Netherlands introduces China to camping
A number of companies in the Dutch camping industry, including TenCate, recently joined forces for a joint presentation at All in Caravanning, a camping and leisure trade show in Beijing (China). The aim was to share their knowledge with the Chinese camper and present their products.
TenCate Outdoor Fabrics is one of the members of the Holland Camping Group, a relatively new cluster of companies that are active in the Dutch camping industry. The group has currently set its sights on the Far East – home to ‘the camper of the future’.
The Holland Camping Group presents itself in Beijing
Asians are increasingly turning their attention to the outdoor life, and camping − especially the more comfortable forms of camping such as glamping − is gaining in popularity. The number of sites in Japan, Korea and China is growing, with the Chinese government investing heavily in the development of camping areas and facilities.
The Dutch camping industry for its part has the necessary materials, knowledge and experience to play an important role in this development. Hence the reason for the participation of the Holland Camping Group with a large stand in the All in Caravanning trade show from 27 to 29 June in Beijing. The group can provide the Chinese market with outdoor fabrics, tents, awnings, mattresses, camping furniture and other Dutch-produced articles for the camper.
The companies that currently compose the Holland Camping Group
have occupied a prominent position in the Dutch market for years. Danny Hazewindus is the leader of the Holland Camping Group. For ten years he was plant manager at Karsten Tents, which processes TenCate outdoor fabric. He decided with Human Comfort to launch his own brand on the market and eight years ago he set up an office in Ningbo, a seaport town on the Chinese east coast. From here he guides Dutch operators who want to do business in the people’s republic. Sometimes it’s more prudent to join forces, as in the case of entering the Chinese camping market. ‘The Netherlands has a long history in camping,’ he says. ‘We want to use our knowledge, know-how and products to win over foreign countries.’
In the first instance the group is focusing on China. Danny Hazewindus has become familiar with the culture and he speaks the language. The Chinese now have more free time and more money. He knows that the Chinese government prefers to see its citizens spending their money in their own country – on camping sites too. They appreciate high quality. This was evident at the Holland Camping Group stand: reactions were positive. ‘People were very taken with the Karsten tent that was erected. By continually throwing bottles of water over it, we could convince them that cotton really is waterproof. And it proved indestructible when they tugged it about.’ TenCate Outdoor Fabrics presented its portfolio of outdoor fabrics and in passing could supply information on other materials in the company’s rich product range.
In the meantime Danny Hazewindus has established the necessary contacts with future retailers. These will usually be people who are also engaged in other business activities, because ‘It’s only in the Netherlands that you can find real specialist camping outlets.’