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A Fool-Proof Checklist for a Successful Trade Show in China

Trade shows and exhibitions are a great way to gain exposure in your industry. Not only are you benefitting from brand exposure, trade shows are also an excellent way to learn what’s happening in your industry. From media to potential customers, it’s typical for thousands of people to attend trade shows in China.

Trade shows and exhibitions are a great way to gain exposure in your industry. Not only are you benefitting from brand exposure, trade shows are also an excellent way to learn what’s happening in your industry. From media to potential customers, it’s typical for thousands of people to attend trade shows in China.

If you have been to trade shows before, you’ve likely seen how much goes into them. Businesses have displays, small takeaways for attendees, and are ready to talk about their products to no end.

That being said, there is a lot to prepare for before attending an exhibition. The same is true when preparing to attend an exhibition in China.

To ensure you have all your bases covered, follow this detailed checklist to help make the most of your time.

Before heading to trade show in China:

Research your exhibitions and trade shows 

Research is a key element of being well-prepared for the right trade show. Across industries, there are typically one or two very large expos per year. That doesn’t necessarily mean those will be the best for your business.

Determine what you want to happen once you attend a trade show, for example, increase sales, brand exposure, provide leading insights within the industry, launch a new product, etc. Once your goals are mapped out, finding the right expo to attend should be simple.

Pro-tip: Don’t forget about your budget when considering which expo to participate in. Compensating for a cheaper setup might seem like a great costs-savings idea, but it can come back to bite you if your setup doesn’t look professional.


Choose your partners

To successfully participate in an trade show in China, you need to determine who to partner with locally. Do not underestimate the necessity for local partners. Here’s why.

Think of this as your first impression. With all the media, potential new business, and industry players, it’s critical to be one step ahead.

It’s not a bad idea to hire a firm to support you prior to the event, especially if this is the first trade show you’ll be attending in China.

Specialized firms can help provide a variety of support from the localization of materials to helping you set up appointments at your booth. They are also the people who can connect you with important industry leaders and government officials from China.


One of the most important things to do prior to the expo is send invitations to potential clients in the area. You may be able to rely on your partners for contact information, but if necessary, the local Chamber of Commerce should be able to provide you with a list of regional businesses. Be proactive with your invitations and do your best to schedule time with your invitees during the expo.

Pro-tip: Many firms have connections to vendors who can help with everything from booth design to sending out special invitations to key attendees. Select a partner who can support many things instead of just one so you can focus on your product and message instead of the setup details.

Translate your materials

It’s important to catch the attention of people passing by your booth. To do so, translate your materials. More importantly, ensure your materials are localized in for a Chinese audience.

catalogue translation, trade show
catalogue translation, trade show 2
catalogue translation, trade show 3
catalogue translation, trade show 4

This means not only having your content translated, but also taking an approach that will ensure your imagery and color schemes are not offensive. It doesn’t pay to have someone cheaply translate and localize your materials because your reputation is at stake.

Pro-tip: Don’t forget to translate your business cards and overstock them. You don’t want to run out when someone influential comes along.

What shall you pay attention to during the trade show

Find your Chinese Interpreter

During the trade show, it will be crucial to have one or more people on site who can interpret or speak Chinese so that you do not miss out on opportunities to network. Your goal is to meet potential customers and influential attendees. Don’t expect all of them to feel comfortable speaking your native language.

Although more and more people in China are learning English and will likely be able to have some simple conversations, when it comes down to negotiations and terms, you will want someone on your side who can understand what is being said.

trade show interpreting
trade show interpreting chinese

Pro-tip: Maximize your time with attendees by utilizing an interpreter for conversations with influential people and media. Politely tell visitors you are on a tight timeline to avoid small talk.

Hire Onsite staff for exhibition

Your onsite staff is as vital as anything during your exhibition. Before the expo starts, you’ll want to provide all onsite staff with a rundown of the day, including goals for the expo, their responsibilities, key events throughout the day, and general guidance.

Once the expo starts, everyone should have her or his assigned duties and be able to help everything run smoothly. Having one or more Chinese staff to support you will help take the pressure off and will be able to provide some local insights.

Trade show WeChat data collection

Use WeChat to communicate with your onsite team and provide any additional updates and reminders throughout the day via WeChat. If you are away from the booth or need something from outside the expo, WeChat will be an excellent to communicate with more than one onsite team member at one time.

Pro-tip: If needed, don’t be afraid to hire temporary local staff. There are agencies that can help supply temp workers who are reliable.

Emergency management

If you run out of business cards, realised that the prints you ordered were not updated or didn’t come out right, don’t panic! Your Chinese temp staff or even interpreter will manage to fix the situation. In China, exhibition halls are crowed with all sorts of vendors and printing agents. It is not recommended to fully rely on them, but in times of crisis they will be the ones to the rescue! Express name cards print will be available every day of the even and will take 30 min to be delivered to your booth (of cause, the quality of paper will be the average, but this still is better, than nothing). The wall prints can be done in 2-3 hours and placed on your walls within 15 minutes.

But of cause keep in mind that a real emergency can strike, so make sure that you and members of your team have a proper insurance.

Exhibition onsite resources that make your job easier  

Utilize valuable resources to make the most of your time during the event. You won’t want to spend time writing everyone’s information down, so instead create a WeChat account for your business.

Doing so will allow you to have a unique QR code that attendees can scan to connect with you and learn more about your company. You can assign some of your onsite staff with the role of managing your company’s WeChat account and ask them to encourage attendees to scan your account’s QR code.

In addition to connecting with people on WeChat, bring other forms of gathering people’s contact information. If you can, create a form on an iPad or tablet to electronically collect contact information or simply have a contact me form in a book. Doing this will increase your chances of finding new clients.

What do to after the exhibition in China is finished

Follow up the results of your exhibition 

Once the exhibition is over, there is still more to do! Don’t miss your chance to follow up with the connections you made during the expo.

You can continue partnering with an agency to help translate your email marketing content and thank you notes. Following up with your new contacts in Chinese shows a thoughtful gesture and an important aspect of building a working relationship.

email collection chinese

Pro-tip: Your follow up is an opportunity to provide any additional information, invitations for meetings or product information.

Once you have decided to commit to a trade show, it’s time to start preparing. Your chances of new business are high if you are ready to meet new people, answer questions, and sell your products or services!

Need help with preparation or booth management? HI-COM, as always, is here for you! Shoot us a line if you have any difficulties with your upcoming trade show in China and we will be happy to do all we can to support your business needs!


Stéphane ChouryA Fool-Proof Checklist for a Successful Trade Show in China

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