One of the larger exhibitors at this year's SIB, the Italian lighting show, is a Chinese company, Pearl River Light and Acoustics Industrial, Ltd. Known for years as a maker of products for the Chinese market, the company is making a bold effort to become an international player.

To this end, it has hired Paul Dodd as vice president. His job, he says, "is to bring the company, and its products, to the international level." Dodd, who is English, performed a similar task for f.a.l., the Italian moving-light manufacturer that previously employed him for the last 10 years.

Pearl River, Dodd says, has always had an international presence, having created OEM products for other companys. Now, he says, the OEM activity will stop--"It already has, mostly"--and Pearl River will become known as a manufacturer in its own right.

The strategic plan is to develop products for numerous markets, including clubs, live performance, and architecture. The newest product, the Navigator PR-1200 scanner, will receive its official launch at CALM in Beijing this May. Other Pearl River products include the Pilot 300 and 150 moving-head luminaires, as well as many others.

While at SIB, Dodd met with various industry players, aiming to set up relationships with dealers around the world. The company is purposely downplaying the Pearl River trademark on its stand, preferring to emphasize the acronym PR, which, its advertising materials say, stands for "pure reliability."

Dodd, already one of the industry's leading expatriates, has moved to Guangzhou, China, where the company is building a new factory. The atmosphere there, he says, is "very positive--vibrant." In addition, Dodds, who was recently engaged (his fiancee is Japanese) is now studying both Mandarin and Cantonese. Progress, he admits, is slow. "I can write the numbers one to 10, but that's not a great achievement," he laughs.