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  • 124th Canton Fair Round Up

    The 124th Canton Fair has now ended (Sunday, 4 November), closing out what yet was another very successful edition of one of the world’s

    largest and most important product sourcing events.

     

    At a press conference held to mark the occasion, Deputy Director General of the China Foreign Trade Center, and Fair spokesperson, Xu Bing,

    presented a round-up of the event to the media and guests in attendance. Here are some key facts and figures from the Fair:

     

    The total overall attendance at the Fair was slightly lower than last year, at 189,812 visitors. This represents a drop of 1.11% year-on-year when

    compared to the Autumn 2017 session.

     

    The breakdown of attendees by region is as follows: from the Asia region, 105,692 visitors, accounting for 55.68% of the total; from Europe,

    35,767 or 18.84% of the total; the Americas, 27,696 or 14.59%; Africa, 14,547 or 7.66% and Oceania, 6,110 or 3.22%.

     

    Across the board, the number of businesses & organizations taking part in the Fair grew, with participants from Africa up by 1.15%; from the

    Americas, up by 0.59%; from Asia, up by 0.82%, from Europe, up by 2.93%; and from Oceania, up by 2.95%.

     

    The 10 highest ranked countries and regions for exhibitors, were Hong Kong (China), USA, India, South Korea, Thailand, Russia, Taiwan (China),

    Malaysia, Japan, and Indonesia.

     

    The top 20 countries and regions taking part in the Canton Fair accounted for nearly 65% of the total - an increase of 3.85% year-on-year overall.

     

    The number of buyers from countries and regions, that are part of China’s Belt & Road initiative, this session reached 84,578, accounting for

    44.56%  of the total - an increase of 0.16%.

     

    In terms of buyer interest, electronic goods and home appliances were the most popular categories at 40.2%, continuing what has become an

    established trend. The next most sought-after products were consumer goods at 31.3%, then home decorations at 28.28%, gifts at 26.82% and

    machinery at 26.73%.

     

    The value of business conducted at the Fair was again impressive. Machinery and electrical goods once again accounted for the largest value

    in terms of sales with over USD16 billion worth of contracts closed, which is 54.2% of the total. Light industrial products were next at USD7.3

    billion or 24.5%  of the total, while the third highest was textiles and apparel at around USD1.5 billion or 5.1% of total business done.

     

    The value of export business done by Belt & Road members was US$9.63 billion, an increase of 2.7% year-on-year and 32.3% of the session’s total.

     

    Innovation, Quality and the Canton Fair

    As well as delivering the performance summary, Xu reaffirmed the Fair’s role as a showcase for China’s commitment to maintaining an ethical

    and productive business environment. He said the Fair will continue to support the protection of intellectual property rights, raise awareness of the

    issue and encourage innovation. Competition in today’s business environment, said Xu, is a competition among enterprises to deliver technical

    innovation and service quality to customers.

     

    THE LESSO GROUP

    One of China’s leading building products manufacturers, the Lesso Group is focused on innovation which it achieves by harnessing the capabilities of its global network of research centers.

     

    The Lesso Group has built an enviable R&D network staffed by a 1000-strong team of doctorate holders, postgraduates, engineers, and industry consultants. As well as this, the company has set up research platforms to advance its business, including the National Accredited Enterprise Technology Center, a Post-doctoral Program, the CNAS Certification Laboratory and the Guangdong Research and Development Center for Plastic Pipe Engineering & Technology.

     

     

     

    QUALITY

    China Lesso has obtained the following globally recognized certifications for its management systems: ISO9001 (Quality Management), ISO14001

    (Environmental Management) and OHSAS18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management) and has a recognized Measurement Management

    System - AAA Level. Our rigorous quality control systems cover a wide spectrum, from material selection and formulation to production processes

    and product warehousing. At China Lesso, we’re committed to delivering quality products and services to our customers.

     

    LESSOHOME.COM

    Lesso Home is a dynamic, B2B e-commerce brand and a key business initiative of the Lesso Group catering to professional buyers and suppliers in

    the Building Materials and Home Furnishings marketplace.

     

                                           The Lessohome.com home page

     

    Lessohome.com is our convenient online platform that features a huge range of quality products for both the design and building professional and

    the home renovator, from classic kitchens to handsome benchtops and countertops, and more. As well as great products, we have expert one-stop

    sourcing solutions and a range of value-added services to help customers with their businesses.

  • Lesso Home Welcomes Customers in Search of Effective E-marketing Solutions

     

    One of the world's largest trade exhibitions, the 124th Canton Fair attracts buyers from around the world, from neighboring Asian economies to buyers from America, Europe, Russia, Africa and the Middle East. The Fair is also a showcase for China's manufacturing knowhow, covering a vast catalog of goods that includes almost every kind of product that consumers around the world use every day.

     

    Each session of the Fair attracts over 200,000 local and international buyers and businesses 

     

    Another busy day ahead for these early arrivals at the Fair complex

     

    The Chinese consumer market boasts one of the highest volumes of e-commerce transactions in the world. The total number of mobile payments and non-cash transactions in 2017 exceeded 124 billion, making it one of the largest single markets for such transactions worldwide. The experience gained in servicing such a huge market has brought Chinese e-commerce platforms and service providers to the forefront of this service industry.

     

    Today, Chinese e-commerce companies are renown for their industry-leading services and skills and Lesso Home's e-commerce division, lessohome.com is pleased to be among this group of respected brands that has emerged.

     

    Lesso Home.com offers savvy clients a range of essential services that gets results:

    1. Professional Web Development
    2. Digital Marketing Strategies & Promotions
    3. Expert One-stop Sourcing Services

     

    This new era of global e-commerce, that touches on nearly everything consumers do each day, together with the multitude of social media platforms and ever increasing reach of the internet, has changed the way we live.

     

    Every day, nearly every one of us will browse for products and services online via a laptop, a desktop computer or mobile phone; place orders and/or receive the products or services we have ordered.

     

    This has put modern enterprises under increasing pressure as they become more aware of the need to change the way they do business and integrate their products and services into the e-commerce landscape.

     

    Each day Lesso Home welcomes new customers to our Canton Fair booth

     

     

    At the Lesso Home booth, customers can find out everything they need to know about our full suite of e-marketing and one-stop sourcing solutions

     

     

    Lesso Home's professional Web Development and Digital Marketing Solutions will get your business online for far less than you think.

     

     

    Company representatives meet with staff from Lesso Home's e-marketing division. Lesso Home's certified specialists have over 10 years' experience in online marketing, web development and search engine optimization.

     

     

    All our booth visitors are invited to talk to us about their business' needs and goals in a one-to-one setting. At Lesso Home our goal is to help your business succeed.

     

     

    Visitors to the Lesso Home booth are always given a warm welcome!

  • Discover Lesso Home's Great Products & Services

     

    The first and second phases of the 124th Canton Fair are now complete as the focus moves to the third and the final session which begins this week. While Phase I showcased exciting product categories like Building Materials, Appliances, Hardware & Tools and Lighting Equipment, Phase II highlights included Home Decor and Consumer Products.

