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Chinaplas Returns to Shanghai After Six-year Hiatus

More than 4,000 exhibitors are expected to attend, taking advantage of a rebounding domestic and regional economy, according to China-based market watchers.

Stephen Moore

January 4, 2024

4 Min Read
National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai
Image courtesy of Adsale

At a Glance

  • Four million square feet and 4000-plus exhibitors confirmed
  • Regional trade pact adds to market growth potential
  • Smart manufacturing needs heighten as China chases value add

China's economy is showing signs of recovery while Asia overall is acting as the locomotive of the global economy. As the economy continues to rebound, the exhibition industry, which is regarded as an economic barometer, is experiencing a strong recovery. Following its impressive performance in Guangzhou in 2023, Chinaplas 2024 will be held from April 23 to 26, occupying all 15 exhibition halls of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC) in Hongqiao, Shanghai. The total exhibition area of more than 380,000 square meters (more than four million square feet) is 11% larger than the previous Chinaplas iteration in Shanghai in 2018.


The exhibition is making a strong comeback in Shanghai after a six-year absence: Already, more than 4,000 exhibitors from around the world have confirmed their presence.

Trade agreement elevates market potential

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) officially came into effect in June 2023 with 15 Asia Pacific countries being signatories. China is the largest trading partner for most RCEP members, which include Japan, Korea, and Australia.

In the first half of 2023, the total import and export volume between China and other RCEP members reached $835 billion, contributing over 20% to China's international trade growth. In addition, as China’s Belt and Road Initiative celebrates its 10th anniversary, there is a pressing demand for infrastructure and manufacturing industry capacity.

Taking the automobile manufacturing industry as an example, Chinese automakers are speeding up their overseas market expansion. In the first eight months of 2023, more than 2.9 million vehicles were exported, a year-on-year increase of 61.9%. In the first half of 2023, electric vehicles (EVs), lithium-ion batteries, and solar modules — also referred to as the Three New Products of China's foreign trade — recorded a combined export growth of 61.6%, driving growth in overall exports 1.8%. China supplies 50% of global wind power generation equipment and 80% of solar modules.

China attracts FDI; Chinaplas courts visitors

Overseas companies continue to expand their business and investment in China. From January to August 2023, China attracted a total of $116 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), with 33,154 newly established foreign-invested enterprises, representing 33% year-on-year growth. The plastics industry is benefiting from investment in various end-use industries that are sourcing innovative plastic materials and adopting cutting-edge machinery technology to seize the opportunities brought by the new global economic and trade landscape, said Chinaplas organizers.

A number of business associations and companies from various countries and regions have expressed their anticipation and support for Chinaplas 2024, and have started forming delegations to join this annual mega-event, added the show organizers.

Seizing new opportunities in China

In addition to a rebound in foreign trade, domestic demand is also seeing a strong recovery. In recent years, China's manufacturing industry has been striving for high-quality development and value-added smart manufacturing. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has released robust growth plans for 10 key industries, including chemicals, building materials, automobiles, light industry, and electronics/IT. The ministry is promoting the application of innovative products such as new energy vehicles (NEV), smart home appliances, green building materials in rural areas, high-end medical equipment, and robotics.

China has emerged as a global leader in the NEV market. With breakthroughs in battery manufacturing technology and charging infrastructure, China's NEV sales are projected to reach 8.5 million units in 2023, with a penetration rate expected to hit 36% as forecasted by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

From solar to smart speakers

In the first eight months of 2023, installed capacity of photovoltaic power generation reached 113 GW, representing more than 150% year-on-year growth. From smart robotic vacuums to smart speakers, smart kitchen appliances, and smart refrigerators, an increasing number of smart home appliances can be found in Chinese households. The market size for China's smart home appliances is projected to reach $26.3 billion this year.

Chinaplas 2024 host Shanghai has also released a three‑year (2023 to 2025) action plan to promote high‑quality development of the city’s manufacturing industries, and strengthening of manufacturing's role in supporting overall economic development of the city. Manufacturing already accounts for more than one-quarter of regional GDP. 

Second largest medical market in the world

Guangzhou-based market watcher iiMedia Research predicts that the pre-packaged food market in China will attain a value of $69.8 billion in 2023, bringing new demand and creating tremendous prospects for the packaging market. Moreover, China's medical device market has already become the second largest in the world. The development of high-end medical equipment and related technologies is progressing rapidly, with the market size of medical devices in China expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2030.

In this way, industrial transformation is accelerating. "This year, during our communications with plastics and rubber suppliers, we evidently felt that both overseas and local companies have vast confidence in the Chinese market and are very optimistic about exploring business opportunities in China,” concluded Ada Leung, general manager of Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd., the organizer of Chinaplas.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and a proud dachshund owner.

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