Even as prime minister Zhu Ronji traveled to America, working the country like a master politician, and the US and China failed to come to an agreement regarding the latter's membership in the World Trade Organization, PLASA Shanghai, the China-based show sponsored by the English Professional Lighting and Sound Association and P&O Events, enjoyed a buoyant sophomore session. Over 110 exhibitors filled the halls of Intex Shanghai April 13-15, as attendance jumped 15% to 5,713. A broad mix of American, British, and Asian manufacturers and distributors were on hand with their latest products, all eager to gain a share in this huge emerging market. A number of exhibitors commented favorably on the increased numbers, as well as the professional quality of attendees. Furthermore, show floor buzz indicated that attendees came from a wider geographical area this year, including such locales as Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Guandong, Sichuan, and Fujian. Interestingly, the choice of dates turned out to be felicitous; Chinese-US tensions increased in May, after the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

What follows is a snapshot of products on the trade show floor.

ADB-LSI Projects had plenty of products to show, including the Phoenix family of lighting consoles, featuring ISIS(R) (Integrated Software for Intelligent Systems), the European range of theatre luminaires, as well as a range of fresnels for use in TV studios. Other ADB products included a Eurorack dimmer system and Softlux fluorescent cool light for TV.

American DJ (Asia) was a first-time exhibitor. Having recently opened its doors in Taiwan, president Jason Echols was on hand to learn more about the Chinese market.

Chiayo Electronics Co. is one of the leading manufacturers of wireless mics and amplifier systems in the Asian region (and is distributed in the US by Audio-Technica). The company had plenty of product on display, including the WA-800 series portable amplifier system, the WA-500 portable wireless amplifier system, and the Pro Audio Class 800 series UHF PLL synthesized true-diversity wireless mic system.

Columbus-McKinnon, a first-time exhibitor, was on hand to set up distribution in China. Naturally, the company's Lodestar electric chain hoists were on display.

LCI, which handles the design, equipment, and manufacture for spectacular shows involving lasers, dancing waters, waterscreens, digital video projections, and pyrotechnics, announced its participation on the Stone Forest project in Kunming, China. The project includes a walk-through experience and a purpose-built, 56-seat simulation theatre, a lake show, and a garden with sound and light effects. The installation includes three giant waterscreens, video projection, architectural illumination, dancing waters, and a surround-sound system, as well as pyrotechnics.

Martin Professional featured the MX1 small, lightweight scanner, which was introduced at Frankfurt Musik Messe and went into production in April. The product is the first in a new Martin line of lightweight DJ products. Also shown were the Lightjockey software, the Roboscan Pro 918, the Martin Case controller, and China's first look at the Mac 250 and Mac 300 automated luminaires.

Hong Kong-based Prosperity Lamps and Components Ltd. distributes High End Systems products in the region, and the company's Studio Spot and Trackspot automated luminaires were most prominently on display. Recent projects serviced by Prosperity include Hong Kong's first ice rink and a food court in Hong Kong's new airport.

Pulsar Light of Cambridge had one of the larger booths, with the company's whole range of products on display, most notably the prototype of the Masterpiece 216 console, which should be available this month. Also on the stand were the Clay Paky line of lighting products.

Sony highlighted a number of products from its line, including the MDS-E11 mini-disk recorder (billed as the thinnest of its kind), the SRP-V100 mixer, the SRP-F700 digital audio processor, and the SX-M700 control unit.

Stageline Mobile Stage was happy to report that it was the winner of a Staging Innovation of the Year nod at the Live! Show in London in February.

Stage Technologies, the English specialist in the design, manufacture, and installation of power flying and stage automation control systems, showed off such major projects as the London musical Martin Guerre. In the US, the company is involved in the new Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints project (to be covered in a future issue of Entertainment Design).

Tarm, the German laser company, showed off its full range of products and services. Visitors to the nightclub Rojam, a stop on the PLASA itinerary of event activities, saw a Tarm laser display (as well as a full Martin rig and Community sound system).

Total Fabrications Ltd. was there to interest visitors in its full line of trussing, ground support systems, outdoor roof systems, arena stage decking, and fully-engineered custom constructions. The English company DHA focused on its custom gobo line, which is distributed worldwide by Rosco, its next-door neighbor at the show. In its own booth, Rosco emphasized its Alpha 900 fog machine, as well as its extensive line of colors and patterns.

Pearl River Light and Acoustics Industrial, Ltd, the Guangdong-based company, debuted Tornado and Rainbow, a pair of moving lights placed in plastic housings of different colors. Strand Lighting was represented by local distributor Shanghai Tai He Trading Development Company; recent projects include the Shanghai Convention Center and the aforementioned Stone Forest project.

James Thomas Engineering displayed its full line of fixtures; like High End Systems, the company works locally with Prosperity Lamps and Components. Speaking of trussing, Tomcat was also a presence, with a booth displaying its full line of products; among other things, the company is one of the primary vendors for the grid structure in England's Millennium Dome. Osram Sylvania also displayed its full line of lamps.

Lowel-Light was on the floor, thanks to its local distributor, Shanghai Dong Run Film, TV, and Stage Equipment Center. Then again, many companies were there thanks to Macostar (Wuhan) Ltd., a Chinese company that handles Colortran, Compulite, Fly, Zero 88, Lee, Ushio, Robert Juliat, Total Fabrications, Teatro, Lutron, Panther, and CamMate Systems. Similarly, MGC Lamps Ltd., the Suffolk, England-based distributor, featured lamps from GE, Osram Sylvania, Philips, Bell, Radium, Sylvania, and Crompton Lighting, among others. On the sound side, Jolly Pro Audio Broadcast Engineering repped Sennheiser, Meyer, Marantz, and TC Electronic.

The English companies Mad Lighting and Lighting Technology shared a booth; on the Mad side, the TM-250 scanning projector was on display, while Lighting Technology jazzed up the booth with several of its famous Wiggle Lights. Also from the UK, Zero 88 was there to introduce its Alcora and Elara consoles to China, along with the more venerable Sirius 250. Zuhai Tai Theatre Light featured a new product, the Satellite 6 dimmer pack, a rugged touring rack designed for Chinese army entertainment corps. Martin Audio featured the Screen 5 high-definition, three-way screen system, which is designed for large-scale movie theatres. New from Tannoy is the i6 AW (All Weather), the newest of the company's point-source Dual Concentric installation loudspeakers.

Nu Light Systems Ltd., based in Cheshire, England, showed its full line of lasers, hazers, accessories, and control software. Shure introduced its consumer line of microphones, including the Stellar, Lyric, and Spotlight models, as well as the DFR11 EQ and DP11 EQ systems. Telex/EVI Audio highlighted its Dynacord speakers, as well as the Telex LCD projector.

PLASA Shanghai will undergo a shift in dates next year, with a run scheduled for June 7-9, again at the Intex Shanghai. Hopefully, East-West relations will be effectively smoothed over by then. For more information on the exhibition, call Marcus Bernie at 011-44-171-370-8837.