The best way to find a reliable supplier in China. Part 2 of 4

What people are saying about Mulberry Fields
“I have already learned a great deal about China and your business through your website and blog posts. Very impressive.” a successful mompreneur in Toronto

If you do decide that you want to attend a trade fair in China, you need to research this carefully. There are a lot of shows, the big ones being the Canton Fair and the Hong Kong sourcing fair. However there are a lot of other shows that are industry specific and may be worth attending depending on your needs. For example if you are in high-end furniture, you may think about attending one of the China Furniture fairs instead of the Canton Fair. Although the Canton Fair does have some very nice furniture, you may find more of it at the Shanghai International Furniture fair, for example. Because of the expense of attending a trade fair in China, you need to make sure you are attending the best fair for your company. If you can, get feedback from people who have been to the shows you are thinking about attending, perhaps by posting a discussion on Linked In.

Once you have decided on a trade fair, then you need to make your reservations at least a month or two in advance. People come from all over the world to attend trade shows in China and if you wait too long you will find that reservations are very difficult to make. Also, it is very important that you confirm your reservations before you leave. It seems that every time I am in China for the Canton Fair I hear about a hotel that overbooked guests or or someone tells me that the hotel did not have a record of their reservation. Needless to say you want to avoid that scenario. The key is giving your self ample time and planning well ahead of time. Attending a trade fair in China should not be a last minute decision.

Take plenty of samples with you to the trade show. You can give these to vendors and ask for quotes. If you don’t want to be overloaded, send your samples ahead of time via FEDEX to your hotel in China. The value of doing this cannot be overstated. Vendors often need to see actual samples in order to tell you if they can do something and if so what the cost will be. This is big advantage of meeting vendors in person.

If your trade show visit goes well you should have the names of at least 10-15 vendors, all of whom you have met and discussed your product in depth. You will return home with name cards, catalogs, first impressions, samples, product feedback, hundreds of photos, perhaps even the experience of visiting a factory or two ( If you meet local vendors) and a lot of hope. In short everything you need to start your business.

Here are the other posts in this series:

Part 4
Part 3
Part 1

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