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Aquatech Amsterdam 2019 Water Treatment Exhibition Experience Report

The first visitor on the first day of the water treatment exhibition was actually a foreign trade association member, Ms Liru Gao, who was carrying out market research for the 2020 Taipei Water Show. What impressed me most was that she had done her homework before coming, saying that she had also found my blog post “The Amsterdam Water Show 2017 Report” through a Google searcg. https://reurl.cc/A1pQqd

On the fourth day of the exhibition, a lady from a Wenzhou manufacturer, named Ms Lingjian Shao, came to tell me that she had also seen my exhibition blog post, where I had gone to countries around the world to collect tap water and had taken them home for analysis. She said that she is also doing the same now. It is true that, in the words of Confucius: “Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.”, because the inspiration and influence of these two ladies inspired me to find the time to complete this ” Aquatech Amsterdam 2019 Water Treatment Exhibition Experience” report.

[1] This year is the 55th of the 110-year-old exhibition

The exhibition has been held for 110 years as it is held every two years the advertisement on the wall poster says this was the 55th event.

[2] The exhibition venue was reduced in size

Having attended and participated in this Amsterdam water treatment exhibition on more than ten occasions, I discovered that, this time, there was one fewer exhibition hall and many fewer exhibitors, leading me to wonder if the fevered pace for water purification equipment was over. Although the economy continues to be sluggish, this is an exhibition that is held only once every two years, therefore registration for it should have been completed two years ago. Were there so many manufacturers who could predict that the economy would be so poor after two years?

I talked to several customers about this issue, one of whose analysis that, over the years, some big world manufacturers have merged, seemed to be the most reasonable explanation.

These manufacturers include:

(1) BWT AG acquisitions

  • Acquisition of ATH

(2) RWC

  • Acquisition of John Guest.

(3) Kinetico

  • Acquisition of Puricom Europa S.L. (Spain)

(4) Culligan

  • Acquisition of Fluxtek Europe S.L. (Spain)

Therefore, the companies that have been acquired do not have to spend money to participate in the exhibition. Perhaps this is the real reason why there are many fewer exhibitors.

There were also many fewer visitors. What is the explanation for this? From the following data, we know that the number of visitors (the total number of business cards collected) to our Easywell water purification booths in past years were between 90-100 valid individuals, and at almost no time over the four days was there time to go to the bathroom. However, this year we only had 74 visitors to the booth, which was a lot fewer.

[3] Product development trend

1 short, thin, and light

2 smart

3 simple appearance

[4] The exhibition organizer made the same mistake twice

This issue should also be discussed and shared as it may be possible for the organizers to discuss a way to prevent a reoccurrence. We also don’t understand why the exhibition organizers can make an almost identical mistake at two consecutive events. Perhaps it is because they have not applied for ISO-9000 quality certification, so there are no measures to correct and prevent these mistakes reoccurring!

The issue was that:

(1) Two years ago, we went to the Aquatech exhibition hall in Shanghai and found that there was no information about our company in the exhibitors’ roster. How could visitors find us? I went to the representative from Taiwan, Li Ruhu, and the solution from the Aquatech Shanghai office was the offer, which we accepted, to publish a free advertisement in their exhibitors’ list at the subsequent event as compensation..

(2) This situation happened for a second time at this exhibition. On this occassion, a longstanding British customer found our booth in Amsterdam and told us: “I couldn’t find your Easywell water purification booth listed in the exhibitors’ roster”, “Wow!” was my response. I asked him how he found us. He said he found us on the organizer’s website. On the third day of the exhibition, the organizers sent two staff members to apologize. Their proposed solution was to: “Upload the Easywell products onto Aquatech’s social website to enhance our exposure.” I could only say, “Okay!” Quarreling was a waste of time, and would take me away from the time I had to make contact with potential customers.

[5] A few good events that were directly mentioned in the exhibition

(1) Before the end of the final day, the organizer sent a lady wearing an Aquatech uniform to distribute flyers. She was helping disadvantaged groups and was looking for exhibitors to donate exhibits and water.

(2) This exhibition was in the Netherlands and most of the exhibitors were from European and American countries. When dismantling, they paid more attention to cleanliness and order, when compared with the exhibition halls of our big brother. Of course, our exhibitors from Asia will be influenced by European and American manufacturers, and they will become more elegant.

(3) The Amsterdam city government has built a new subway station that has been completed this year. With an entrance and exit in the square in front of the exhibition hall, similar to the one in front of the World Trade Exhibition Hall in Xinyi Road, Taipei this subway is very helpful for the arrival and dispersal of people. According to our Dutch customers the subway took 10 years to complete and, because of the special geology in the area, it was common for houses to tilt and even to collapse during the construction.

(4) Little stories from the exhibition

During the exhibition, I went to talk to some companies from China. I was particularly concerned about why a company in Yuyao, Zhejiang did not come to the exhibition (Because this company had always taken particular care of me in the past).  I learned that after their last exhibition, their exhibits were not intended to be shipped back to China, nor were they reported to the conference. They left the exhibits and received a one exhibition ban as a result.

[6] Conclusion

I must remember that every time someone asks me: “What industry do you work in?” and I reply: “It is water purification.”, regardless of whether the other party is engaged in industry or is at home, 100% of them will say: “That is a very promising and popular industry.” Because of this belief and perception, everyone is frantically investing in this industry. The big manufacturers that did not produce or sell water purification equipment before, no matter whether high-tech, mobile phone, home appliance, marketing channels, the entertainment industry, or food producers… have all invested in this industry; most of them, have made high-priced mergers and acquisitions either with or of existing manufacturers that already have brand awareness, research and development of new products, and manufacturing capabilities. They have done this in order to enter and to get a seat at the table within the water treatment industry at the earliest opportunity.

This industry has become white hot within just a few short years and manufacturers with new technologies and new products are not necessarily guaranteed to be profitable. The profits of manufacturers maintaining the status quo can only be compressed and can even lead to a quick exit from the market.

While talking with Spanish manufacturers (with more than 40 years of history) at the exhibition, it was clear that every industry is changing fast. Rapid changes and fierce competition mean that principals are often unprepared. It is becoming ever more difficult for businesses to remain in existence for more than 100 years. Therefore, to those enterprises that are more than 100 years old we should salute the managers and workforce.

Written by: Rodger Lin of Easywell water

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