Weekly Gözlem Newspaper’s Editorial Board Member, Prof. Dr. Faruk Çalapkulu wrote about his impressions on Xiamen Natural Stone Trade Fair held in China
The Xiamen Fair, the natural stone fairs, had a concept that covered a variety of sectors. In the fair; artificial quartz-based plates (artificial stone) and porcelain with digital marble pattern printed products as well as “Stone Fair” (İZFAŞ Marble fair Verona fairs) where stone sellers, marble machines, marble production consumables, natural stones and project concepts are introduced. Moreover, products were exhibited in accordance to with the spirit of CERSAI Bologna fair or American “COVERINGS” fair.
Particularly in an exhibition with such variety, natural stone producers need to stress the dominance of natural stone against the “so-called stone” products. Unfortunately, this topic was not included in the three days of exhibitions, conferences, panels and the technical presentations that took place in Xiamen fair.
However, some important key points were;
- To explain to architects and consumers at every opportunity about what makes natural stone superior to artificial stone.
- The importance of artificial stone producers to give legal names to natural stone products in their products, protect the name and take necessary legal steps in the international arena.
The natural stone stands are distinguished in themselves as stone-based carbonated natural stone sellers (predominantly Turkish producers, partly Italian producers, Egyptian and more Iranian natural stone producers in comparison to the past years) and hard stone (granite) sellers (Chinese, Brazillian and a few producers from India). As a group, producers targeting block sales and end product producers for projects participated in the fair with stands that looked quite different. In addition, the foreign participants and the halls of the Chinese participants were also separated.
With this view, Xiamen is shifting from an exhibition block sales line to an exhibition line for the promotion of stones to be used in projects rapidly. Clearly Chinese raw material buyers are very well acquainted with quarries and manufacturers of raw materials companies in Turkey. In the future, producers will develop their relations with raw material buyers in their participation in the fair. On the other hand, it will be appropriate to invite buyers to the Izmir MARBLE Fair and to the quarries and factories.
A brief look at Chinese carbonated natural stone market
In accordance with the rise of China in world trade, we have seen significant developments in block imports and processed natural stone exports in the last 20 years. Among the world’s carbonated natural stone block importer countries, with 27%, China is in second place with Hong Kong, behind Italy. Among the block exporter countries, Turkey ranks first with 42%, and Italy in the second place with 17%.
In the ranking of processed carbonated natural stone exporter countries, it is observed that China, which has increased significantly until 2015, has decreased its exports according to the data in Trademap in 2016.
China appears to be our biggest customer in Turkish stone exportation with 59.1% in amounts and 46.2% in value. India ranks second in 2017. While one side tends towards the end products, the other side should focus on customer enrichment in the block market.