From left: Shaher Husein, Camilo Tafurth, Mike Bellamy, and Godefroy Delteil
I attended my very first trade fair at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition) this October. Thankfully, I went with Mike Bellamy, Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center, who’s been attending the fair regularly for many years. It was one and a half hours from our location in Luohu, Shenzhen.
Once at the fair, we located the China Sourcing Information Center booth and caught up with Camilo Tafurth and Godefroy Delteil of Asia Quality Focus, which deals with quality control issues. They were busy manning the booth for the duration of the fair. Godefroy, Customer Service Manager based in Europe said, “I think visits have been decreased this year compared to last year and heard there was a 30% decline in attendees at the Canton fair. Buyers from developing countries like Mexico, Brazil and Russia were well represented. It gives a real idea of the exportation destinations.” Camilo, Regional Sales Manager based in Latin America said, “My Colombian colleague said that it’s easy to see what the world economy looks like by attending a global trade show like this one. While talking to people at our CSIC booth, I’ve found less American and European buyers but it seems like Russians and Brazilians are everywhere, a sign of an economic boom in both countries. I have no problem communicating with Brazilian buyers since I speak Portuguese, but next time we better get a Russian speaker at our booth!”
Mike and I then had lunch followed by a very informative and a packed seminar that concluded with Q&A. The seminar was hosted by Mike and featured a panel of veteran sourcing professionals from CBI Consulting, Fiducia, Asia Quality Focus, AsiaBridge and PassageMaker. Video clips of the seminar can be found here.
Habib Rkha, Quality Manager of Asia Quality Focus and speaker at the seminar said, “I was impressed by the number of people coming from emerging markets like Russia, Brazil and Turkey. I also met some buyer from the Middle East who I spoke to in Arabic about their business. It seems that the buyers profile is changing more and more, and that it is mandatory for companies like AQF to adapt to these changes, suggesting new services and being close to these new customers.”
Thaddaeus Mueller, Associate Director at Fiducia, a company that helps Western companies set up and structure their sourcing operations, and who was also a speaker at the seminar said, “I was impressed by the amount of American buyers. It seems the number of visitors from US are up and their business is good. These buyers also need products on their shelves and quite a few are considering to start their own purchasing operation in Hong Kong”.
“The participants structure has gradually changed over time”, explained Bryan Wong, Trade Service Manager of Fiducia. “Many of the buyers are small buyers but not first time buyers. Some of them come with specific and quite sophisticated questions and look for advice in dealing with Chinese suppliers”, he said.
Hall #3 of about 11 huge halls Assortment of webcams
Since the fair is so large, it can be difficult for buyers to see everything. Planning your route in advance would be wise instead of, and I’m speaking from experience, walking around aimlessly. I may have only covered 20% of the fair in my 3 hours of walking, but it was worth the time and effort. Not only did I get a first look at many of the new products coming out before they end up on shelves but I networked with potential suppliers. Many of these suppliers would give discounts to buyers that they’d meet at the fair. To help you cover more ground, investing in a pair of skates next time you go might not be a bad idea!
Shaher Husein joined CSIC/ PassageMaker as a content manager/ import-export trainee in 2012 to fully immerse himself in China and international trade. He has a Bachelors in Business, Management and Finance from Brooklyn College. Shaher speaks English and Arabic and is based in Shenzhen.