Will instrument imports to China rise in 2023? Industry eyes Music China for answers

Since reaching an 11-month low in January this year, musical instrument imports have been steadily recovering to a 21% rise in July compared to the beginning of 2023, with categories such as wind instruments even posting a record high in H1*. Attention is now turning to Music China, where participants from more than 40 countries and regions will congregate to strike new deals in October, for signals about momentum in the second half of 2023 and beyond.

 “As the world’s largest market by revenue, interest among overseas suppliers in the Chinese market is always high,” says Ms Judy Cheung, Deputy General Manager, Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd. “Although imports so far this year have been lower in US dollar terms, their value in RMB actually set a new record in the first half of 2023. This should instil confidence in the world’s largest market, especially for overseas exhibitors – because it shows that spending has remained resilient.”

While this year’s lower USD import value can be attributed to the depreciation of the RMB over the past nine months, with Music China on the horizon, there is good reason to anticipate a rise in sales moving forward. “The second half of the year typically always sees stronger performance due to back to school purchasing and business events such as Music China – with more than 1,800 exhibitors taking part in this edition,” explains Ms Cheung.

Further optimism comes from acknowledging China’s position as the world’s largest manufacturing hub for musical instruments. According to Ms Cheung, this is crucial for interpreting import statistics. “For major foreign brands, particularly key players with production facilities inside of China, the import data does not accurately reflect their true domestic sales growth.” In this respect, domestic sales forecasts paint a positive picture, with total revenue expected to reach USD 9.25 billion in 2023**..

Pavilion exhibitors target affluent Chinese buyers

Many of the countries and regions represented at pavilions this year have seen steady trade growth with China in H1 compared to the second half of last year, including USD import increases of 23.6% from Italy, 22.6% from the Czech Republic, 4.4% from France, 11.8% from Taiwan, and a modest 0.4% from Germany.

Joining seven overseas and national pavilions at this year’s fair, the Italian contingent is set to uphold its reputation for bespoke design and craftsmanship. For the pavilion’s exhibitors, it’s essential to carry on a tradition that has been passed down through generations, and in some cases by family. Handcrafted woods have been incorporated into instruments such as accordions, violins and cellos for centuries. Today, the same materials that have been used for hundreds of years are shaped by modern manufacturing processes and master craftsmanship.

A total of 24 Italian suppliers are preparing to present their instruments in Hall W2. These include Adriano Spadoni-Liutaio, Andrea Ballone Burini Srls, Andrea Varazzani, Consorzio Liutai “Antonio Stradivari” Cremona, Cremona Liuteria, Fabio Bonardi – Luthier, Fernando Salvatore Lima, Srl, Giorgio Grisales Violinmaker, L. Polverini 1889, LAC – Liuteria Artistica Cremonese di Morassi Simeone, Lorenzo Lazzarato, Lorenzo Lippi, Liuteria Dimitri Atanassov – Cremona Strings Srl, Liuteria Staynov & Andreeva, Liuteria Tradizionale Cremonese di Andrea Schudtz, Pasco Italia Srl, Pasquetto Luca, Piccinotti Violins, PONCE Bows di Arturo Ponce Morone, Rivolta Snc Di M. e S. Rivolta, Salvi Harps – NSM S.p.A., Scandalli Accordions s.r.l., Serenellini Accordions Srl, and Sound of Cremona S.r.l.

Taking place from 11 – 14 October, Music China is organised by Messe Frankfurt, the China Musical Instruments Association and Shanghai Intex Exhibition Co Ltd.

For more details, visit www.musikmesse-china.com or email the show’s organisers at music@hongkong.messefrankfurt.com.

*China customs data, http://english.customs.gov.cn/Statistics/Statistics?ColumnId=1

**‘Music instruments – China’, Statista. https://www.statista.com/outlook/cmo/toys-hobby/musical-instruments/china. Retrieved: August 2023.

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