Singapore – World Rubber Week, consisting of the World Rubber Summit, Tyrexpo Asia and Rubber Exchange Forum, ended last Thursday after three days of insightful discussions and intensive networking. Held from 24 to 26 March at Singapore EXPO, it attracted over 5,000 rubber industry players from 109 countries. World Rubber Week 2015 was organized by SingEx Exhibitions, in partnership with International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) and Singapore Exchange (SGX). “Asia is the focal point of the world’s rubber industry, which is at a crossroads today. We are pleased to be working with our partners – IE Singapore, IRSG & SGX – to offer a holistic platform that gives participants and the visitors a multi-dimensional perspective of the entire value chain,” said Aloysius Arlando, Chief Executive Officer, SingEx Holdings. “We found the World Rubber Week extremely relevant to our business given our specific focus on the tyre and rubber industry. We see the event as a great platform to get more exposure for LMC Automotive and make those critical connections with potential customers and partners from around the region,” said Pete Kelly, Managing Director, LMC Automotive. According to the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), world total rubber demand is forecast to increase at 1.8 percent and 4.1 percent in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The global demand for natural rubber is expected to increase by 3.1 percent in 2015 under the IMF Scenario, and by 4.4 percent in 2016. World synthetic rubber demand is expected to increase to 16.8 million metric tons in 2015 and rise to 17.5 million metric tons in 2016 under the IMF Scenario. The World Rubber Week was the ideal platform to gather intelligence on the latest insights, outlook and opportunities in the business environment and various market segments of the rubber industry. Sunam Sarkar, President & Chief Business Officer, Apollo Tyres, said, “The World Rubber Summit is a great forum to meet all relevant stakeholders in the industry, and hear their perspectives on key trends and issues. One key take-away is how we can and must leverage innovations in sustainability and technology to drive the rubber industry to greater heights in the future.” The road ahead for the global tyre industry Goodyear’s CEO, Mr Richard Kramer discussed how the newest generation of consumers, the Millennials, is changing the landscape for the tyre industry. “They have the leverage, and are buying what they want, when they want, and how they want,” he said. “Millennial consumers are not going to adapt to us and the way we’ve sold tires for the past 100 years. We have to become a fast moving, consumer driven, technology savvy industry. We have to do more than sell tires. We have to sell a convenient and frictionless experience with our product and make the tire buying process easier.” Asia continued to be the region to focus on for the tyre industry. Out of the world’s top 75 global tyre makers today, 49 are from Asia. Owing to the growing population of vehicle fleet, with China representing the strongest growth at almost nine percent per annum, the demand for rubber in Asia from the tyre market is enormous. For many tyre players, Tyrexpo Asia is the ideal platform for tyre manufacturers to showcase their wares. “Stamford Tyres is a Singapore-brand and Tyrexpo Asia is our home-show, and probably the most important one in the season for us. It gives us an opportunity to reinforce our relationship with existing customers by showing them our headquarters and operations here. At the same time, we’ve had a few new leads from other parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It’s a great place to showcase the new designs and products our Thai factory has come up with to customers old and new,” said Pat Berriman, Senior Vice President (Sales & Marketing), Stamford Tyres International. “Tyrexpo Asia is the right event to meet all our Asia Pacific customers in one place. It provides the ideal platform to showcase our new products developed for this region. This year we were very pleased to unveil our largest OTR all-steel radial tyre, the 27.00 R49, and the response has been very positive,” said Mr Arvind Poddar, Chairman & Managing Director, Balkrishna Industries Ltd (BKT).