Review of CIOE China International Optoelectronic Expo

PLG Chief executive John Lincoln recently supported UKTI inward investment team at the China International Optoelectronics Exposition (CIOE) in Shenzhen 4-7 September 2013.   Those interested in understanding the dynamics of this major CHinese photonics exhibition may find the following observations useful.

Observations on CIOE

This is large exhibition covering 100,000 sq meters with 3,200 exhibitors spread across 9 halls attracting ~70,000 visitors and filling the exhibition centre in down town Shenzhen. Approximately 2-3X size of Laser World of Photonics in Munich

Exhibition has 4 focus areas that reflect local Guangdong industry strengths:-

  • LEDs. >30% of space is given over LED packaging equipment and large format LED matrix displays.  If you need a bigger screen for your rock festival this is the place for you.  Plenty of LED replacement bulbs, LED street lights and luminaires all based on volumes of low power LEDs.  Notably, none of the major high power LED manufacturers (Cree, Lumiled etc were present). Competition in the local luminaire and LEP replacement market is extremely fierce
  • Optics. Again ~30% of space is dedicated to bulk optics and associated polishing and production equipment.  No free form optics or diamond turning evident although some  limited plastic optics, but not many micro arrays
  • Optical Comms. ~20% area mostly pluggable transceiver modules, cabling and fibre handling equipment    Many of the module suppliers are understood to be suffering from reduction in local demand. No system houses or board level integrators exhibiting (e.g No Hauwei (although plenty of their engineers on floor)
  • Lasers /infrared applications <10%.   The weakest of all the areas with more focus on IR imaging than lasers.  Indeed the very few lasers on display were those with local distributors

The quality of the large booths was equal, if not better, than any other international exhibition in North America or Europe. However, despite the billing and size, this is mainly a local show.  With few exceptions only local Shenzhen /Guangdong companies and a small number of international brands had significant booth space.  The rest of Chinese photonics was packed away into a hall with rows of 3x3m booths.  Hidden in here were many significant companies based in more distant provinces/cities e.g. Wuhan, Shanghai or Beijing.  Many of these small booths were doing brisk business, with substantial staff numbers present from both sales and engineering.  It was clear that booth size was more an indication of location than business size / strength.

Although there were some laser manufacturers hidden in the small booths, there was no focus on industrial laser processing. Indeed Hans Laser , despite being HQ’ed locally, were only exhibiting their LED processing equipment.

Is it worth Attending/ Exhibiting

There was a small UKTI pavilion supporting UK exhibitors, with plenty of room to grow and strong support from the organisers.  However, the pay back depends where you are in the supply chain. If you make manufacturing equipment used by the telco module manufactures, cabling folks, optics polishers or LED packaging then there are plenty of customers, with engineers clearly walking the floors.  However, if you are into laser processing, imaging, higher levels of integration or your customers are just in a different Chinese province, there are probably better places to be e.g. Laser World of Photonics China, or Optics Valley of China” International Optoelectronic Expo (OVC EXPO).

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