     

    Based on what we have seen during these first two stages, the Fair has been a resounding success with a lot more business to be done in the coming days.

     

    If you have not yet joined the Fair we warmly invite you to do so while you still have the chance and join the thousands of buyers from Asia and around the world, who have come to Guangzhou to source goods of every description from reputable suppliers as well as seek new opportunities for their businesses.

     

    Lesso Home is a key business initiative for the Lesso group, one of China’s largest manufacturers of building products and home furnishings. Through our global online-to-offline sourcing platform, buyers can source a huge range of quality products and value-added services for their project or business.

     

    Buyers can source products like the ones above as well as Furniture, Kitchen Cabinets, Home Decor, Bathroom products, and Household Goods.

     

    Building Materials

     

    Lesso Home’s Building Materials range includes integrated designer cabinets and wardrobes, robust doors and windows, beautiful sanitary ware products, handsome artificial stone panels, decorative panels, sealants, and firefighting equipment.

     

    Kitchen Cabinets

     

    Lesso Home’s classical kitchens bring a touch of modern elegance to any home and utilize only the finest materials. Our kitchen cabinets and doors are made from high-density composite wood panels covered on all sides with a durable laminate finish for a watertight seal while our door handles and hinges are chrome-plated stainless steel to deliver extra long life.

     

    Lesso Home kitchens Cabinet come courtesy of Guangdong Lesso Cabinet Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of China Lesso Group Holdings Limited. Guangdong Lesso Cabinet Co. Ltd is dedicated to delivering superior quality, cost-effective solutions to customers. The company has emerged as a leading brand in integrated kitchens Cabinet and specializes in integrated cabinets as well as integrated wardrobes made at its two locations in Guangdong. Company highlights are:

     

    • Guangdong Lesso Cabinet Co Ltd has assembled a skilled team of local and international cabinet designers to handle design and development.
    • The company uses HOMAG precision equipment and production processes for its kitchens and has a proven quality inspection system in place. The German HOMAG Group is the world’s leading provider of integrated solutions for the woodworking industry.
    • The company is ISO9001and ISO14001 certified and has CCC (China Compulsory Certification) and other quality control certificates.

    Guangdong Lesso Cabinet Co. Ltd is located within a beautifully landscaped setting

     

    The state-of-the-art production facility uses timber from Europe and North America

     

    Lesso Home Door and Window Systems

    Lesso Home’s door and window frames feature a North American design style that’s perfect for adding a classic touch to any home. We have assembled a team of skilled R&D professionals who source only quality materials for our products. The raw materials of our doors and windows are from the North American-based manufacturer SKYREACH. We also have a range of aluminum alloy doors and windows, and timber doors and fire doors that feature Canadian SPF timber and perlite outer layer.

    Particle Wood in filling with Solid Core; 0.45mm natural wood veneer with friendly paintings; S.P.F Canada wood skeleton

     

  • The 124th Canton Fair Is Here

    The Canton Fair, also known as the China Import Export Fair and one of the largest trade shows in the world, is with us once again. This huge exhibition is a must-attend event on the yearly calendar for every professional buyer looking to source products for his or her business or project.

    The Fair takes places in Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton) in the PRC, in Spring and Autumn each year and is held in 3 phases, Phase I, II & III, beginning mid-October. In the upcoming Autumn Session, Phase I will start October 15, 2018. Following is a brief introduction to the Fair and what visitors can expect at this very exciting event.

     

    Dates, Opening Hours & Product Categories

    Phase I October 15-19 (Mon - Fri)

    • Product Categories: Building Materials, Electronics & Household Electrical Appliances, Hardware & Tools, Lighting Equipment
    • Other: Chemical Products, Machinery, Vehicles & Spare Parts

     

    Phase II October 23-27 (Tues - Sat)

    • Product Categories: Consumer Products, Home Decorations
    • Other: Gifts

     

    Phase III October 31- November 04 (Wed-Sun)

    • Other: Cases & Bags, Medical Devices, and Health Products, Office Supplies, Recreation Products, Shoes, Textiles & Garments

     

    Opening Hours

    • 09:30-18:00 each day during that phase

     

    Location

    • Guangzhou International Convention & Exhibition Center (Canton Fair Complex)
    • 380 Yuejiang Zhong Road, Pazhou District, Guangzhou

     

    Welcome to Canton Fair

    The Canton Fair complex is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens

     

    Outlook For the 2018 Autumn Session

    With the increase in countries and regions joining China's global 'One Belt, One Road' initiative, this session's Fair is expected to see an impressive level of foreign participation as more and more companies from these locations take part in the event. At the press conference held for the Fair opening, Xu Bing, Deputy Director of the China Foreign Trade Center, organizers of the Fair, said that this year's Autumn session will feature 12,125 branded sales booths and 47,522 general sales booths, representing 20% and 80% of the total number of outlets respectively. Once again, exhibition zones for imported brands selling to the local market will also be set up during Phase I and Phase III. This dedicated zone will cover a floor area of 20,000 square and be divided into six product areas featuring 998 outlets. A total of 636 foreign companies from 34 countries and regions will be exhibiting. There will also be 10 national and regional pavilions on display. The total attendance figure is expected to be similar to the last session.

     

    Fair attendees can browse through the thousands of products on display in the Fair's huge exhibition halls.

     

    Lesso Home

    Lessohome.com is an online platform of the Lesso Home Project under the Lesso Group. Providing buyers with products from Lesso and pan-home industry as well as one-stop service solutions.

     

    Visitors at the Lesso Home booth

     

    Visitors

    Visitors

     

    Lesso Home's broad range of online campaign capabilities and website development services ensures buyers get maximum exposure across multiple channels. Our certified specialists, with over 10 years' experience, will develop a channel-focused online campaign strategy that's right for your business.

     

    LESSO Booth

    LESSO Booth

     

    Don’t forget Lesso Home’s guide to sourcing successfully at the Canton Fair is available to registered members through our website. To get the guide all you need to do is sign in to your account, go to the download link and download the file. Signing up is free!

    We also invite you to visit us at the Lesso Home booth (T19-20) where we’ll be happy to talk about what we can do to help you source the products you need for your business.

  • Why you need your own personal interpreter during the Canton Fair

    In hustle and bustle of the modern trade show, having the right support is crucial. In this blog, we reveal why it’s a good idea to have a skilled personal interpreter by your side at the upcoming Canton Fair.

     

    The China Import and Export Fair (also known as the Canton Fair), one of the largest trade fairs in the world, will soon be here once again. The question is, will you be ready for it when it is?

     

    Held in three stages, each session of the Fair is a fast-paced week of searching, meeting, and talking products and services with suppliers. As a buyer attending one or more of these sessions, you’ll be meeting such suppliers, all of whom will be keen to do business with you.

