Gerhard Gerritzen, Deputy Managing Director, MesseMuenchen GmbH talks exclusively to Asian Ceramics ( about the MMI/Unifair tie-up.

The situation of having two annual exhibitions for the ceramics industry in Ahmedabad was extremely unsatisfactory for exhibitors and visitors alike. So at the request of several customers, we reached out to our competitor and quickly found a common basis for collaborating with one another. We are absolutely convinced that we have achieved more than “1 + 1 = 2” with the co-location solution of “two shows—one date”. Now the important Indian ceramics market has THE central marketplace—a win-win situation for everyone involved” says MrGerritzen.

Of course, Indian Ceramics always had a clear focus and a unique profile on the Indian market. We don’t want to nor do we intend to change anything about that. Exhibitors and visitors can expect the same tried-and-tested concept that they know. However, we do see additional potential that also extends beyond India, and we would like to position the event accordingly. Our partnership with Unifair, which agrees with our assessment about market opportunities, is intended to be long term. Both sides want to continue expanding Ahmedabad as a trade-fair venue.

Given this backdrop, we actually expect this partnership to yield synergies. The exhibition will be larger. More space will be needed. Unfortunately, the Gujarat University Convention and Exhibition Centre doesn’t have enough exhibition space.At the 2015 fair, we set up an additional tent hangar, which worked out very well. We will continue to pursue this approach and expand outside the hall. Having two organizers makes it easier to deal with the necessary investments and offer exhibitors a show with an attractive price-performance ratio.

But how does the German exhibition giant consider the branding will now evolve for the event?

Brand names are important. Indian Ceramics is the kind of brand name that is very well established, and naturally we would like to develop the brand further. But we will evaluate the situation after the fair in March 2016. Ceramics Asia takes place at the same time, but it is also closely intertwined with us. We are looking forward to this collaboration and to the boost that it will give to both events.

You see, when two partners decide to collaborate, each of them must strengthen their strengths to improve the overall result. Unifairis a Chinese company, so of course it is extremely well positioned in China and Asia. As the organizer of Ceramics China, it has outstanding contacts in the industry around the world. MesseMünchenand its Indian subsidiary know the markets in India and Europe, and we have our customer potential there. To establish clear areas of responsibility and, in doing so, give the exhibitors a contact from the region, this breakdown made perfect sense. Beyond that, we don’t see any additional influences.

So, combined forces, but will it be a clash of ideals? MrGerritzen clearly doesn’t think so, and emphasises the fact that there will now greater stability in the market:

When there were two exhibitions on the same topic at the same location, it was an “either or” situation for many exhibitors and visitors. So we made the decision for them. Now there is only one event that will bring all exhibitors and visitors together. Unifairand MesseMünchenare both private-sector organizations. Naturally, both organizers want to earn money by getting involved in India. It is true: Indian Ceramics’ price structure was very inconsistent. Add to that strong fluctuations in the exchange rate. MesseMünchenhas been the organizer of Indian Ceramics for two years. During that period, we have been working very hard to implement uniform conditions. The positive side of co-locating these two events is that we can offer all exhibitors even better prices that are in line with the market.

The key point is that, now, we offer a platform for all of the industry’s companies that do business in India and neighboring countries. The expenses incurred when a company participates in a trade show depend on size. Particularly in the case of shell-scheme stands for smaller companies, the cost of participating in the exhibition are less than the incidental expenses for flights, hotels and the salaries of participating employees. Many countries also support companies by offering them subsidies when they participate in trade fairs in other countries.

So that’s the news order of things…what does it mean for future development?

We would like very much to acquire new exhibitor sectors and groups of visitors for the fair. Ceramics is a fascinating material and we are sure that it still has a great deal of growth potential here. The dates in March are due to the late Chinese New Year. Generally speaking, we are aiming at holding the exhibition in mid- to late February, although each year the actually dates will depend on the dates of competing events as well as national and international holidays.

India is one of MesseMünchen’s key markets. We have subsidiaries in China, Turkey, South Africa and also in India. That underscores how important India is to us. We organize and develop customized trade fairs for the country and the market in several branches of industry. It is a long-term commitment that makes us one of the important organizers in India. Personally, I am always very pleased when I get the chance to visit India. I like the country a lot—it is incredibly dynamic and its people are extremely dedicated. Our subsidiary MMI India has a strong team and we are proud of how things have developed over the past few years. I am excited and look forward to our ongoing collaboration.