Richardson’s company, which he opened in 2009 on the ZengBen campus, is a Tier 1 manufacturer of finished speaker systems for many of the world’s top brands — exclusively OEM high-quality drivers and speaker systems (passive or powered). ZengBen Industrial is a first-tier manufacturer of T-yokes, top plates, and U-yokes for many of the world’s top loudspeaker driver name brands. ZengBen is the largest supplier of steel to the speaker industry.
Over the years, Richardson found that one of the biggest challenges for brands looking for manufacturing or development partners is actually identifying qualified suppliers. If there is any doubt, walk the huge HK Electronics Faire and attempt to sort through many suppliers in any product category from kitchen appliances to A/V products (e.g., there were more than 100 headphone suppliers at the last show, most of them not very good).
While conducting production tasks, Richardson conceived of the idea for a sourcing show that caters to the loudspeaker industry. He said he has “spent years searching, cultivating, and investing in different cabinet suppliers, aluminum frame suppliers, crossover guys.” And when he had a project requiring a plate amplifier from an amplifier factory that does not make or source completed systems, Richardson decided it was senseless to create his own competition. So he thought it would be great to have a show just for loudspeaker companies to source components and products necessary to complete a system. He asked around to see if a show like that existed and the answer was the same: no.” So he created the Loudspeaker Sourcing Show.
The Loudspeaker Sourcing Show Three Years Later
Three years later, in 2017, show attendance has continued to grow. The exhibitors provide OEM/ODM services in the manufacturing of loudspeakers and related products and components (see Photo 3). The Loudspeaker Sourcing Show is open to all markets that deal with loudspeakers — including consumer, high-end two-channel, home theater, audiophile, contractor A/V, mobile, musical instrument and professional.
At the 2017 Loudspeaker Sourcing Show, there were three AMT manufacturers, as well as Eminence (www.eminence.com) and Dr. Kurt Mueller (see Photo 4). This year there were five cone and dome suppliers, three voice coil suppliers, and three cabinet suppliers. NTi Audio and KLIPPEL had booths, as did three magnet companies and three frame suppliers.
For 2017, the Loudspeaker Sourcing Show was strategically timed to take place in October, between two major shows. It occurred after the October Hong Kong Electronics Faire at the HK Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island, and before the October Global Sources Mobile Electronic Show, at the HK Asia World Expo, on Lantau Island. The Global Sources shows are the easiest to attend in Hong Kong — just get off the plane and stay at the Regal Airport Hotel.
For those thinking of attending Loudspeaker Sourcing Show 2018, you can take a high-speed ferry from Kowloon, Hong Kong to a ferry port that is about a five-minute walk from the Nansha Grand Hotel. The border crossing into China is at the ferry terminal. The Loudspeaker Sourcing Show is the probably the easiest trade event to attend inside China.
The Loudspeaker Sourcing Show is specifically designed for the loudspeaker industry, bringing together suppliers who are good at building components for speaker drivers and turnkey speaker systems. Attendees represent brands that buy from these suppliers or are looking for loudspeaker component suppliers or turnkey system suppliers. There are no video or lighting suppliers — the focus is on loudspeaker-related components, drivers, systems, and related parts.
In 2017, the event also featured a series of industry-related lectures (see Photo 5). On the show floor, there were more than 40 table-top-sized booths, allowing for immediate access to exhibitors’ staff without walking around huge booths and halls (see Photo 6). Small booths hold down exhibitor expenses and complexity, forcing them to focus on what is most important to potential customers (see Photo 7).
All booths have the same compact dimensions and fit into one large ballroom in a single hotel. The show can be walked in a day but many people prefer to spend two days due to the quality and variety of suppliers. Exhibitors were also able to use their hotel suites for live demos. Exhibiting factories came from Germany, Switzerland, the US, Taiwan, and China as well as from other Asian countries, and they were selling everything from transducers to die casting, powder coating, tooling, CNC machining, plating, voice coils, cones, speaker baskets, spiders/dampers, chassis parts, cabinets, and cabinet shops, whole systems, packaging, and logistics (shipping).
There were more than 400 attendees from 10 countries. In 2017, the Audio Engineering Society (AES) also had a booth at the show (see Photo 8), which attracted attention from the attendees who were members, or interested in becoming members, of AES sections in China. The free raffle for nice prizes (e.g., an Omni-Mic) was generously sponsored by Parts Express, Skull Candy, Smith Optics, and more.
Planning Ahead for 2018
The 2018 Loudspeaker Sourcing Show will be held October 16, 17 & 18, 2018, again in the Nansha Grand Hotel, Nansha, China. Make your reservations early, and remember to get a Chinese visa for your passport. Ten-year visas are now available. Visit www.loudspeakersourcingshow.com for more information. VC