manufacturers;
- examining occupational qualifications;
- assisting the exploration of related product markets;
- reflecting the requests of the industry as well as the members;
- coordinating the relationship of the association members;
- regulating the performance of the industry, and
- assuring fair competition of the enterprises and the industry.

In short, it oversees the business and development of the optical industry of China.

COOA is the core of management mechanism of the Chinese optical industry. As a WTO member, China will have to link her economic practice with the rest of the world. COOA will actively participate in the international exchange and cooperation, encourage Chinese enterprises to join the international market, and to introduce advanced products, technology and management experiences of foreign countries into China. To achieve the goal, COOA organizes Chinese companies to join international optical exhibitions in Hong Kong SAR, USA, France and Italy every year, not to mention their own optical exhibitions, the CIOF and SIOF, which boost the import and export of the optical industry of China!

The China Optometric & Optical Association is playing a very important role in regulating the Chinese optical market, enhancing the quality of the professionals, protecting the interests and promoting the development of the optical industry. In 2005, to assure visual health of the people, China launched the system of Production Certificate granted to local optical manufacturers who can meet the quality of production as required by the government. Products without the license are not allowed to be sold in the local market. COOA is entrusted by the government to inspect the factories and issue the license after examining the final products.

Orient International Exhibition Co., Ltd. (OIEC) was founded in 1996. The team that formed the company was the same group of experts who masterminded the international optical industry exhibition for China.

In 1997, when the optical exhibition came to its 10th anniversary, the organizers - the China Optometric & Optical Association (COOA) and the Sinolight International Holdings Corporation (CLETC) invited Orient International to be the co-organizer of the exhibition, responsible for overseas promotion and recruiting international exhibitors and visitors. The show was also renamed as China International Optics Fair to show its prominence in the industry and the support from the associates local and worldwide. OIEC is veteran in organizing international exhibition and overseas promotion. With the join force of OIEC, China International Optics Fair has become one of the significant international optical events. The fair's scale is expanding every year, with the exhibition area increasing from 11,500m² in 1997 to 55,000m² in 2016. The number of exhibitors increased from 300 in 1997 to 738 in 2016. Starting from 2001, the organizers resolved the national optical procurement fair held every spring into an international optics exhibition, to be held in Shanghai, and named it as China (Shanghai) International Optics Fair. The spring session of the international optics industry exhibition for China was also very successful: the exhibition area and number of exhibitors expanded from 2001's 8,000m² and 219 exhibitors to more than 80,000m² and 834 exhibitors in 2016.

Market overview
China possesses several superiorities that are vital to the development of the optical industry:

1) China is the most populous country in the world with over 1.3 billion population. It is conservatively estimated that about 400 million of our people are wearing glasses and the annual demand for glasses is over 100 million pairs, making China the largest single optical market in the world. Moreover, as people care much about their visual health, glasses are now not only treated as necessary products for vision correction but also fashionable accessories. Thus, target consumers of eyewears cover all kinds of people instead of a limited group, which helps accelerate the sales and in turn boost the demand for high quality foreign made eyewears.

2) Importing advanced production machinery and materials, China has become the world's manufacturing centre, entrusted by many overseas companies to manufacture products on their behalf. On the other hand, Chinese manufacturers are keen to enter the world market, but they also eye on the huge local market. In order to win the trust of overseas customers as well as meeting the requirement of Production Certificate for selling their products in the local market, Chinese manufacturers have to import advanced production machinery and materials to upgrade their quality of production. Plus the increasing number of optical shops also lead to great demand on frames and visual test equipment, all such create great opportunities for foreign suppliers!

3) China' s accession to WTO since 2001 facilitates the opening of China market. Foreign countries enjoy privileges to export their goods to China, which helps products flow and stimulates competition. Chinese Custom's statistics shows that the import turnover of optical products in the first half of 2007 was USD 94 million, a growth of 18.7%. The substantial import turnover obviously shows that the demand for import optical products is vigorous.

4) 2% appreciation of RMB from 2005 onwards makes the purchasing power of Chinese greatly increase, which in turn boosts the sales of optical products, especially the high priced imported ones. According to a study, China ranks the 3rd place in the world in purchasing luxury goods. The annual consumption amount of luxury goods in China is more than USD 2 billion, just after Japan and the USA. Now, about 170 million Chinese are capable to buy luxury goods. The purchasing power in China is now excelling other European countries.

5) Better information flow lets more Chinese consumers know more international brands. In addition, many foreign corporations have pinpointed the colossal purchasing potential in China and launch their massive promotion to build up their brand's image. In this way, the sales of optical products of international brands are shooting up.

6) Beijing and Shanghai are the best locations for optics fair. As the capital of China, Beijing enjoys the advantages of finance, urbanization and substantial wholesales and retailing sales. The consumption trend of Beijing gives a demonstration to other cities and that's why most of the foreign corporations locate their head office there as a stepping-stone to penetrate the Chinese market. Shanghai is the financial hub of China with good infrastructure and transportation. The huge mobile population in Shanghai favors the marketing of products. Hence, Shanghai is treated as the best place of sales and publicizing commodities to China.

Seizing the ascendancy of Beijing and Shanghai, and matching with the peak buying seasons, China International Optics Fair is held in the right places at the right time with spring and autumn sessions. The exhibition has been gaining support from domestic and overseas optical industries all the time. Now, they have become the most representing and influential optical fairs in China as well as Asia.