Who's shopping in Izmir?
54,227 visitors from all over the world came to the 16th "Marble2010" fair from 24th – 27th March in Izmir-2,667 more than in 2009, and many came to shop. "This is the best fair we‘ve had in Turkey", said Abit Yeşilkaya the president of Haz International.
Mr. Yeşilkaya told Naturstein that he has exhibited at the fair for the last 16 years and has seen many changes in that time. The Turkish natural stone industry has grown up a great deal. “What especially impresses me is the quantity and variety of material available at this year’s show especially Onyx. Plus the added interest of the politicians. It seems that they are now realising that the stone industry is an important part of the Turkish economy. I am hopeful that we will see some help for the industry politically”. He is concerned whether it is still financially prudent to send blocks to China and have the finished material sent back to Turkey.
For more information regarding the Chinese market see the article "Are there important developments in China?"
China: Big shopper, but not the only one
The natural stone and machinery industries brings Turkey 1,5 billion USD in export income. Certainly one of the biggest customers is China - the prominence of the Chinese at the fair was very noticeable. Most companies serve China as the biggest shopper, purchasing huge numbers of blocks for fabrication in China. Not everybody is happy supplying the ravenous China. "The Egyptian stone industry will not supply China”, Fady Mahfouz Haddad of the Haddad Group of Egypt firmly pronounced. “I believe that the Chinese export market is heavily subsidised. A material which sells for $40 on the Chinese home market, is sold for as low as $12 for export. We exhibit at Izmir not to sell to the Chinese, but to sell to our main markets Turkey, Europe, Russia and Korea. We want to keep our local material for the future."
It was unmistakable that the Chinese were heavily represented. However, the fairs organisers IZFAŞ reported that there were also buyers from 78 countries which included India, Russia, Macedonia, Poland, Bahrain and Europe. Ertan Koyuncu, the Deputy General manager of the fair told Naturstein: "Marble" is one of the top three International fairs and its significance for the Arabic and eastern countries is growing.
China is innovative. To compete- invest!
Uĝur Inan of Özçelik told Naturstein: "We all need to be aware of the fact that the Chinese are innovative. A Chinese company, which we supply, turn out over 5,000 fireplaces in one month. However, we still offer superior quality here in Turkey. Look around at the quality of the finished products on offer at the fair this year."
Many of the Turkish companies have invested heavily in the modernisation of their plants to combat this problem. Deniz Mr. Yeşilkaya, director of Haz International, added to his father’s comments "We are continually modernising, as are many Turkish companies. It is interesting to note that most companies are now purchasing home produced machinery." More information regarding the Haz Group can be found on this website under; Haz Business card.
The theme of modernisation to compete in the International market was repeated many times to Naturstein. Murat Takmakli of UĞUR Marble and Mine Co: "We are presently finishing our new factory, which should be on line in the next few months. Our main markets are the Arabic countries for cut to size, the majority of blocks are purchased by China and India. We are supplying material in Europe and have supplied our Royal Beige to the German company Vetter for a large project in London. We will persevere in Europe as many of our our materials are perfect for the northern European taste”. Royal Beige can be seen in our International Natural Stone Archive. More information can be found on UĞUR Business card.
Not only were the buyers from the East at the fair, Naturstein met Katharina Mörz, managing director of the wholesaler MŌRZ NATURSTEIN located in Graz Austria. We were sitting in the stretch-limo of Bayyurt on our way to their showroom, feeling like super stars. I asked Katharina why she came to “Marble 2010; “I think that the Turkish materials are very interesting, and one must go further a field to find materials which are a bit different and will satisfy the Northern European taste. I travel a lot looking for out of the ordinary materials to be added to our already extensive stock of natural stone slabs and blocks. I’m happy to tell you it was worth my while visiting Izmir."
Not all the companies are staying at home waiting for the shoppers to come to them. Metamar, being one of the largest and oldest producers and exporters in the Turkish natural stone sector, are very active on the international market. Sales manager Anver Kasimov told Naturstein: “We are exhibiting at most of the important stone fairs in the world. I have just returned from Xiamen. Last year we introduced three new materials at Stone+tec in Nurnberg: Ice Grey, Nordic Grey and Earth Grey from our new quarry in Barla.” More information regarding Metamar and images of the three materials can be seen on this website Metamar Business Card (NORDIC GREY ICE GREY EARTH GREY)
The fair was summed up by the deputy general manager Ertan Koyuncu of IZFAS "This year’s fair was the best so far. It was interesting and was well attended. Even the last hours on the last day, the halls were still full. We may not be the largest fair in the world, but we are in the top three. We aim to carry on expanding and continually improving our services to both visitors and exhibitors. We are presently planning our new fairground which will be completed in three years time. We aim to increase our services to Western Europe and welcome inquiries regarding visiting or exhibiting at Marble 2011” More information can be found on the Marble Fair Business Card.