Will the Indian Event Industry Stop Sourcing from China? Will a Shift Impact Event Cost?

Industry Watch | September 4, 2020 | Feature

Modern Stage Services Consortium Gifts J Davis Prosound & Lighting Shivam Videos Atthah Info Media

The anti-China sentiment is high and we have seen a ban on several apps from the country in India. EVENTFAQS Media reached out to players to understand how this might impact the event industry.

We asked: What are the major elements (across tech, decor, trophies, etc.) the Indian event industry sources from China? What are the alternatives to these? How do they compare on (i) quality and (ii) price with the Chinese offerings? If there is a shift? Should we expect one? Will moving away from Chinese products / offerings lead to a rise in event costs?

Here is what respondents had to say.

‘Matching price with China achievable in the long run.’
-Pratik Wadhwa, CEO, Modern Stage Services

Ninety-five percent of lighting and trussing gets imported from China. All LED wall and LED TVs are imported from China. Even cheaper audio equipment is imported from China.

Alternative to this is that either India needs to manufacture equipment or International companies have to start assembly lines in India. Indian government will have to support this industry by giving subsidies.

Quality of ‘Made in India’ products can be matched with China. We have got back into manufacturing lights in India. Matching price with China will be difficult at present because they produce for the world but it is achievable in the long run.

As quality products cost more, the rental of those products will also be higher. Small scale service providers will be affected the most. Not at present, maybe in the future the event industry will move away from sourcing from China.

“People are bringing raw materials from China and manufacturing in India.”
- Gaurav Bhagat, Managing Director, Consortium Gifts

What is primarily happening in the last few months is, a lot of event manufacturing is happening in India for the products that majorly come from China, yet there is a lot of dependency on China for those products. Tech is more dependent on China as it is difficult to manufacture those in India.

As far as trophies and mementos go, we have a lot of manufacturing now in India. What people are doing now is bringing raw materials from China and manufacturing it in India. This is a trend that is growing but 80 percent of tech (products) are still imported from China.

People are now investing in three different elements: Machinery, Raw materials and Technology. People have also started looking at other markets as an alternative to China. Certain supplies have now started coming that Vietnam and Taiwan. Price of products from other countries can be slightly higher but companies have started importing. There are some people who have started importing from Italy and Europe as well at a higher price but they are willing to explore them.

I believe the price range for events in India will not increase because of this. Only some exclusive stuff that one needs might become slightly expensive, but on the whole it will average out. In the long run it will become cheaper.

It is a global trend right now to move away from China so I think it will happen here as well.

“The Alternatives to China primarily would be European and US.”
-Santana Davis, Managing Director, J Davis Prosound & Lighting

A vast majority of the rental companies like sound, light, LED and trussing are currently in a bad state and are yet to make any kind of significant investment in equipment. With this current market scenario, any sort of imports would only pick up momentum in the later part of next year. So maybe it's too early to say anything at the moment, especially in our industry.

My assumption is that a certain level of impact will surely be there on import of these equipment or materials from China if the current scenario between India and China doesn’t improve. The alternatives to China primarily would be the European and US markets. Maybe Taiwan could play some role.

The quality has always been at top class standards when it comes to the Western market. The price compared to a top-quality Chinese brand will be at least two to three times higher.

A lot of rental companies who are heavily dependent on B or C grade Chinese products may face issues in procuring. Those products, which are sold at a really competitive price with decent quality standards,  are being quite rampantly used in the Indian market.

If there is a shift, there will surely be a rise in rental price at least somewhere 1.5 to 3 times based on the equipment type and market demands. An overnight shift in sourcing equipment or materials from China could prove a bit difficult. It should be planned in a phased manner so that it doesn't affect the business of rental companies and also the market in terms of pricing. The market is already in a tight spot and this may not help the situation.

“Hosting the event without Chinese equipment will be expensive.”
-Shivam Singh, CEO, Shivam Videos

There are a lot of things that come from China in our industry, whether it’s tech, décor or other stuff.  China manufactures in big numbers and hence it is easier for them to give products at a much cheaper rate.

Alternatives are either of low quality and the premium quality is expensive.  So hosting the event without Chinese equipment will be expensive, which in turn would increase the event costs.

As an audio-visual company, we always love to keep a Plan B, for every scenario. We have already planned and it’s in process to import parts from Taiwan, Japan or Korea and assemble them in India. Later, we are also planning to start manufacturing in India. We want to support our nation and be self-sufficient. We are ready to support ‘Make in India’. But for that we would need government’s support as well as setting up a manufacturing unit is not easy. This pandemic has taught us many things, one of which is to be self-dependent.

“China is only considered in cases where the clients are extremely budget conscious.”
-Puneet Malhotra, Growth Catalyst, Atthah
Info Media

In experiential technology, our dependence on imported products is usually restricted to physical events, where we require certain sensors and physical computing parts that are either sourced out of China or Germany. We typically prefer sourcing out of Germany given the quality of the products. China is only considered in cases where the clients are extremely budget conscious.

The anti-China sentiment is high and we have seen a ban on several apps from the country in India. EVENTFAQS Media reached out to players to understand how this might impact the event industry.

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