The already large Chinaplas trade fair is moving to a bigger venue in 2018, the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai's Hongqiao district.
The annual show had outgrown its previous home in the city, the Shanghai New International Exhibition Center, said Ada Leung, general manager of Chinaplas organizer Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd., in a Feb. 22 announcement.
She said SNIEC's indoor halls had been fully occupied by Chinaplas since 2012, requiring more and more exhibitors to be housed in less convenient temporary tents on the grounds.
Chinaplas is the world's largest annual trade show in the plastics industry and has grown from 180,000 square meters and more than 2,400 exhibitors in 2011, to a projected 250,000 square meters and 3,300 exhibitors this year, in Guangzhou, according to Hong Kong-based Adsale.
"We really ran out of space in Shanghai New International Exhibition Center," Leung said. "Evaluation and analysis on moving to NECC began in early 2016, and considering the long-term development of the show, we made the decision in the fourth quarter."
The NECC opened in 2015, and has 400,000 square meters of indoor exhibition space and 100,000 square meters of potential outdoor space.
But Adsale said it plans to use only 300,000 square meters for Chinaplas 2018 because it wants the event to be done in a "well-planned and controlled manner."
"In moving to a new venue, it requires a lot of details planning," Leung said. "This is particularly true for Chinaplas in view of its huge show scale and high technical complexity."
Adsale officials have been eyeing a move to the new Hongqiao center for several years but had previously expressed reservations about shifting too quickly, noting they wanted hotels and others services to develop around the new center.
In an interview at Chinaplas 2016, Adsale Chairman Stanley Chu had also said the new NECC center was not purposefully built for a large machinery show like Chinaplas.
But Adsale noted in the announcement that the new venue will allow for prolonged move-in and move-out times to help exhibitors.
The 2018 show in NECC will be April 24-27.
While it can be difficult to make direct comparisons between trade shows, Chinaplas now seems to be roughly the same size as Germany's K fair, or larger, depending in how they're measured.
K, which is held every three years in Düsseldorf, Germany, is usually considered the world's most important plastics show because it stretches over eight days and includes many new technology introductions.
The 2016 edition of the K show took up 173,000 square meters of exhibition space, with nearly 3,300 exhibitors. That's about the same number of exhibiting companies expected at this year's Chinaplas, but the Chinese fair is an annual event.
In comments, Adsale officials have traditionally deferred to K. At Chinaplas 2015, for example, Chu told journalists the Chinese show was "still lagging behind the K show considerably in terms of quality."
Chinaplas alternates between Shanghai and Guangzhou, and will continue to do so, Adsale said. This year's edition will take place May 16-19 in Guangzhou.
The largest plastics show in North America, NPE, is held every three years and occupies a little over 100,000 square meters of space with 2,000 exhibiting companies.