Intercultural tips for the successful trade fair in China

Tuesday, 15. August 2017 | by: ICC China-Portal | Exhibition Planning

Whether you are travelling to the trade fair in China as an exhibitor or visitor, you will quickly see differences between the German and Chinese trade fair culture. What should exhibitors from Germany consider in China? What role does intercultural communication play at Chinese fairs?

Trade fair tradition in China

The trade fair industry in the Middle Kingdom is still relatively young, but has developed rapidly since the 1990s. Unlike in Germany, where trade fairs are also increasingly acting as business enterprises, political factors play a greater role in China. Some trade fairs are organized directly by government agencies. They are mainly used for political networking, while customer contact sometimes appears secondary. If not as direct organizers, ministries like to act as supporters behind the scenes. One of the most famous fairs in China is the Canton Fair 广交会, which has been held since 1957 and has been the only trade fair with foreign players for a long time. It is held twice a year and is described as the largest import and export trade fair in the country. More specific trade fairs have only been in the coming years. Although no longer only the metropolises are economically significant, many of the most important trade fairs still take place in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. Special features of today's trade fairs in China German visitors at Chinese fairs immediately notice the dormant exhibitors. This is seen equally in Chinese shopping malls or market halls and it is not a nuisance from a Chinese point of view. Those who travel more frequently in China at trade fairs also know that there is a slight surge of irritation there. Chinese exhibitors make individual stands from a German perspective often exaggerated multimedia. Large screens and light effects as well as show inserts and loud music are intended to attract as many visitors as possible. The Chinese colour and numerical symbolism also makes itself felt. Red and gold, for example, are among the most positively connotations colors. Trade fair representatives and exhibitors from Germany often miss the well-known and proven order in China. An indoor master was not to be found, vacant stands would be awarded to shopkeepers and so on. At the same time, Germans are looking forward to the flexibility of the organizers at Chinese fairs. Two, three cards extra are no problem, where everything in Germany will be counted; A mechanic is available day and night to help pragmatically with unexpected problems. In principle, there are now very professional fairs in China that can compete with the German counterparts. Others appear rather unprofessional or provincial in comparison.

Intercultural information for Chinese trade fairs

To address Chinese visitors, the above mentioned local habits should be considered. The design of the exhibition stand and the mood on the stand can also be more colourful and lively. Interactivity is also very welcome. Chinese visitors like to try out, want to be involved and enthusiastic. German exhibitors should show their product more live than they can only describe in a product brochure. Language or culturally induced contact fears of visitors can be reduced with a so-called local hero, a Chinese contact person who acts sympathetically. In any case, it is important to have stand staff with good Chinese. Germans with fluent Chinese are of course also in advantage. In dealing with potential customers and partners, the usual business etiquette is to be observed in China. For example, it is sent to accompany esteemed guests when they leave the room or to the exit. Chinese business partners usually rely on long-term cooperation. In China, therefore, one should expect even less than in Europe that immediate contracts will be concluded. This can fail because of the fact that not the people in charge of a company are sent to the fair, but auxiliary staff or younger employees. They may just take brochures and make some photos. If you meet promising contacts, no way passes the Chinese courtesy ritual. This includes the obligatory dinner in a convivial atmosphere. Here, Chinese traditionally deepen relationships before business or contractual issues are clarified. In some regions, unfortunately, it is still necessary to expect harsh amounts of alcohol.    

provided by ICC China Portal

Foreign countries Exhibition planning Fair etiquette
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About ICC China-Portal

The China-Portal inter: Culture: Capital, short ICC-portal, informs about the topics economy, culture and politics in China. In addition to the latest news, specialist articles on the subject areas of intercultural business management, economic relations and German-Chinese cooperation are published. The ICC editorial team of experts is composed of international China scientists, journalists and business experts, thus covering a wide range of experience and expertise.

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