What’s ‘Best’ is Best

A couple of trade show heavyweights hit it off in Shanghai last week, but forgive us for thinking the sparks were greater than the fire.

In case you missed the news, Messe Munchen and IPC inked a deal (terms unannounced) whereby the latter would provide marketing support to the former’s series of co-located electronics manufacturing shows in Pudong, including Productronica China and Electronica China.

Promotional literature viewed by a Circuits Assembly reporter at Productronica China last week claimed the new co-located event would be “the biggest / first SMT assembly show in China.” This odd untruth, however, ignores several long-existing Nepcon shows, including Nepcon China, which takes place in two weeks, and Productronica China itself.

Of course, as our intrepid reporter detailed in an email, Productronica “is really not an assembly show like Apex or the old Nepcons. There are a few crimping machines here now and second-tier paste suppliers but only a handful of bigger players like Tyco on the OEM side and nothing on the supply side.” I attended Productronica China in 2001, and it sounds like it hasn’t progressed much in seven years.

As the incumbent, Nepcon China has branding and history on its side, but show producer Reed Tradex has inflamed some large exhibitors with a staunchness that reminds some observers of, well, Reed Exhibitions and Nepcon West. And then there’s the venue: While MMI has built (with the Chinese government) a clean and functional, if a bit sparse and sterile, facility outside Shanghai, Nepcon China is held in the decaying Everbright Convention Center, whose myriad problems I detailed a few years ago.

Still, at the end of the day, what’s important is not whether this odd couple’s concoction is the first, but rather the best. The answer to that rather important detail will come down to which producer can convince the largest number of key suppliers to cast their lots with them.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow