Industry seminars, eco-friendly product launches, and children's lifestyle products share centre-stage at Paperworld Middle East
Dubai, UAE, February 28, 2018: The Middle East world of school and office supplies, stationery, paper, arts and crafts, corporate gifts, and children's toys and games as well as leather goods and accessories of the finest quality, takes centre-stage this week in Dubai, as the industry's dedicated regional trade fair got underway.
Running until March 1, at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Paperworld Middle East 2018 features 303 exhibitors from 42 countries, with eco-friendly global product launches and a two-day industry seminar programme among the many highlights.
Also flagging off on its three-day run alongside, was Leatherworld Middle East 2018, the 4th edition of the region's premier showcase of leather footwear, apparel, bags, homeware, and accessories features 34 exhibitors from nine countries, offering a luxurious smorgasbord of leather goods, from South African handbags made from ethically sourced Springbok and Zebra hides, to Italian crafted bespoke men's and women's shoes.
The exhibitions were inaugurated by Butti Saeed Al Kindi, Second Deputy Chairman of the Dubai World Trade Centre. The eighth edition of Paperworld Middle East features country pavilions from Germany, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Pakistan, while the UAE contingent is as strong as ever, with the 31 local exhibitors on-board headed by Farook International Stationery, Capital Envelopes, NGR Paper, Hoshan Pan Gulf, and Party Camel.
New developments in 2018 include a dedicated Corporate Gifts section, where the spotlight shines on the A to Z of promotional items. Arefined Playworld Village has also seen a resurgence, where more than 24 suppliers of children's toys, games and lifestyle products are showcasing their wares, including household global names such as Melissa & Dougand Ty from the USA, and German brands Karaloon and Spiegelburg.
That's in addition to all the returning features such as the Green Room, where all items point to a bright eco-oriented society; and Wrap Star, the UAE's only gift wrapping competition, ensuring Paperworld Middle East remains as the key inspiration source and focal point for the wider region's paper, stationery, and office supplies industries.
Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of the show's organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said: “The Middle East and Africa remains a major market for paper, stationery, and office supplies, with manufacturers viewing the region as a key customer base with high demand for printed media products.
“While the market continues to be driven by leading international brands, there's a growing niche for local and regional players with specialised products catering to regional preferences.
“At Paperworld Middle East 2018, we're welcoming a significant number of key global players and start-ups alike, but all have common objectives; to showcase their latest innovations to thousands of regional trade buyers, strengthen distribution networks, source new clients, and network within the industry,” Pauwels added.
WZ Eurocopert from Poland is one of the many returning global exhibitors to Paperworld Middle East 2018, and is highlighting its eco-friendly credentials at the show's Green Room with its PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified envelopes and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified manila paper.
Wojciech Zukowski, Member of the Board at WZ Eurocopert, Poland's largest envelopes producer and which has 240 employees, said the company's sales in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) increased by 12 percent over the last year.
“We received new orders from the MEA, and our company invested in three new machines to produce an assortment according to regional demand,” he said.
“We also finished the Blue Angel Certification to prove that all our recycled paper envelopes are environmentally friendly.
“The MEA very interesting and promising market; we love the culture, people and doing business here, and we do everything to build full trust and perfect business relationships with customers from this region.”
British stationery manufacturer Premier Grip is another returning exhibitor to Paperworld Middle East this week, having first participated at the show in 2014. Managing Director Alan Morris said since it was established in 1877, Premier Grips has achieved a reputation of high quality stationery products that includes suspension files, treasury tags, box files, adhesive putty, and much more.
“Premier Grip applies both B2B and B2C concepts to its business and we supply stationery to large firms, banks, government, educational establishments, and many other end-user segments,” said Morris.
“Exporting has always been key to Premier Grip's growth strategy and business sustainability. It's critical to the long term success and well-being of our business that we build our brand in carefully selected export markets. The Middle East has shown a great potential for our business expansion, and we've found customers to be very loyal here so we aim to offer the same in return.”
Elsewhere, Paper Panda Roll is seeking regional distributors for its thermal paper roll, cash register roll, and custom printing paper used for the full spectrum of hospitality, retail, financial, gas station, medical, wireless and business transaction applications.
Frank Ouyang, Co-founder of Panda Paper Roll, said the Middle East has been the main source of profits since the company started exporting 14 years ago: “The Middle East comprises 50 percent of our total customer-base while 60 percent of profits come from this market,” said Ouyang.