     

    To steer your way successfully through this intense activity, you’ll do well to have the best support you can. In this blog, we discuss the importance of translators in business and why it’s a good idea to have a personal interpreter alongside you at the Fair. We take a look at what’s involved first.

     

    The Fair

    If you haven’t been to a Canton Fair yet, get ready to be awed by the thousands of suppliers on display in the huge exhibition halls of the Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center in Guangzhou’s Pazhou district, when you attend the upcoming 2018 Autumn session (beginning October 15). Each day you’ll be rubbing shoulders with tens of thousands of wholesalers, retailers, and other professional buyers from around the world, each attending to source products for their project or business.

     

    Supplier vs the Buyer: The Stakes

    Many of the suppliers taking part in the Fair have one or more factories located in and around the sprawling Pearl Delta region that includes major manufacturing regions like Zhongshan and Jiangmen on the west side of the delta and Foshan and Dongguan in the central and on the eastern sides.

     

    Many of the suppliers started out as family-owned factories and have been in business for decades. With China’s burgeoning growth over the past 30 years, these factories have developed rapidly to serve a thirsty domestic market as well as overseas buyers, at a breakneck speed. Such demands have left little time to adopt a more foreign-oriented approach to marketing their products, leaving it to contracted interpreters to assist them at trade shows like the Fair.

     

    It also goes without saying that in any sales transaction, each party is working hard to ensure the best outcome possible for themselves in a business sense. The supplier will come to the Fair wanting to complete as many deals as possible during the week, with minimal fuss.

     

    It is into this competitive stage that you as the buyer, on a mission to source great products and reputable suppliers for your business or project, will enter and with some careful planning, find what you need at a great price.

     

    Why you need your own interpreter

    Having your own interpreter in your corner during this time is the best way to ensure you communicate effectively with every supplier you meet and achieve your sourcing goals. Your trusted interpreter can:

     

    Identify the right suppliers

    With hundreds of suppliers available, even in your sub-category, it’s essential that you are able to sift through company information quickly to identify whether particular suppliers have what you need. Your personal interpreter will be able to assess any Chinese language content provided by the supplier and, based on your brief, quickly tell you whether the supplier is worth pursuing further.

     

    Navigate

    Time is of the essence at a trade fair that is on for a limited time and has so much to look at. As your private support team, your personal interpreter can help you navigate the vast, multilevel Center complex to get you to your next supplier without difficulties.

     

    Give you details

    Suppliers attending the trade fair will have a representative, either a staff member or a contracted assistant, to act as their interpreter when dealing with foreign buyers. A supplier’s interpreter will have been briefed on the supplier’s business and product lines and so can provide information when asked. So a buyer making inquiries at the booth by him or herself should be able to get some answers to his questions.

     

    However, the key considerations here are self-interest and contingency. The supplier’s representatives will know the supplier’s products and hopefully how to explain these, but they may not know the buyer’s business.

     

    They will also have the supplier’s interests in mind when they talk business and be presenting the supplier in the best possible light. While they may provide accurate information, they may not disclose other relevant information available on the topic, if it is not asked for.

     

    They also may have middling language ability which may make it difficult to explain specific concepts or topics. Having a reliable interpreter on your side, that knows sourcing in China, will alleviate these risks.

     

    Extract value

    Your personal interpreter can explain the information provided by the representative accurately. They can also ask to follow up questions to ensure you get a complete picture of what the supplier is able or not able to provide. From checking quality control to shipping methods, your interpreter will be able to extract the right information that can help with your decision making.

     

    Explain your needs

    Your interpreter will also be able to explain your needs accurately to the supplier’s representative. A good interpreter who understands your business will ensure that the supplier is clear about the kinds of products and services you want, which will help you determine whether they can fulfill your request. This will be invaluable, as discussions about products and ordering invariably become more complex the deeper the inquiry goes. Not being able to ask more questions and extract detailed information at this point in the meeting can negate the time and effort already spent.

     

    Ask the right questions

    The personal interpreter you need is one who is also experienced in sourcing. Importing goods from China can be an involving task. Being experienced in sourcing, your interpreter can give you insights into importing and shipping products from China and will know the right questions to ask the supplier to ensure all the important aspects of the process are covered so you can make informed decisions regarding your orders.

     

    Provide local knowledge

    A typical day at the Fair can consist of an early morning rise before a busy day of meeting suppliers. At the end of the day, you’ll want to wind down and have time to rest, absorb information and have a break, ready for the next day.

     

    A good personal interpreter can not only help with interpreting but can also provide advice so you make the most of your downtime at the end of the day. This can include suggestions for and directions to restaurants and cafes for a meal, shopping districts to buy souvenirs and places of interest around town, during the Fair.

     

    Provide ongoing support

    While the supplier may have an English-speaking representative, this only will be helpful while you are at the booth. Once you move on, you will again on be on your own. So having a personal interpreter, and one who knows his or her way around the trade show site, the city and beyond if necessary, is an invaluable asset that will ensure you utilize your time effectively during your time at the Fair.

     

    We hope you have enjoyed these insights into why having your own personal interpreter is a must at any trade fair or sourcing expedition you take part in, in China.

     

    Remember, engaging the services of a personal interpreter is not only convenient, but it’s also a sound business move.

     

    Summary

    Use an interpreter to

    • fill the gaps when you do not speak Chinese or are not able to use it at a business level
    • convey what you mean clearly to the other party
    • clearly explain what the other party is saying
    • extract maximum value out of the discussion by asking additional questions
    • raise questions that you may not have thought of

     

    Use a translator to

    • ensure you understand the written product and other supplier information correctly
    • ensure you understand essential documents especially the purchasing contract
    • clarify written terms and conditions regarding related activities e.g. shipping and delivery

     

    Checklist: Before you start

    Before you start out on your journey to the Fair, and to get the most out of your interpreter, we strongly advise that you

     

    • have an outlined schedule that includes the locations you would like to visit
    • know the kinds of suppliers you want to get in contact with
    • be clear about the kinds of products you want
    • be clear about what information you want to get from the supplier - regarding the products and the supplier itself
    • determine what other information you might need to get confirmation on certificates of compliance, payment methods, a timeline for payments
    • create a list of questions* you might want to ask, for your own record, and give this to the interpreter before you enter the Fair

     

    *while buyers will come from many different countries, the de facto foreign language used, when sourcing in China, is English. While interpreters for other languages can be found, English is the most common foreign language learned by interpreters, so if you are prepared to use English, it will be easier to find someone who can help you.

     

    Finally, we suggest that you spend some time with your interpreter before you begin, so you can brief him or her on your business and what you are hoping to achieve at the fair and/or during your factory visits. This will help him or she gets a better understanding of your requirements and in return help you in the best way possible. It also gives you a chance to get to know each other a little.

     

    A good personal interpreter is your interpreter but also your guide in the coming days and if you form a solid partnership with them from the very beginning, you’re sure to get the most out of the experience. Happy sourcing!

     

    Lesso Home is pleased to offer our Lesso Home members an exclusive interpreter package during the upcoming Canton Fair. Available to select members, this special package includes the services of a skilled interpreter experienced in product sourcing, who will accompany you throughout the day during your time at the Fair. Click the link on the home page to find out more!

  • Sourcing Products at the Canton Fair

    Welcome 

     

    The China Import and Export Fair (also known as the Canton Fair), one of the largest trade fairs in the world, will soon be here once again. This is one of the best ways to source products for your business or residential project and gives you the opportunity to see thousands of products, meet hundreds of suppliers and make important business contacts. We are pleased to bring you this Sourcing Guide that we hope will help you navigate the Fair and strike that perfect deal to help your business thrive!

     

    Canton Fair Overview

     

    The China Import and Export Fair (CIEF), also known as the Canton Fair, is held in the city of Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton) in the PRC, in Autumn (October-November) and Spring (April-May), each year.

     

    Held in three phases, each session of the Fair is a fast-paced week of searching for, meeting, and talking products and services with, suppliers. As a buyer attending one or more of these sessions, you’ll want to be well prepared before you start your sourcing efforts.

     

    The exhibition center covers a floor area of 118 hectares (1.18 million square meters). There are more than 60,000 booths on display during each Session and registered representatives from some 25,000 businesses from around China. Each Fair usually sees upwards of 190,000 visitors come through its doors. The 2018 Spring Fair saw over 200,000 registered visitors in attendance, a 5% increase from the year before.

     

    The Fair is held in three phases or stages and for the upcoming Autumn Session, the dates are:

    Phase I October 15-19, Phase II October 23-27 and Phase III October 31- November 04

     

    Why source products at the Canton Fair?

     

    If you haven’t been to a Canton Fair yet, get ready to be awed by the thousands of suppliers on display in the huge exhibition halls of the Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center in Guangzhou’s Pazhou district. Each day you’ll be rubbing shoulders with tens of thousands retailers, wholesalers and other professional buyers from around the world, each there to source products for their project or business.

     

    But why source products at the Canton Fair?

     

    There are many good reasons why, as an astute buyer, you’ll want to attend the Fair and source there. Despite the rising profile of other manufacturing hubs throughout Asia, China is still one of the best places to find quality products at an extremely competitive price. In many product categories, China’s production and value of exports far exceeds that of its neighbors because businesses around the world know that they can get what want in China. Here are 5 good reasons to source at the Canton Fair.

     

    5 things to consider

     

    See products live

    Attending the Fair means that you get to see products in person. While online portals are a great way to look through many products at one time, seeing the products in person does give buyers a good idea of what the product is like and what the supplier is able to do. They are often able to provide samples or arrange to have samples, sent to the buyers hotel.

     

    Speak to suppliers

    While the internet does give buyers access to quality buyers from wherever they are, there are times when face-to-face communication helps. Meeting a supplier in person allows both sides to get a better idea of each other, it can avoid misunderstandings and build trust. Including a factory visit during the trip can give the buyer a good idea of the supplier’s business which can help when making decisions about products and ordering.

     

    Speed

    For buyers, sourcing at the Fair occurs in the opposite way to sourcing online. When sourcing online, a potential buyer may search through many profiles, shortlists the suppliers he or she is interested in and contacts them. The process can take time and at the end of this, the buyer is still not sure what the product quality is like and whether it will be a good investment financially. At the Fair, sourcing works the other way. Buyers browse through the exhibition halls and only stop at suppliers that have the products they like, potentially avoid the effort needed to review their 20-30 vendors, and instead shortlist and select suppliers in a very short period of time. They can talk to many suppliers at one, get a sense of who they are and even make a deal straight away.

     

    Get a great deal

    Attending the fair can give you the opportunity to negotiate a better deal because you meeting the supplier in person. He or she may feel more comfortable because he can see who he is doing business with and can negotiate on the spot. This may result a better price.

     

    Factory visits

    Visiting Guangzhou for the Fair also gives buyers an opportunity to visit a supplier’s factory to see and see how the products are made. They can check a factory’s production processes, certificates and quality systems in place

     

     

    Useful tips

     

    Trading companies vs suppliers

    A majority of the Fair exhibitors are suppliers or trading companies: know the difference. Trading companies act more like middle men and their booths will have products from a number of suppliers on display, whereas a supplier will often have extensive samples of one product line.

     

    Be aware of pricing

    Trading companies’ prices will be higher because these businesses will add their operating costs and marketing costs onto the price.

     

    Stay on top

    It is increasingly popular for buyers to source at wholesale market or sourcing agent so it may be a good to include these activities as part of your sourcing effort, in addition to going to the Fair. Many suppliers will have stores at wholesale markets and they can be a place to find new or unique product ideas that have not been seen by the majority of the market.

     

    Visit at least once

    Visiting the Fair itself is a good idea to get a sense of the size and diversity of manufacturing in China. Even if you decide to source products via other means, serious buyers should go at least once

     

    Be clear about what you can get out of the Fair

    Ask yourself are you why you are attending the Fair? The Fair is the place to go to see thousands of products and new product ideas, but may not appeal if all you want is a rock bottom prices. You’ll need to be realistic in your goals and prepared to meet certain supplier conditions.

     

    Build contacts

    Note the Fair is a good place to meet new suppliers in person, establishing good relationships or shop for a replacement supplier if you are existing business that has an existing supply line

     

    Know what size business you are

    Often exhibitors at the fair may only deal with large established buyers. Be prepared to as you many required to ship substantial volumes in order to meet a supplier’s MOQs.

     

    Everything you need to know about the Canton Fair

     

    Note this primer provides an outline only, of things you’ll need to know ahead of the event. For the latest updates on dates and times & detailed information, especially on applying for visas and registering as a buyer, go to the official Canton Fair website at http://www.cantonfair.org.cn/en/ (English version). Note there is a setting that enables you to change the website language to other languages.

     

     

    Dates for 124th Canton Fair Schedule - 2018  Autumn

     

    Phase I October 15-19 (Monday - Friday)

    Product Categories: Building Materials, Electronics & Household Electrical Appliances, Hardware & Tools, Lighting Equipment

    Other: Chemical Products, Machinery, Vehicles & Spare Parts

     

    Phase II Oct 23-27 (Tues - Sat)

    Product Categories: Consumer Products, Home Decorations

    Other: Gifts

     

    Phase III Oct 31- Nov 04 (Wed - Sun)

    Other: Cases & Bags, Medical Devices and Health Products, Office Supplies, Recreation Products, Shoes, Textiles & Garments

     

    Location: China Import and Export Fair Complex

    Address: 382 Yuejiang Zhong Road, Pazhou, Guangzhou, China

    Opening Hours: 8:30-18:00 / 8:30-16:00(Oct.19, Oct.27) / 8:30-14:00 (Nov.4)

     

    Visas & Invitation Letter:

    Go to the official website at www.cantonfair.org.cn to find out how to apply for the Invitation Letter you’ll need to attend the Fair

     

    Registration

    Details on how to register as a buyer can be found on the official website at www.cantonfair.org.cn

     

    How to get there

     

    Air

    Arrive at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, fly to Shenzhen International Airport or fly to Hong Kong International Airport and transfer to a train or ferry. (Long distance buses are available from these airports but the commute is quite long). More information can be found at the airport information desk)

     

    Train

    From Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, take the Guangzhou Metro Line 3 to downtown and further directions. If travelling from Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, take the subway Line 2 to Futian Station in downtown Shenzhen then the Shenzhen to Guangzhou express train to Guangzhou South Station. Here you will need to transfer to the subway system to get to the Fair complex. If travelling from Hong Kong International Airport, there is a long distance bus from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, however the travel time is quite long. Alternatively, take an express train to Kowloon Airport Station then a shuttle bus to Hung Hom. At Hung Hom Station take the East Rail line to Luohu Station, Shenzhen. Change to the high speed train from Shenzhen to Guangzhou East Railway Station. Alternatively take the Hong Kong-to-Guangzhou through train, which also departs from Hung Hom Station.

     

    Sea

    Hong Kong to Guangzhou ferry services operate from Hong Kong International Airport Ferry Terminal, China Hong Kong City Ferry Terminal (Kowloon), or Hong Kong Macao Ferry Terminal (Hong Kong Island) to Lianhuashan Port or New Nansha Harbor, both in Guangzhou. From there, additional transport will be required.

     

     

    Where to stay

     

    There is huge selection of accommodation options from 2 & 3-star budget hotels to 5-star luxury hotels in downtown Guangzhou as well as in Pazhou District, where the Convention and Exhibition Center is located.

     

    Accommodation Tip

    Some buyers only recommend staying in good hotels with access to English / foreign-language-speaking staff, if possible, shuttle buses and close proximity to the complex. This allows you to get to the fair venue with minimal fuss so you can maximize your time at the Fair.

     

    Registration Tip

    When you arrive at the Exhibition complex, the first thing you will see notice is the long queues of buyers that have formed, often from very early in the morning. There will two main queues. One for registering for the show on the spot, before being issued an exhibition pass and another for people who have already registered and have their entry pass. This second queue is not surprisingly, much shorter.

     

    Because of the long queues that always from outside the fair, before the show opens each day, it is much better to pre-register for the show. It may seem obvious but it something that many buyers will forget to do. Pre-registering and printing out your confirmation letter before arriving will save you hours of standing in lines to register for the show before you enter. Then you can start your day off the right way.

     

    You can register for the Fair at the hotel you are staying at. You can check on line to see which hotels are able to issue you with an exhibition pass before you leave and which hotels have a free shuttle bus to the fair. Shuttle buses leave often. While guests staying at the hotel will have priority, you don’t need to be a guest at that hotel to use the bus.

     

    Internet

    When you arrive, try get a local mobile number as soon as possible. A pay -as-you-go mobile number is not expensive and it will ensure you are able to make calls and surf the internet from the very beginning. Internet services in China vary in speed and strength so it is best to discuss what you need and confirm the services and speed being provided with the mobile services staff. Guangzhou and southern China are now migrating to 5G so the service should be more than adequate. Two of the largest local carriers are China Mobile and China Telecom. Prices may be slightly higher than smaller carriers but these two operators have more services centers making it easier to get assistance if needed.

     

    Business Cards

    Have your business cards ready. Be aware that some business titles, eg. ‘Director’ are actually not as attractive as ‘Buyer’, to suppliers. Bring plenty of business cards.

     

    Tip: Unfortunately misuse of contact details happens anywhere, resulting in your contact details being passed onto to other companies for marketing purposes. Some buyers will deal with this by having two business cards prepared, one for real business contacts, one for touts who want your card because they are farming contacts.

     

     

    Sourcing products at the Canton Fair

     

    What you need to do before the Fair 

     

    You’ve booked your tickets and accommodation and you’re ready for the Fair! But before you start your sourcing effort, it is wise to come prepared. Here is a list of things that you should organized to ensure you have a very successful experience.

     

    Prepare a schedule of your activities during your stay

     

    Due to the sheer size of the event and the exhibition venue, it is important to do some research pre-show and shortlist the products and suppliers you are most interested in meeting and then map out your movement among the different halls. This will allow you to ensure you can achieve your key objectives before you get distracted by the myriad stalls, events and people you may encounter once you arrive.

     

    The importance of this cannot be overstated. Have a plan. Arrange this before arriving at the Fair and a list of products and suppliers you might want to meet.

     

    Canton Fair Checklist

    Product List

    - prepare a list of the products you want to source

     

    Supplier List

    - prepare a list of suppliers you want to speak to, if you have selected them from the list of exhibitors on the official website, you will know that they will definitely be in attendance.

     

    Map out where you want to go

    - if appropriate, try to map out where the suppliers you want to visit are beforehand. So when you step into the venue you have an idea of where you are going. This will save a lot of time, energy, and potentially money.

     

    Keen buyers may want to plan the exact way they will move around at the complex. Determine:

    • Your arrival location (by gate or metro station)
    • The product category (by zone)
    • Where you want to eat or stop for a rest
    • Where you will leave the venue

     

    Know your prices

    - Do some research beforehand, research the market and even try to speak to some suppliers beforehand so you have some basic prices for comparison for the products you want. Knowing your prices is essential before going to an exhibition. Without this upfront knowledge, it is difficult to know if the price the supplier gives you at the booth is realistic or not.

     

    Flexible

    - While it is good to have a place, conversely you do now want to over-plan. Try to leave some space in your schedule that allows you to investigate a new product, supplier, or event. Building in some flexibility gives you the time to pursue unexpected opportunities that are good for your project or business.

     

    Guide

    - Having a personal interpreter who can also be your guide is a great way to ensure that you have minimal hassles at the Fair. If possible, book an interpreter/guide that has experience in sourcing and is able to communication in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

     

    Read our blog on the benefits of having your own interpreter at the Fair

     

    We also invite you to check out Lesso Home’s Canton Fair interpreting services package exclusive to members

     

    Get there early

    - Register for the Fair at the hotel to avoid the long registration queues at the venue itself. Arrive early and consider travelling by public transport to Pazhou, if you are not taking a hotel shuttle bus. Taxis may be easier to catch in the morning but in the late afternoon when you are leaving the venue, they will be extremely scarce.

     

    At the booth

     You’ve entered a booth that has products you are interested in. This is what you can expect. Plus we have provided some tips to help you extract maximum value out of the stop.

     

    Photos

    - take photos of the booth, the supplier or suppliers’ representative and of course the products themselves. These can be downloaded or copied to your hard drive later for safe keeping. Send a photo to the supplier as it gives both you and the supplier a reminder of who you are.

     

    If you have a companion, you can alternative speaking with the supplier and taking photos. You can also take photographs of other contacts you make through the Fair.

     

    Catalogs

    - if you take a catalog from every booth you visit, you will quickly amass a backpack load of catalogs that you will then need to carry around with you the whole day. Instead ask the supplier to send you an electronic version of the catalog. This will make things easier and you will avoid the risk of having to pay an expensive luggage surcharge on the trip home.

     

    Certificates, Factories & Business

    - Every supplier that you are interested in buying product from should be asked if they have the necessary certificates for their products that allows them to be imported to the destination country. If they do not, be prepared to walk away. Ask where their factory is based. If possible, arrange a visit to the factory so you can see their operation first hand. Also ask about their existing client base and business, if they supply to well known brands, it is more likely that will be a reputable business with quality products.

     

    Step-by-Step walk through

     

    To give you a clear understanding of what to expect when dealing with a supplier, we present a step-by-step visit to a booth run by a real supplier.

     

    Our sample company supplies copper plumbing products to the building industry. Having established its name in China, the company is now focusing heavily on overseas markets, especially Singapore and Australia, and now has the Middle East, Africa and South East Asian markets in its sights. It already enjoys a good reputation among Australian builders and has a healthy roster of building companies as clients. Our supplier’s representative is Ivy who has extensive experience serving overseas buyers.

     

    Welcome

    When you first arrive at the booth, Ivy will show you her product catalog which shows you the main product range, in this case, the standard sizes they have available.

     

    The Booth

    The booth itself has samples of some of the companies products but for a full list of products available, Ivy will send you an electronic copy, normally a PDF, by email.

     

    Asking for samples

    Do not expect the supplier to be able to give you sample on site that you can take away that day. They will likely not have what you need. In our case, Ivy is keen to do business with new customers and will be happy to mail samples to you, if practical, the next day.

     

    Ordering: Ask for a quote, provide product details

    You have found some products you like and are thinking about placing an order. But first you’ll want to get a quote. Our supplier will want you to have all relevant details about the product you are buying, ready to hand over, when you arrive.

     

    If it is pipe work, Ivy will want the length, thickness (gauge), diameter, material and quantities of each type of pipe being ordered. In this case, your plumbing specialist has already prepared a complete list of pipes for you to give to Ivy.

     

    Certifications

    If, like most buyers, you are importing to a foreign country, you will need to make sure the products have the certificates required to bring them into the country. You ask Ivy this and as a reputable supplier, she can confirm that they the certificates necessary for importing into your country. You are pleased that she can confirm this and you way you want copies to be sent to you later for checking, before you commit to an order.

     

    The products

    In your case, you are looking to buy a range of pipe fittings for air conditioning systems. You look for the dimensions for the products in the catalog Ivy gives you and they are printed in both imperial and metric, in the catalog, as they should be.

     

    Ivy confirms that standard US & UK pipe products are stocked but you want your pipes cut to a specific length. You go through the thickness, length, diameter of the pipe, cut lengths and quantities with her.

     

    The quote

    Ivy takes your information and half an hour later, she is able to return with a quote*.

    At this point, if you like what you see, you can now move on to discussing more details about the potential order including, production time, delivery and shipping and importantly, price. You believe you can accept the price quoted.

     

    *Many suppliers suggest buyers contact them before the fair and, if possible, send the details of the products so that a quote can be prepared and be ready to be discussed when you arrive at the booth.

     

    The invoice

    At this point, after exchanging details, taking some key information and some photographs, you can leave the booth. Two days later, you receive an email with a proforma invoice, confirming the price and key details about the order.

     

    The deposit

    If the invoice is acceptable, our supplier wants a 20% deposit paid up front. The deposit is normally paid by electronic funds transfer to the nominated account. If the order is large or if required, it also accepts a bank Letter of Credit.

     

    Production, Balance of payment & Shipping

    After this, production begins. When the shipment is ready, the balance of the payment is due after the goods are shipped, that is, before they leave the port in China.

     

    Once the balance has been received, Ivy will send you the original bill of landing that, along with your other completed paperwork, allows you to pick up the shipment when it arrives at your destination port. Ivy suggests you allow 4 weeks under normal conditions for your shipment to arrive.

     

     

    Negotiating

     

    You have come prepared for the Fair, have everything on your checklist ready including your list of suppliers you want to visit and you’ve seen what happens in a typical interaction with a supplier. You’re ready to do a deal!

     

    Here now are the key guidelines on negotiating with a supplier

     

    If you’re ready to talk business, a negotiation with a supplier will usually involve 3 or 4 people. You, the buyer, your own interpreter / sourcing agent if you have come prepared with one, and the supplier or supplier’s representative.

     

    The first price

    The key to negotiating is to negotiate. Very rarely is the first price a buyer is given the best price that can be gotten. Say nothing, and you’ll risk spending more than you have to. But speak up, and there is a chance you can make a significant saving on the purchase.

     

    Negotiate but not too hard

    On the flip side of this, is the danger of trying to squeeze the supplier’s margins too close to the production cost. Going too hard on price can have a negative impact in the form of quality issues and unanswered phone calls. Not doing adequate research beforehand can leave any buyer wondering whether they are paying more than they could be or, with fair minded buyers, less than they should be.

     

    Finding the right price

    What is the right middle ground on this? It may seem like common sense but as with any good negotiation, it should be a win-win situation, where both sides to the contract get something out of the deal. That is, as the buyer you should be getting the right quality products and at a fair price, while the supplier is able to make money out of the deal, including enough to pay his expenses and keep his or her business running.

     

    Accept that the supplier has to make something out of the deal

    Asking a supplier who is already working on tight margins because of the competition for orders, to give a 10 or 20% reduction on his already low price, it not realistic.

    If it is a high value order, negotiating a 3 to 5% discount is more realistic and achievable and is not large enough to encourage the supplier to start cutting corners in production which will lead to poor quality products

     

    Don’t haggle too much

    Be aware that if you haggle too much, the best case is that the supplier tells you to go somewhere else. The worst case is they agree to the price then deliver poor quality goods that are unusable, which will be a waste of your money.

     

    Price affects quality and service

    Remember, products can be made to different levels of quality. For example, a kitchen cabinet with many components can be made with poor quality materials just as easily as it can with good quality materials. This can include weak core material, laminates that stain easily or adhesives that do adhere properly. So instead of getting a great cabinet at a low price, you could be paying a premium price for a poor quality one. You will also get less attention from the supplier as they focus on buyers that they are making more income from.

     

    If you put yourself in the Supplier’s position, it can help. Already under pressure to trim margins and pay staff salaries, an embattled supplier may take drastic measures to make money out of the deal, leading the aforementioned risk to quality. It is far better to be reasonable in negotiating and aim for a good discount that will ensure you get low defect rates and better service from your Supplier.

     

    Negotiate at the right time

    Negotiating should be done before any prototypes have been made and before there has been any significant outlay. At that point money and time will have been invested in producing the prototype, and possibly drawings and other input, and you may not be in a position to walk away from the supplier. The key is to negotiate the price at the beginning when you are not committed. This freedom gives you more power to negotiate.

