Despite the proliferation of sourcing websites like Alibaba and Global Sources, trade fairs in China, most notably the Canton Fair, remain the single most effective venue for finding new product and suppliers. There is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting with a prospective supplier at a trade show. You have the opportunity to handle product, hear in depth about the supplierfs capabilities and you will be able to form a valuable first impression of the vendor, something you simply cannot do by email. You will also come away from a Trade Show knowing more about your own product, by virtue of discussions with knowledgeable vendors, than you ever could have imagined. Before you attend a trade show these are the things you need to do.

  1. Put together a list of 25-40 trade show exhibitors who have product you might be interested in.
  2. Make contact with these vendors well in advance of the show to request swatches and samples for review in China.
  3. Draw up a "walk list" for the fair. Trade shows in China can be overwhelming and one can waste a lot of time looking for product among literally thousands of booths. Having a "walk list" is essential.
  4. Arrange factory audits with prospective vendors while in China and/or paying courtesy visits to current vendors. This is highly recommended.
  5. Following up with vendors on your questions and sample orders following the show.