2017 China pipe show: A road report : Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine

2017 China pipe show: A road report

by Steve Morrisette

The 2017 Chengde International Pipe Art Show (known in the trade simply as the China show) brought together top pipemakers from around the globe, mostly from Europe and central Asia, with only a few from the U.S. It is a highly organized, even orchestrated event that is invitation-only. The year 2017 marked the fifth such show and the largest the Chinese have offered to date. It is one of the only invitation-only pipe shows in the world (another being the St. Petersburg Pipe Show in Russia). The Chengde show is organized and run by a top-tier Chinese pipe retailer known as Yun Wu Space in conjunction with the China Chengde International Pipe Museum. It is a most impressive and efficient operation that, given the scope of the undertaking, has produced overall a very successful show each year since its inception.

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In nearly every instance, it seems, hard negotiating was standard practice. One of the various gambits employed took the form of assurances of great promotion of the maker’s brand in China. Occasionally a maker was reminded of all the expense-free benefits the show afforded, and those benefits would be enumerated: free meals, five-star rooms, free transportation, etc. These remarks were employed as leverage to secure better pricing for the organizers. Offers were also common to purchase several pipes together if even greater discounts were extended. These negotiations were never heated or rude; they were just quite hard-nosed, tough and unflinching.

It was the largest by far of all previous China shows and, other than the Chicago show, likely the largest pipe show in the world. It certainly is one of the best-run and most distinctive shows on the planet. Yun Wu Space, Mr. Wang and the China Chengde International Pipe Museum pulled off an amazing feat of meticulous organization. They had a particularly thorny challenge to meet in 2017 given the scheduling difficulties. But despite all, the China show seemed a marked success, rightfully deserving its reputation as an exotic, unique and enjoyable event that really has no equal. Manduela, the Danish pipe master, said, “Every year the show improves and the organizers ask for suggestions to make the show better. This was a good show.”

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Category: Spring 2018

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