“We expect to meet more potential customers at Paperworld Middle East and expand our business in the regional market. We're also seeking 2-4 new distributors in Dubai, which is serves as our Middle East base.”
More than 6,000 trade visitors from 90 countries are expected to attend Paperworld Middle East 2018, sourcing the latest industry supplies, from printers, computers and multimedia, to creative materials, leather articles, gifts and wrapping, and school supplies.
A two-day seminar from 28 February to 1 March will also highlight key industry trends, including a special focus on Africa, and an overview of the Middle East office print market.
Leatherworld Middle East 2018features exhibitors from Italy, Australia, Thailand, Pakistan, India, South Africa, and Lebanon.UAE participation is spearheaded by Al Khaznah Tannery, which specialises in chrome-free biodegradable camel hide.
And purveyors of fine fashion with an eye for the future needn't look any further than a student showcase on the exhibition floor, where 15 handbags made by year-two students of prestigious fashion design institute ESMOD Dubai is on display.
That's in addition to a two-day seminar programme, ensuring industry insiders walk away filled with knowledge, with key topics centred on launching a new fashion brand in the mass market, and reimagining the future of the global leather industry.
“We're thrilled to bring the global leather creations community together once again at Leatherworld Middle East 2018,” said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East.
“Exhibitors from all over the world have come to the fore this week, and now is the right time to connect to a regional marketplace that has a strong preference for high-quality, bespoke leather products.
“Industry figures show the retail value of the Middle East's luxury leather goods market, including bags, travel goods, and men's and women's small leather items, was worth US$1.54 billion in 2017, compared to US$1.46 billion in 2016.
“The UAE accounted for a third of the market last year (US$501 million) an increase of 5.6 percent over 2016 (US$474 million). Consumer spending in this country is also estimated to rise to US$586 million in 2020 by the time the Dubai Expo rolls around, while the Middle East market as a whole will be worth US$1.84 billion,” added Pauwels.
South Africa has a major presence at the 4th edition of Leatherworld Middle East, with 15 exhibitors taking part with the support of the South African Footwear and Leather Export Council.
FSP Collection from Cape Town is a first-time exhibitor this year, and is searching for an export partner for its ‘game skin' handbags and homeware range, which includes a high-end zebra skin collection aimed at buyers looking for something unique.
Fiona Spolander, founder of FSP Collection said: “We're using this event to test the market's reception for our game skin and genuine leather hand bags made out of raw material from South Africa.”
“The FSP brand has become well known for its fine leather and game skin handbags and homeware such as cushions and poufs. Traceability is a major concern when purchasing any of our game skins, and so all materials are sourced ethically from local tanneries and leather wholesalers.”
Fellow South African exhibitor Saddler Belts & Leathercraft is returning to Leatherworld Middle East for the 2nd straight year, having received orders of its ostrich leather belts at the show's previous edition. CEO Andrew Fenwick said: “Our genuine ostrich leather belts are strong on style and quality and can be tailor made for customers.
“We expect good growth in the Middle East in 2018 and beyond, and exhibiting at Leatherworld Middle East provides an opportunity to network with other exhibitors and meet new possible customers. We also want to see what types of products are already available in retail storesin the region and what their price points are.”
Elsewhere on the show floor, Max Power Atelier from Thailand is enticing regional trade buyers with its CITES-certified crocodile and python skin handbags.
CEO Nitinan Chalermthanachaikul, said all its handbags are handmade, adding: “This is to not only render each piece of work one-of-a-kind but also to achieve durability and that hand-made charisma that machine-made products can never have. The Middle East is our largest market and the exotic skins we source do not and never will come from endangered species.”
Leatherworld Middle East 2018 is supported by the South Africa Leather Export Council and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan. Returning for the 4th straight year is the show's Founding Sponsor Al Khaznah Tannery, the UAE's only tannery that produces biodegradable, metal-free camel leather goods including bags, shoes, and accessories.
The annual three-day event is the region's dedicatedshowcase offinished leather goods, from footwear, clothing, bags, wallets, and accessories, to premium corporate gifts, stationery, and household decorations. It's an ideal networking platform for regional traders, private brand owners, retailers, boutiques, designers, and corporate gift promotions companies searching for all things leather-related.