Under the premises that a) policing copyrights may be more effective from inside the Chinese system, and b) building sales in the fastest growing consumer market would be a good thing, Wild Apple for the first time exhibited at China Art & Frame Expo (CAFExpo) in Shanghai.
I’ll admit, it was a bit overwhelming with the language barrier, the cultural differences, and the onslaught of attendees. It was a balancing act attracting interest in our artwork while emphasizing the copyright message. The domestic China art & framing industry appears to be thriving, with a growing number of legitimate players. Of course, there were plenty of sketchy types clearly looking for images to rip off, which was why we limited our promotional material to business cards only (and we’ll be very cautious about granting passwords to our website). I was pleased to see how committed the show’s organizers are regarding copyright protection, as they barred two previously identified infringers from exhibiting.
The show was more international than I had expected, and we met people from unexpected areas around the globe. Now it’s a matter of following up on all the leads. The copyright infringement problem is not going to go away, but neither is the Chinese middle class market. We are sure to face a lot of challenges along the way, but it feels a lot better to be engaging proactively rather than hiding our head in the sand.