Sex products always attract an interesting crowd
It would seem a fair bet that the world’s most populous nation would also be the most sexually active. But despite prolific reproduction, recent history has given China the image of a country where sex is taboo. However, sex is no longer a taboo in China and Shanghai’s third ADCEXPO adult toy and sexual health exhibition is destined to change the image.
Since its inception in 2004, interest in the exhibition has rocketed.
“At the first show two years ago everyone was very shy to see what would happen because having a show like this was unheard of,” exhibitor Jimmy Cai, head of condom manufacturer DKT, told China Daily.
“Then the second year the skirts got a bit shorter, and now look at it, it’s almost like Las Vegas.”
According to Cai, sex product manufacturing, which used to be centred in Taiwan and Hong Kong, has moved to the mainland, with China now responsible for 80 per cent of global production.
And the contraceptive mogul, who last year branched out to launch a business-to-business magazine for the sex-product industry and a related Internet platform, insisted that although most manufacturers sell their products abroad, there is also increasing domestic demand.
“The condom industry here is a very good one to be in, although advertising in print media is still banned, because we help combat AIDS we are supported by the government, we are very active on the Internet and expect to see sales go up 30-50 per cent year-on-year,” Cai claimed.
At the side of the DKT stand a man in his 50s, “Lao” Yu, was climbing into an inflatable “Mr Condom” outfit.
“He’ll get a bonus for wearing the suit,” said Cai, “but I haven’t decided how much yet.”Elsewhere, lingerie, costumes, nutritional supplements, Chinese medicine, a risque catwalk show, and an eye-watering variety of adult toys were all on display, browsed by a mixture of wandering stall holders, industry buyers from home and abroad and paying members of the public.
One Shanghai woman in her late 50s was checking out products for her relatives who run shops in the city.
“It’s my first time to visit the show. I’m very impressed with the quality of products on display I saw someone blow up a condom really big and it didn’t explode or leak at all!” she said.
On the Guangzhou Zhengli Sexy Underwear Co stand, saleswoman Euco Le Wang was on the lookout for foreign buyers.
“As soon as I see a foreigner my eyes light up because they are the customers we are looking for. We’ve been here every time since the beginning and the show gets bigger and more popular every year,” she said.
A local policeman surnamed Liu, busy taking pictures of a stand selling leather masks and other equipment, said that having travelled abroad he now realized how uptight some Chinese people were about sex.
“I don’t see why these things are such a taboo, I hope this exhibition can help people become more enlightened in their attitudes,” he said.
It was a message also espoused by veteran advocate of erotic culture Liu Dalin, a 74-year-old Shanghai sociology professor renowned for opening China’s first sex museum.
About 260 exhibits from Liu’s private collection of around 4,000 artefacts, some up to 9,000 years old, are on display at the exhibition.
“I want people to be able to have a good, healthy attitude towards sex and realize that it is the most natural thing in the world,” said Liu.
“The majority of the products at the show help promote exactly that.”