     

    Be prepared to walk about from the Supplier if something seems wrong.

     

    A less-than-upfront supplier may suddenly raise the price for any number of reasons, just before you are about to sign on the dotted line. It may be higher labour costs, material costs, costs to ensure you get your products to you ‘on time’. If any of these occur it is much safer to walk away from the deal, even if it means starting back at square one. If the supplier applies pressure, now, it is very possible that there will more attempts later on.

     

    Do your research & be clear about quality requirements

    Knowing how much the materials and components, that make up your product, cost is the best way to ensure you can negotiate with strength, and know whether you are getting a good deal or not. Seek assistance if needed, to find out how much the key parts of your product cost.

     

    Since the same product can be made with different materials and components, it is essential that you have all the specifications confirmed for your product. If the level of quality you should be getting is not clear, you will be unable to determine whether you paid the right price for your goods. Also if you are not clear about the different aspects of your products, and know how much they cost in the marketplace, you will not be able to negotiate properly.

     

    Finalizing a deal

    You’ve come armed with knowledge, seen the products and negotiated well. Congratulations! It’s time to confirm the quote with the supplier and wait for the paper work to arrive. You have more products to source, so it’s time to move on to your next supplier. Good luck!

     

    A Final Word

     

    For any growing business, the opportunity to come the Canton Fair isn’t just about sourcing great products, See this is as one tour of duty that you want to be as successful as possible that is also it’s also part of a long term investment in your business. So at the fair you should be gathering information about suppliers that you may not want to source this year or for this project, but may want to do so for the next season, or the next grand design.

     

    You are also building up a collection of professional contacts, sourcing experts and translator. Information and experience that will make your next Canton Fair even better!

     

     

    Canton Fair - A Short History

     

    The China Import and Export Fair (CIEF), also known as the Canton Fair, is held in the city of Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton) in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, in Spring and Autumn each year.

     

    First organized in 1957, its aim has been to develop trade between China and the rest of the world, build wealth on both sides of the equation and serve as a showcase for the latest Chinese-made products. Interestingly, a look through the history of products sold at the Fair also paints a clear picture of the evolution of trade in China.

     

    The Fair attracts product buyers and wholesalers locally and from around the world. From neighboring Asian economies to buyers from as far away as Africa and South America. Currently, US, India, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Australia are amongst the top 10 regions for attendees at the event. Electrical and Electronic Goods and Home Decorations are the top and third highest categories respectively in terms of interest.

     

    Since its launch, over the many sessions that have been held, the Fair has gone from strength to strength. It is still one of the largest trade fairs of its kind in the world in terms of the number of products on offer, the size of attendance and most importantly, the value of business conducted. In the 2017 Spring session, over USD$30 billion worth of business was done during the Fair’s three week run.

     

    Lesso Home will be at the upcoming Canton Fair!

     

    You will find Lesso Home at Booth T19-20. We invite you to come visit us at our booth and speak with one of our sourcing experts who will be more than happy to discuss your sourcing needs.

  • Traveling to China: It’s Easy!

    Guidelines for Business Sourcing Professionals

     

    China is a wonderful land of opportunities for western retailers. Sourcing products from China can dramatically increase your profit margins while stocking your inventory with unique, high-quality products your customers will love. And there’s no better or more enjoyable way to find the right products and manufacturers than a trip to China!

     

    Many business people, however, find travel to the far east a little intimidating. The language barrier can be overwhelming, and the western traveler must quickly learn the customs and ways of doing business in China.

     

    The key to a great trip is in preparation. We want you to enjoy your trip to China and share in the vast cultural experiences China has to offer (as well as the business opportunities). With all these factors in mind, we’ve assembled this short guide to help send you on to China with a smile. We know you’ll love it!

     

    Translators and Sourcing Agents

     

    If you are new to Chinese travel and importing, we strongly recommend that you hire a sourcing agent, who can also serve as a translator.

     

    A sourcing agent can help you through the entire process of purchasing and exporting your goods. As you shop, you’ll discover that most sales representatives don’t speak English, so having a sourcing agent as an interpreter is vital. The agent will also help you navigate the often-complex pricing structures from various manufacturers. But most importantly, the sourcing agent will handle all shipping and export matters. Since most manufacturers don’t handle shipping, you’ll need someone with experience in getting goods from China into your home country. It can be a tricky business, and expensive if you make costly mistakes.

     

    A sourcing agent is well worth the 3-5% commission on the sale. The agent can do everything from help you in finding good suppliers to quality control to logistics. A good agent is your insurance policy for successful importing from China.

     

    An agent can also help you in navigating day-to-day life in China when you’re not doing business. As you’ll see below, having a Chinese-speaking companion will help make the entire experience more enjoyable.

     

    So how do you find a good sourcing agent? Of course, a personal referral is always the best way to be sure you’re getting a reliable and professional agent. If you don’t have the advantage of a referral, here are some things to look for:

     

    • Be sure he has at least five years of experience in procurement as well as experience working with Chinese kitchen cabinets suppliers. He should understand Chinese business culture inside and out.
    • Good Negotiator. Find out about prices he’s negotiated for others – he should be getting the best prices on goods.
    • Fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. Be sure your agent can be effective in both languages

     

    You need a sourcing agent you can trust! If you don’t speak the language, you rely on your sourcing agent (or translator) to give you complete and accurate information about all conversations. Don’t hesitate to ask for more information if you feel your translator is skimming over the manufacturer’s statements.

     

    When you work with Lesso Home, we serve as the sourcing agent for your purchase, so you don’t have to worry about finding a good agent in a country of 1.2 billion people. We handle the pesky details of quality control and shipping, so you don’t have to. And we can connect you with reputable manufacturers and negotiate the best deal. For small and medium-sized importers, Lesso Home can take the hassle out of importing kitchen cabinets while getting you the best possible price.

     

    Getting a Visa

     

    If you are a US citizen, you will need a visa to travel to China. The regulations are less stringent if traveling to Hong Kong, and we’ll note the differences as we go along. First, we advise using a travel agent to help you secure your visa. An agent can save you valuable time in the process, and she will know the procedures inside and out. You will apply for a business visa, assuming your trip is primarily for business purposes.

     

    Here are a few things to remember:

    • Plan your trip at least six weeks in advance to allow adequate time to secure your visa.
    • The visa process is not difficult and can usually be completed in 3-5 days.
    • When applying, you will need the following documentation:
      • Passport
      • Invitation Letter from the Supplier. The letter should contain:
        • Your name, gender, DOB, etc. – complete personal information for you
        • Manufacturer’s information – name, phone, address, etc.
        • Official stamp and signature of the person inviting you
        • Information about your visit:
          • Purpose of visit
          • Arrival and departure dates
          • Places you will visit
          • Relationship to the person/company inviting you
          • Financial source for business expenditures
        • A passport-sized photograph
        • If you are not a US citizen, you will need proof of legal residency in the US

     

    If you are not using a travel agent, you will need to visit your nearest Chinese embassy to complete the process. There is no online application process for Chinese visas. A travel agent will save you the trip to the embassy.

