Canton Fair: What you need to know before traveling to China

In connection with the forthcoming visit to the Canton Fair in China, I decided to prepare you for it and tell you what to expect from the country and its people! Visiting Canton Fair you’ll definitely find several suppliers for your Private Labeling and negotiate better prices for the products, you will have an opportunity to learn more about the most populated country, its sights and customs.

Food

Food in China has a very specific taste and smell. Some even argue that western man will only resort to Italian and Russian restaurants, as well asMcDonald’s. However, a couple of local dishes are really worth trying out.

All common street food is served on sticks. It is much more convenient. It can be seafood, scorpions, silkworm larvae, grasshoppers, chicken feet,llama, and of course the dumplings.

Be sure that during dinner your business partners will test your resolve: you will be surely brought a dish of creepy bugs, legs and parts of insects. And if you can overcome yourself and eat a few pieces your Chinese partners will certainly appreciate it.

Beverages

China is really famous of its delicious green tea. And the tea ceremony in Chinese daily life is important. In addition, Chinese brew their own inexpensive beer, which can be bought at the grocery stores, or ordered in a restaurant.

But what is truly to be feared is a Chinese vodka and Baiju drink. It is 55 Vol., and the taste and odor much resembles acetone, thinner and turpentine. A terrible mix for a western man and most interestingly, it may be served instead of white wine! So be careful, the Chinese love to drinkthis beverage at the banquet table and the business dinner. But if you can stand and endure it, you will be officially accepted in their club.

And yet, Chinese do not drink bottoms up, more over drain the glass in one gulp. All drinks have to be savored, try to always leave a couple of sips left in your glass.

Politeness

The Chinese are so polite that they will never refuse you directly, which often leads to confusion. They will shirk the answer, do not answer mail, say “may” and “maybe”, only not to offend you.

Even if they know in advance that they would not do business with you, Chinese will never directly acknowledge this. You must be able to read between the lines, be polite, reserved and patient. The Chinese are doing everything slowly, wishing the same for everyone.

For example, when they part, they often say, “man man chjou”, which literally translates as “go slow” and means “do not hurry”, “go gently”. At dinner they wish you to enjoy your meal with the words “Man-Man Chi,” which translates as “Eat slowly.”

Language

Most Chinese are really bad in English, what you probably already noticed through the correspondence with suppliers.Therefore, try to speak slowly, clearly, explain your thoughts. And be prepared for the fact that people on the streets, drivers and vendors are more likely to speak only Chinese. So it is always better to have a piece of paper with a written hotel address in Chinese.

Personal space

Do not forget that China is the most populated country in the world, and the luxury of personal space is simply absent. On the streets, in lines and in public transport on one square meter there will be 3 people standing.

This can be a nuisance, but stay positive and think of it as an essential fact, and the opportunity to get to know the country and its people a bit better.

Noise

Despite the calm and measured way of life, it often seems that the Chinese simply shout at each other, but in reality, they talk very loudly. This again is due to the lack of personal space, mass amounts of noise, construction, vehicles, etc.

Preparing for the Canton Fair

After covering some of the most striking stuff for a western man in China, let’s get to business. Before we go to the Canton Fair, it is necessary to clarify a few points and thoroughly prepare for it.

Canton Fair is a perfect place to find a supplier. This is an opportunity to visit thousands of factories and to assess the quality of their products in just a few days. Since 1956, the international exhibition is held two times a year for three weeks in Guangzhou, and attracts thousands of manufacturers and importers.

In order not to get lost in the abundance of products, make the most of the trip and spend time with benefits, use these few tips which will help you find the perfect supplier:

  • Set and follow your goals

There are roughly 25 000 manufacturers present during Canton Fair. You physically can not see everything, so should define in advance what you are looking for and what section you want to visit. Print the map of pavilions and note product categories you are interested in in the first place. Map helps you quickly navigate to the site, as well as to move between the pavilions.

  • Orient at prices

Pre-study of price and quality standards for the products that you are interested in. This will give you an edge and save time. You’ll know what to look for and what to discuss the nuances of the supplier.

  • Things to have handy

You will receive a lot of printed information: business cards, brochures, catalogs. All this weighs quite a lot and you will need to carry this burden all day, so it is recommended to take a small case on wheels.

Also, you will need your own business cards. The Chinese are reluctant to share brochures and information, if you do not leave your own contacts. It will suffice it state your name in English, phone, e-mail address, job title and organization name. Otherwise, they will think you are a competitor, or an underground spy, thus they will not allow to take pictures of samples and communication will be reduced to nothing.

You will also need a notebook, pen and stapler, so you can attach a business card or brochure to the page and write down important information, your impression of the products and answers to your questions.

  • What kind of questions to ask

Do not hesitate to ask questions and communicate. Introduce yourself, talk a little about your business and what you are interested in. During the conversation, specify major points: price, the minimum number of units for the order (MOQ), production time (lead time). In addition, find out on what the company specializes in and what is their main niche, how long are they on the market, who are their biggest customers, what kind of certificates for the products they can provide, how many employees work in their company. Capture the answers in a notebook to analyze the situation after, having all the info before your eyes.

  • What kind of questions to ask

Do not hesitate to ask questions and communicate. Introduce yourself, talk a little about your business and what you are interested in. During the conversation, specify major points: price, the minimum number of units for the order (MOQ), production time (lead time). In addition, find out on what the company specializes in and what is their main niche, how long are they on the market, who are their biggest customers, what kind ofcertificates for the products they can provide, how many employees work in their company. Capture the answers in a notebook to analyze the situation after, having all the info before your eyes.

  • Samples

Typically, manufacturers are not handing out samples at the shows for obvious reasons. However, you can offer to buy the sample after the fair, take it during the last day of fair, or ask to send it to you in the hotel at the end of the fair.

In any case, you will be able to hold it in your hands, to test it and assess the quality of production.Comparing multiple samples, you will understand what manufacturers are most trustworthy to cooperate with.

Tips

Wi-fi – Canton Fair complex boasts free wifi

Food – snack bars and food courts are located everywhere, where you can have a snack, a cup of coffee and relax

Money – if you need extra cash, there are ATMs in the territory of the exhibition center

Buses – many hotels offer buses from 9 to 17 that carry people to the exhibition

Taxis – can be difficult to take, you need to stand in line and be sure to carry the address of the hotel in Chinese

Knowing all of these peculiarities, you will easily adapt and enjoy your journey to Canton Fair as well as:

  • Save time on research and samples, spend few days to determine the goods and the supplier
  • Get the best price and negotiate the terms of cooperation directly with the supplier without intermediaries
  • Fully explore the niche to assess market trends
  • Start the new product to market before the competition