Why Tradeshows in China are not the best way to Find Suppliers
Are you looking to source products from China for your business? While tradeshows have traditionally been a popular avenue for finding suppliers, it’s crucial to understand that they might not be the most effective method, especially in today’s digital post-Covid era. In this blog post, I will say why there may be other better ways to find suppliers than tradeshows in China. Plus, I will offer you some alternative approaches and introduce how TCI China can help you overcome these challenges.
The Changing Landscape of Sourcing
While tradeshows offer ways to find and connect with potential suppliers face-to-face. They are always likely to hinder you from finding suppliers with the best capabilities for making your products. The reasons why I make this claim is because:
Limited Reach and Scope
Tradeshows are typically localized events that attract a specific set of suppliers. They might only encompass part of China’s vast manufacturing landscape. Therefore, you may miss out on suppliers who don’t participate in these tradeshows or operate in different regions. Some suppliers may have yet to be approved to exhibit at the trade show. My international buyers must fully understand that many suppliers are prohibited from exhibiting themselves or their products at certain trade shows.
Time and Cost Constraints
Attending tradeshows in China requires significant investment in time and money. You must factor in travel costs, hotels, and other costs associated with attending the event. Additionally, tradeshows are often scheduled for a limited period, which might provide little time to explore all potential suppliers thoroughly. A usual trick some suppliers play is bringing a potential buyer to see their factory during the trade show. When it can be seen as a friendly gesture, there is also an alternative motive. That is to take a buyer away from the tradeshow to prevent them from meeting other competitors to the supplier.
Language and Cultural Barriers
Communicating effectively with potential suppliers is crucial for building strong business relationships. Language barriers and cultural differences can pose challenges during tradeshows. This can make establishing clear communication channels and understanding a supplier’s capabilities and requirements difficult. Indeed, many buyers at trade shows often need to avoid buying from a supplier based on their proficiency at communicating in English as opposed to the supplier’s potential and the quality of the product they produce.
TCI China offers services to assist clients in this area. For more information, please visit our China Fair Assistance Support Service page.
Other Solutions for Supplier Search
To overcome the limitations of tradeshows and enhance your supplier search in China, consider also using other solutions. Here are a few practical alternatives:
Online Supplier Directories
Online directories like Alibaba, Global Sources, and Made-in-China provide a vast number of suppliers from various industries across China. These platforms enable the user to filter and look for specific goods, compare suppliers, read reviews, and link up directly with potential supply partners. This approach expands your reach and enables you to explore a more extensive range of suppliers conveniently.
However, it would be best to be aware that many of these sites contain fake companies and trading companies. So, for many companies, these may not be the best option due to the increased risks of fraud. Here is a link to a previous blog that assists buyers in finding out if an Alibaba seller is real or fake.
Supply Chain Consult Firms
For over twenty years, TCI China has been helping its clients to safely and securely find suppliers and source products from China. Many firms use this service because they gain the benefits of instantly having trained experts on call to work and assist them in identifying and finding suppliers. To learn more about this service, please visit TCI’s Purchasing Consulting Services page.
Search Engine Searching
Search engines can also enhance your chances of finding reputable suppliers online. It would be best if you spent time building a list of suitable keywords that best describe the types of products and suppliers you are looking for. This improves the likelihood of connecting with suppliers with a strong online presence, ensuring you find the most reliable and established partners. However, many factories don’t put much time or effort into maintaining an up-to-date website. So try and avoid dismissing a supplier because of the quality of their website.
Social Media and Professional Networks
Engaging with suppliers on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook groups, and industry-specific forums can help you establish valuable connections. These platforms allow you to network with suppliers directly, participate in relevant discussions, and gain insights into the latest industry trends. However, you need to be aware that some websites might be restricted in China, and other Chinese websites may be restricted in your country.
So, Why Tradeshows in China are not the best way to Find Suppliers – How TCI China Can Help
TCI China is a specialist China Supply Chain Consulting company. We specialize in connecting international businesses with reliable suppliers in China and then building the supply chain around this connection. With our extensive network and expertise, they can streamline your supplier search process and help you overcome the challenges associated with tradeshows.
So, if you need assistance finding a suitable supplier in China, don’t hesitate to contact me.
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Or at the following numbers:
(Europe/ Rest of the World) +353 1 885 3919
(North America) +1.518.290.6604
Or email me, Aidan Conaty
tcichina.co.uk | think China, think TCI