One year ago, when Hong Kong APLF Leather&Materials+, the major fair event for the Asian leather market, concluded , exhibitors (1200) felt aware of the fact that the exhibition “ had been less eventful and bustling than the previous ones, apparently owing to a remarkable decrease of Chinese visitors”. That’s basically due to China’s manufacturing change: as a matter of fact, China is not any longer “the world factory” – as it used to be- as they have to deal with their neighbouring competitors. Twelve months later, APLF’s 33rd edition is back, from 29 till 31 March: at least sixteen thousand sector operators are expected to show up. As for the economic trend, it looks quite similar, with a few differences though, compared to 2016. In fact China’s global attitude is still to be investigated: their export of leather accessories is considerably recessive again, despite a slight hike in January; their tanneries (whose number has been reduced, both for environmental and business reasons) are not working at full speed; their raw material buyers have been provisionally suspending their purchases all over the world. That’s why European tanners are seriously concerned about rawhide sales (which is quite ironical, since supply outdoes demand in the end): hence focus on rawhide business trends at Hong Kong APLF, traditionally keen on rawhide, as meanwhile 57 Italian companies, grouped together and organized by UNIC/UNAC, are ready to head off to the Far East. APLF will also house a few interesting workshops on the weaving factory: they will be previewed tomorrow (28 March) at the ICT (International Council of Tanners) meeting. Focus on raw materials and prices in the “What’s Up Next for the Hide & Leather Market?” seminar, scheduled on 29 March; on Thursday 30 March the topics on the agenda will be the footwear outlook (“Global Footwear Retail Conference”) and sustainability (“Sustainability in the Leather Supply Chain”).