Early February, Istanbul, the first part of the greatest exhibition of industrial equipment - the World of Industry 2012 - took place. Bignes.ru correspondent had a conversation with the organizer of the exhibition - Alexander Kuhnel, Hannover Messe Bilişim Fair Inc. general manager - and learned why they had chosen Turkey as the site for its activities.
Starting our conversation, please tell us about the history of the WIN exhibitions.
The history World of Industry, the largest exhibition of new products manufactured in Turkey and the Middle East started in 1994, when the first in the history of the Turkish industry Automation Fair, organized by a local company Bilişim Inc, took place. From year to year the scope of activities has been expanding and the number of exhibitors and visitors has been growing. In the beginning of the new millennium, our Turkish partners realized that they needed professional experience of exhibition business. At the same time, Deutsche Messe AG was looking for its way into the rapidly growing Turkish market. Our company is one of the largest exhibition companies in the world, and we could offer Bilişim our expertise in organizing world class events and access to the global market of the specialized exhibitions. In turn, our Turkish partners had necessary contacts in the domestic market. Therefore, we have created a joint venture Hannover Messe Bilişim Fair Inc., under auspices of which we're holding exhibitions and fairs World of Industry since 2002.
For the years we have been striving to make our exhibitions cover as many branches of engineering. Now you can see here such areas of manufacturing industry as a hydraulic automation, electrotechnology, metalworking and processing of surfaces, welding technology. However, in 2006, it became clear that after this expansion it was physically impossible to accommodate all wishing to participate in exhibitions under one roof. So we had to divide the World of Industry, and the following year, 2007, we held two exhibitions - WIN1 and WIN 2. That is for five years, we have managed to double the number of participants. The WIN1 gathers manufacturers of hydraulic and pneumatic equipment, electrical equipment and material handling. WIN2 specializes in metalworking, welding technology and processing of surfaces.
How many companies are involved in your exhibition and from which countries?
This year, the first part of the exhibition gathered over 900 participants from 33 countries. Of course, the majority of them - it is machine-building companies from Turkey and Germany. But this year, we've organized the first individual pavilions for Japanese and Korean manufacturers. In addition to them, the exhibition involved manufacturers from China, France, India, Iran, Italy, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK and the USA. This is only the direct exhibitors. But given the international nature of many companies, the number of participating countries increases sharply: the representatives from Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden and Ukraine.
And who is most interested in the exhibition. Where the majority of the buyers come from?
Judging by the statistics, the companies from Azerbaijan, Croatia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and Uzbekistan are most interested in the products represented at our exhibition. That is, either actively developing countries, or the countries starting their path of industrial development. And they're not idle spectators, they are real buyers.
You've mentioned Sudan, for example. How much such poor countries may be of interest to producers of industrial equipment?
On the one hand you're right. But on the other hand, the so-called poor countries are also seeking to develop the industrial sector, they need equipment. Industrial companies from there are supported by the government. For example, Sudan has a program to develop metal-working industries. Thus, even poor countries have great potential. But to develop the industry, you need to know the trends in the global industry. And our fair helps them. With the support of Turkish Ministry of Economy we're developing a program for the guest accommodation and transfer for potential buyers from abroad.
How many people visit the exhibition World of Industry?
At the moment, I cannot tell you the number of visitors. In the past year the WIN was visited by 45,000 visitors from 55 countries. Preparing for this exhibition, we've made great efforts to attract new visitors. We had agreements with TV channels. We're cooperating with specialized publications and placing infomercials on the radio. We're working closely with Istanbul municipality and chambers of commerce of various regions of Turkey. So, I'm sure this year not less people would visit our exhibition this year. I can say that the global crisis does not affect us. Current severe weather is much more dangerous.
You said the crisis hasn't affected you? How do your events help the participants to develop their business?
It is very difficult to talk about specific figures, since only a few participants share with us the details of their business. But the fact that more than 70 percent of the exhibitors come here from year to year is very significant. It is unlikely that they would have been participating in the World of Industry for ten years, if our show does not help them to do good business. However, we know stories of real success. This year I have not heard something new. But I remember a year ago, in the first day of our show, we met with one of our key customers in the metalworking industry. He disconcerted us saying that he was going home. It turned out that in the very first day he had made so many contracts that ensured work for his factory for the next six months. So our fair is not just a place for producers to meet with potential customers. This is the place where the real deals are made. This is well known here, in Turkey. And that is why we're so appreciated. But, again, it is very difficult to talk about specific figures.
What markets are the key for you?
At the moment we are focused on five main regions. They are Russia, Brazil, Turkey, China and India. Turkey has become the main venue for our events since it is a very strong economy; the country is actively expanding its industrial capacity. In recent years, it has made a dramatic technological breakthrough, turning from the importer to a major exporter of engineering products. And, of course, because it is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Istanbul is the metropolis with a well-developed infrastructure and the offices of many companies from our target group. Russia is also seeking to restore its industrial might, therefore, last year we came to the market of your country. This year we'll hold a second exhibition on the basis of the complex Crocus Expo in Moscow. But our interests are not limited by the industrial equipment, and our geography - by Turkey and Russia. We're holding information technology exhibition CeBIT in Germany, Australia and Brazil, in Brazil and India - the demonstration of equipment for processing different materials. We're also organizing specialized exhibition Domotex (flooring sector), and CeMAT - in the field of logistics solutions. We're holding the largest exhibitions in the area of heating, air conditioning and ventilation - Sodex.
Could you give a detailed account about the Russian direction of your business? Why are you trying to attract to your events in Turkey the visitors from Russia?
The main export markets of the Turkish engineering are Iraq, Germany, France, Russia, Italy ... In addition, your country is ranked third in the Turkish exports in general, and first place in terms of imports. Thus, there is great potential for mutually beneficial cooperation. Equally important is the fact that there is no visa issue between Turkey and Russia. Every year about two million Russians visit us. For your countrymen, it's much more difficult to come to Germany, where we are also carrying out a wide exhibition activity. So we'll actively develop relations with our Russian "daughter". I am sure that our activities may become a significant incentive to increase trade between the two countries and for the industrial modernization in Russia. That's why I am very glad of this opportunity to tell the representatives of Russian media about our potential.