Whether you are an employee of a large global enterprise or an entrepreneur, there are significant benefits one can attain by actually physically attending trade shows in China. The Chinese government has promoted a number of exhibitions held in the country as a way to build investment opportunities for foreign companies, and ensure long-term opportunities.
Companies utilizing trade shows and exhibitions as business development and marketing platforms with potential clients and buyers attending, is not a new concept at all. However, with advances in social media marketing and internet technology, the value of developing business through exhibitions may be questioned by some.
The Benefits of Trade Shows in General
One of the main benefits of attending a trade show or convention is bringing the purchasing process down from a timeline of weeks to a single day. According to a survey conducted by Skyline Exhibits and EXPO Magazine, 88% of those polled stated that trade shows are “an important part of the product sourcing and buying process.” In the same survey, 91% of those polled stated that these events “are essential for comparing products and meeting suppliers in person.”
The environment of a trade show itself presents a platform for vendors to compete for your (attendees) business. By simply walking around, attendees can immediately compare numerous companies’ products, prices, and services. This can also be a fast and efficient way to discover the current market trends of one’s interest.
Attendees can also get experience at negotiating as well as acquiring confidence in purchases. Being at a trade show allows attendees the ability to see the products and solutions firsthand and actually touch and work with various products while comparing and contrasting all in one day.
The “Only in China” Experience
Attending trade shows in general is an excellent opportunity for product comparison, discerning potential supply chains, and networking in general but what are some benefits of attending a trade show in China exclusively?
The venues of most trade shows, conventions, and China’s largest exhibitions are held in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guanzhou. Most of the Chinese or Asian headquarters of both domestic and international enterprises are situated in those main cities.
Having direct contact and building a good relationship is the key to success in the Chinese market regardless of the industry. Relationship is called “关系（guanxi” and without good “guanxi,” the odds will not be in one’s favor. In China, it is important to trust all the people they do business with such as their suppliers, partners, clients, etc. Having this trust as a foreign company is a significant benefit in China.
Therefore, it is best to attend trade shows in China with someone who can speak Chinese in order to avoid any language or cultural barriers. It is also extremely important to appear professional, act friendly, be polite, and have a lot of business cards with you but these factors are pretty much given facts and are not limited to China.
Another important factor which may seem a bit odd to westerners is the barcode, WeChat, and business card culture in China. As of June 2016, it has been proven that WeChat has 806 million active users.
Today WeChat is used for a variety of purposes. It is possible to do everything from texting to signing employment contracts in China via this one app.
The Future of Tech at Trade Shows in China
Also, every store or restaurant you step foot in in China has their own “barcode” in which consumers can scan via WeChat and receive news letter and coupons. Yes, Chinese technology is on a whole different level than the rest of the world. Furthermore, adding people on WeChat is not like adding people on Facebook or following people on Instagram.
It is very common to ask for someone’s WeChat ID when you first meet. While in the United States asking for someone’s Facebook on the first day you meet may seem socially awkward, this is not the case in China.
In addition to the barcode and WeChat culture, another factor to keep in mind is the different business card etiquette in Asia. When doing business in China, you must hand out and receive business cards with both hands. After receiving the business card, you must look at it and show your interest in the person’s title and occupation.
Then, do not put the business card away straight away but rather, hold on to it until you are finished discussing to that person. Never accept or handout business cards with one hand or put business cards in your pocket. It is very disrespectful and can negatively affect your “guanxi” with that person. It is also very common in Asia to have bilingual business cards.
Thus it would be smart to have bilingual business cards as well to show your respect for their culture.
You should make a WeChat account before attending and having your personal WeChat barcode on your business card would be even better.
This will make the Chinese consumers feel happy that you know about their culture and their favorite invention, WeChat. It will also help establish the first important foundation of building a “guanxi.”
How INS Global Can Get You Started with Trade Shows in China
Trade shows are a great option if you’re ready to take the first step into the Chinese market, and INS Global can help. We are an experienced provider of global PEO (Professional Employer Organization) and other expansion services such as payroll, HR, and recruitment outsourcing. Through these employment outsourcing options you can hire or operate in China easily and safely.
Through a China PEO or Employer of Record (EOR), you can make the most of trade shows and convert leads into growth quickly, easily, and without the need for a local entity.
Once you’ve built your networks, PEO/EOR services can help you build solid labor contracts or ensure statutory benefits like health insurance, pension, and workers insurance for overseas staff in China.
Contact our team of global mobility experts today to learn more.