RechargExpo USA26 Mar, 2008
Altadena, California (March 17, 2008) – On March 12, 2008, Recharge Asia magazine launched a trade show called RechargExpo USA. The event was themed as “The Asian Connection” and was planned as a U.S. link to Asian cartridge remanufacturers, one that would enable Western remanufacturers to get acquainted and conduct business with their Asian counterparts.
The startup show drew roughly 70 Exhibitors, many of whom were Asian companies, to showcase a broad array of toner and ink jet cartridges and cartridge components. Attendance by Visitors and Exhibitors is expected to grow steadily over the coming years. For RechargExpo USA 2009, organizers will more than double the number of booths on the Exhibit Floor.
At an after-hours meeting called to critique the show, Exhibitors gave a round of applause to Ms. Sunny Sun and her team at Recharge Asia magazine for the excellent planning, for the easy access to the Exhibit Hall, for the choice of the Hilton Universal City Hotel as a convenient and comfortable venue, and for the bus tour of Future Graphics, which took place after the show closed on Friday afternoon, March 14.
In their critique, Exhibitors discussed ways of attracting more Visitors to the show in 2009. Throughout the discussion, however, they continued to praise and encourage Recharge Asia magazine. Many promised to return to this event next year. Among the comments heard:
1. For a brand new trade show, it takes a time to reach a high level of attendance.
2. Attendance at recharging industry trade shows is shrinking under pressure from original equipment makers (OEMs) who are removing from the waste stream those vital virgin cartridges upon which remanufacturers depend.
3. Some American rechargers viewed their Asian counterparts as direct competitors and thought it was their responsibility to avoid a trade show that showcases Asian products.
4. Aggressive patent enforcement tactics by OEMs are stifling cartridge remanufacturing around the world.
5. There is a proliferation of competing regional shows in Eastern and Western Europe, in Shanghai, Zhuhai City, Singapore and Latin America. These are draining the resources of prospective attendees at each event.
Exhibitors urged Recharge Asia to repeat the event next year saying they would certainly support it. Ms. Sun gratefully observed that “You should work with us to make next year’s show more successful. As an Asian, I can be your voice here in the West.”
The reaction was most positive. Several attendees said they felt quite comfortable with Sunny and appreciated her soliciting their comments and concerns to better plan future events.
On Wednesday, March 12, Los Angeles City Council Member Tom LaBonge presented Ms. Sunny Sun with a Certificate of Appreciation commending Recharge Asia for promoting local and international trade with the City of Los Angeles. Mr. LaBonge said “Los Angeles is proud to be the host city for RechargExpo USA.” Mr. Gilbert Gonzales, representing the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles was also present to offer advice on how to do business in this City.
On Thursday, Ms. Diane Quarker, the Small Business Liaison representative for Los Angeles County, spoke to interested attendees on “How to do Business with the County of Los Angeles.”
Among the featured industry Speakers, intellectual property attorney Ed O’Connor, spent cartridge broker Alwin Morgenstern (www.freerecycling.com), industry expert Graham Galliford (Galliford Consulting & Marketing), and consultant Art Diamond (Diamond Research Corporation) discussed pertinent industry topics and trends.
Ed O’Connor reviewed legal issues affecting the imaging industry, citing a number of outstanding court cases dealing with patents, trademarks, copyrights and other forms of intellectual property.
Alwin Morgenstern discussed the disposal of useless cartridges and stressed the importance of organizing this “end-game.” He said that final disposal of useless cartridges is a major issue and independent rechargers must develop a workable plan in order to best compete with the OEMs.
In a textbook review, Graham Galliford explained to attendees the elements of doing business successfully in China. It was a fascinating, detailed discussion of the customs and cultural differences between East and West.
Art Diamond suggested that rechargers attempt to diversify their business operations by exploring other opportunities consistent with the protection of our eco-system.
“What we have established around the globe,” Diamond said, “is a collection of entrepreneurs—a community of individuals capable of initiating ideas and converting them into profitable business operations. It was only about 22 years ago,” he continued, “that cartridge remanufacturing was ranked among the best investment opportunities for anyone starting their own business. Where has that spirit gone? This show is an indication that something is wrong. I think that what is wrong is the typical research and development (R&D) model that most large companies depend upon for developing new products does not exist for independent rechargers. There is no such function, no working group that serves them. As a rule, they simply follow in the footsteps of OEMs.”
Yet OEMs continue to make it more difficult for rechargers to capture a fair share of the cartridge aftermarket. They have devised highly sophisticated chips that lockout non-OEM cartridges. They have become more aggressive in defending their existing patents and are constantly on the watch for abuse or infringement.
One possible answer for the recharging industry is diversification. After all, we have an excellent infrastructure across America and around the world. These are courageous people who took risks, went into business, and built solid companies. They are creative people who have the capability to develop new ventures that will serve them in the future.
At the same time, there is a strong and mushrooming trend in both Eastern and Western societies that favors the Green initiative. It is a powerful force, a movement that rechargers embrace and could exploit for the recycling, remanufacturing and re-use of CDs, DVDs, cell phones, and other electronic waste. As imaging specialists, rechargers might also consider possibilities in digital photography. This expanding space may have the potential for new business opportunities.
On Wednesday evening, RechargExpo USA presented an outstanding Hawaiian Passion Tropical Buffet Dinner. At this classic Luau, guests enjoyed a cornucopia of tropical fruits and seafood delights along with tantalizing desserts, all anchored by a succulent roast pig at the carving station.
When the meeting ended, participants left with new ideas and directions to consider for the future of their cartridge remanufacturing businesses. They also took away valuable connections with Asian companies that continue to improve the quality of their products and enhance their ability to compete successfully in both domestic and foreign markets.