Chinaplas 2020 may be delayed until sometime in the third quarter of this year as organisers monitor the impact of the coronavirus epidemic while also balancing the logistics of running the biggest plastics show scheduled for this year.
"At present, we are trying to postpone Chinaplas to Q2 or Q3 of this year," show organiser Adsale Exhibition Services Ltd said in an email. "We will not change the venue and are communicating closely with the fairground ... for new show dates."
"One of the consideration factors is to avoid an overlap with other large exhibitions," the company said.
Hong Kong-based Adsale said it's also working with partners organising concurrent events: "We expect that these events will not have significant changes and hope to be postponed in synchronization with Chinaplas 2020."
Chinaplas originally was set for April 21-24 in Shanghai. On Feb. 5, Adsale announced it would postpone the event. Chinaplas 2019, in Guangzhou, drew 163,000 people and 3,600 exhibitors. The last time it was in Shanghai, in 2018, it had 180,000 attendees.
During the SARS outbreak in 2003, Chinaplas was postponed from June of that year to December.
The novel coronavirus first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, and began to spread in January. Since then it has killed more than 600 people and sickened more than 31,000 globally.
The Chinaplas announcement follows announcements in late January that other trade shows, including Asiamold 2020 in Guangzhou and the Personal Care and Homecare Ingredients show in Shanghai, both scheduled for Feb. 26-28, would be postponed.
Beyond China, IPF 2020, the Bangladesh International Plastics, Packaging and Printing trade show, originally scheduled for Feb. 12-15, has been postponed until June 4-7.
The government in China has ordered many sites to close until Feb. 10, but there are signs that date will change.
Chinaplas 2019 drew more than 160,000 people.
The Chinaplas postponement comes amid some signs of growing difficulties in the manufacturing supply chains.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles warned Feb. 6 it may be forced to close a European assembly plant in the next two to four weeks if China-based suppliers cannot reopen soon.
South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. said Feb. 4 it was halting manufacturing at Korean plants because of supply chain disruptions caused by the virus, which has forced factories across China to close until at least Feb. 10 as Chinese authorities have extended the Lunar New Year holiday.
As well, the outbreak could reduce first-quarter vehicle output in China by 1.7 million units, or 32%, according to consultancy IHS Markit, in a report by Automotive News China, a sister publication of Plastics News.
A Feb. 5 report on supply chain disruptions from the virus, prepared by consulting firm Capital Economics, said the electronics and automotive sectors have among the most exposure to Chinese supply chains.
"The auto sector in North America ... has relatively large supply chain links with China, which is consistent with recent reports that U.S. car producers are just weeks away from shutting plants due to a dwindling supply of parts," the report said.
It noted that floods in Thailand in 2011 had a ripple effect on supply of specific auto parts worldwide and caused Toyota to cut production at plants as far away as North America.
Overall, though, the report said that manufacturing supply chains in developed economies have relatively less risk of significant coronavirus disruptions than manufacturing industries in emerging Asian economies.
"Industry-level data suggest that temporary disruption should have little macroeconomic impact in [developed markets]," the firm said. "But the effects are highly uncertain, and at very least there could be serious consequences for individual firms."
Plastics companies, including those with operations in Wuhan where the virus originated, said they continue to monitor conditions and be ready to resume production when they can.
Russell Johnson, president of China Array Plastics LLC, which has a moulding plant in Wuhan, said none of its employees have contracted the virus. Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei Province have accounted for 618 of the coronavirus deaths, as of Feb. 7.
"It is hard to tell when production will resume," Johnson said, in an email. "Initial announcements were for 2/10/20, but that is subject to change. When it does resume, there will be backlogs in supply chains and logistics."
But he said the practice of the company, which is based in Pittsfield, Mass., is to order sufficient raw materials before the Chinese New Year "so it is in good shape to rapidly ramp up production once it's permitted."
"Our hearts go out to the people of Wuhan," said Johnson, who noted he's done business there for 40 years. "It's a resilient city with a long history of overcoming adversity."
Large China-based moulder, mould maker and metals firm Eva Precision Industrial Holdings Ltd., which has factories throughout China, including in Wuhan, said that it is hopeful normal production can resume soon at its locations around the country.
"As our customers' assembly plants are also shut down, we do not encounter much pressure from our customers for the possible production delay caused by the coronavirus," said Francis Wong, spokesman for company, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Eva is active in the auto and office equipment supply chains.
"At this stage, we do not see any adverse impact on future demand, and therefore we expect that our production can resume to normal as soon as the situation improves," he said.
In Germany, automotive moulding company Webasto SE said Feb. 3 that coronavirus cases among its staff was causing it to extend the closing of its Stockdorf, Germany, headquarters to Feb. 11. It first closed Jan. 29.
"This is in line with the longest incubation period of 14 days assumed by experts for the virus," the company said.
Webasto said seven of its employees tested positive for the virus, up from four initially. They were infected after an employee from Webasto's China operation visited Stockdorf for meetings in late January and then, after returning home to China, tested positive for coronavirus.
One Chinese plastics machinery executive said he did not expect much direct impact on the overall industry's business climate from the Chinaplas postponement, but worried that if the coronavirus epidemic continued for several months there will be long-term economic repercussions.
"If the crisis lasts for more than three months, there will be a great impact to the Chinese economy and also in the long-term a negative effect towards China as one of the most important elements in the global supply chain," said Richard Yan, CEO of Guangdong Yizumi Precision Machinery Co. Ltd. "This will then be a big impact to the plastics industry in China."