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innovative Insights: Not Ping Pong But Table Top Coffee

three days in Shanghai

October 29, 2008
By David Murphy


I guess my enthusiasm for all the wonderful things I saw in three full days in Shanghai were noticed by a couple of my readers.

I guess my enthusiasm for all the wonderful things I saw in three full days in Shanghai were noticed by a couple of my readers.
However, a couple I know who had previously visited China, pointed out that I did not discuss the poverty in the countryside. My answer is that because of my limited time there, I was only able to explore one of the most progressive cities in the world. I can only write about my personal experiences from my trip.
One area that Chinese vending is seemingly behind our own industrial culture is in the area of office coffee. There were many tabletop manufacturers at the trade show I attended, displaying equipment that dispensed many selections of hot drinks.


The products for these machines were good quality, which made for a good combination for any office or manufacturing facility. The biggest difference was that these offerings were 99 per cent soluble-type products.
The other interesting part of this equation was that the majority of equipment was made in Italy. There were some "Made In China" machines, but the Italian influence was very noticeable.
There is a market for fresh brew coffee in every form in China. One example of this was right across the road from my hotel. Every afternoon, after my business for the day was mostly complete, I would enjoy a coffee and dessert. This was a very exclusive coffee and dessert experience, beyond anything that our North American chains offer.
It was more like an independent, which not only served multiple types of brewed coffee, but also spectacular dessert creations.
And trust me, I know my desserts. And, I know there is a market for better coffee in the work place in China. It's just a matter of time before it happens.
I want take a moment and touch on the digital scene from the trade show and the technology side.
Obviously, we have similar technological products in use here that are produced in China. What I found amusing, despite the rumour that North America lags in technology, was just how far we have come in short period of time.
And just as I had an idea to buy one of those new Apple iPhones, there is no limit to what we are going to see in the next few years that will change what we see as "cutting edge technology" today.
My trip to China and the national vending show was not only informative, but entertaining as well. I am looking forward to a return trip.
In reflection, what I saw at the show takes me back to 1973 – when I first ventured into the vending profession. The look of enthusiasm from the exhibitors and the excitement from the attendees was a renewed spirit of a strong, viable profession with very few limitations. Their eagerness to learn and their work ethic will certainly ensure the vending profession will produce unlimited success in the future.

Dave Murphy is a consultant to the vending and office coffee service industry. Visit his website at or call toll free at 866-428-8428.


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