     

    In most cases, your visa will be approved quickly if your documents are well-prepared.

     

    Hong Kong

     

    If you are traveling to Hong Kong, be aware that the government operates as a separate entity from China (even though Hong Kong belongs to China). There are several differences:

    • US passport-holders are eligible for a 90-day on-arrival visa for Hong Kong. You will still need a Chinese visa – not available on arrival – if you plan to travel on to mainland China through Hong Kong.
    • Hong Kong uses a different currency.
    • Hong Kong uses a different cellular/mobile network.

     

    There are too many small differences to name them all here, but the three mentioned above are the most important to most travelers. A good travel agent will help you with any important details about traveling to Hong Kong.

     

    Luggage

     

    When traveling to China in economy class, most airlines allow one checked bag with a maximum weight of 20-30 kg (about 45-65 lbs). Be sure to check your specific carrier for weight restrictions for your classification. Additional weight will result in excess baggage charges.

    In general, you can bring three bags with you:

    • A checked bag, 20-30 kg
    • A small cabin luggage bag, approx. 7 kg (15 lbs)
    • A personal bag – laptop case, purse, etc.

     

    Electrical Power

     

    While most American wall sockets are 110V, 60Hz, he standard for AC electrical power in China is usually 220V, 50Hz. Hong Kong has yet another standard, 200V, 50Hz. The plugs are also in different configurations, so the best thing to do is bring a Universal Travel Adapter like the one below:
    photo1

    As you can see, it has a variety of plugs and sockets, and it can also help convert to the proper voltage and hertz settings for your US or European devices. Please note that some universal adapters only change the plugs without changing the voltage. Be sure your adapter will fully adapt to your devices or purchase a separate voltage converter.

     

    Using Your Mobile Phone

     

    Since you’re traveling for business, you’ll probably want to use a cell phone during your trip. International mobile calling is notoriously complicated, so it’s best to check with your carrier to see if your phone will work and if you’ll be charged outrageous amounts for using it. International plans vary based on:

    • The country
    • Your calling plan
    • Your specific phone
    • The services you want to use

     

    There are also some services that will work well on wi-fi (if you can find it) that don’t work as well on the cellular network.

     

    Here are a few hints to keep you connected:

    • Talk to your service provider and see if you have the right phone and plan for international and be sure your international roaming is on. Some plans allow unlimited texting in some countries, so that might be an option for a lot of your communication. Again, you may be able to use wi-fi calling for free anywhere – check with your carrier.
    • There are also some good alternatives you can use once you get to China:
      • Purchase a local prepaid sim card for your phone after arriving in China. You’ll have to have an unlocked phone for this option, however. Buying is easy – all you need is your passport, and you can get it at the airport – and it takes up to two hours to activate. You can add money to your prepaid balance at 7/11 stores or several other locations.
      • Purchase an inexpensive phone in China. You can pick up a cheap phone for $50 or so, also with a prepaid balance.

     

    The most important advice on this subject is to ask your local cell service carrier. It’s best to just call – there’s a lot of misinformation about plans out on the internet.

     

    Internet Usage

     

    As you may know, the internet is restricted by the Chinese government, so you won’t be able to use some of the sites you visit in the US on a regular basis. Restricted sites include:

    • That’s right, the Google you use every day. Google pulled out of China because of government censorship, but they may be re-entering the market with a new version. Watch the news for developments.
      • Since Google is restricted, all its sister sites and services are restricted as well: Gmail, YouTube, the list goes on.
    • Facebook
    • WhatsApp
    • Uber

     

    Many other sites are restricted as well, but China has its own version of many familiar sites.

     

    In fact, China has its own internet eco-system, and you can easily use these sites while in China. “Everyday” Chinese sites include:

    • WeChat (Text & Voice Communications)
    • Alipay (Payment)
    • Didi (Taxi Booking)
    • Youdao Translator (Language Translator)
    • Flightview (Flight Status)

     

    Most Apple devices and services work well in China, but that doesn’t mean your cell phone will work without the right plan and roaming options.

     

    If you want to bypass the Chinese restrictions and go to any site you like, you’ll need to subscribe to a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs are paid services, and many Chinese businesses as well as foreign visitors use them. A couple of options are:

    • Express VPN
    • Lantern

     

    You’ll want to be sure your VPN is configured BEFORE you leave for China, especially if you’ll be using an Android device. Remember, Android is owned by Google, so many Android functions are limited without the use of a VPN.

     

    Money

     

    Getting cash and using credit cards in China is similar to most countries, with a few additional quirks. Be sure to call your bank and your credit card companies before leaving and let them know you’re traveling to China (some banks have an online option to inform them about foreign travel as well). If your bank sees your Chinese transactions as “suspicious,” they’ll cut off your credit and debit cards, and calling to straighten out the mess will most likely be more difficult when you’re calling from China.

    • Most ATMs in China accept Visa and Mastercard for withdrawing cash. In most cases, you’ll get the best exchange rate and lower fees by withdrawing your cash from an ATM.
    • Carry an adequate amount of cash when in China. Though credit card use is prevalent, you may find yourself in a situation where using a card is not an option.
    • WeChat is widely accepted as a method of payment in China. Load money into your account before leaving. If you don’t have a WeChat account, signup is easy and free.
    • If you’d prefer not to carry a lot of cash, travel cards and traveler’s checks are a good option. With a pre-loaded travel card, you can withdraw RMBs from ATMS (be sure your travel card is a Mastercard or Visa).

     

    Remember that mainland China and Hong Kong do NOT use the same currency. If you’re traveling to both, you’ll need to be sure you have adequate amounts of Hong Kong dollars and RMBs.

     

    Transportation

     

    Getting around in China can seem intimidating, but there are several apps that can help you negotiate the various systems. When going from place to place, having a good translator with you will save you a lot of headaches and frustrated sign language.

     

    Metro Systems

     

    Most major Chinese cities have excellent, accessible metro systems. In most places, announcements and information are available in English.

     

    In addition, the metro systems have mobile apps that provide information in English. You can get fares, approximate travel times, routes, etc. on your phone for easier planning. Some of the major apps – available for Apple and Android - are:

     

    Traveling by Bus

     

    Chinese bus service is excellent for intra-city and even inter-city travel. For non-Chinese speakers, however, bus travel can be difficult. If you plan to travel by bus, it’s best to have a translator or a local assist you in planning (or even traveling with you). Much of the information on the Chinese bus systems will be provided only in Chinese.

     

    Traveling by Taxi

     

    Didi is the “Chinese Uber,” serving all major cities in China. The app is available in English, making it easy to secure a taxi, and you can link your credit card to Didi just like using Uber or Lyft in the US. There are a few difficulties for the non-Chinese speaker however, so we recommend using a translator or local help to be sure you get where you’re going.

    • Although the app is in English, many destination names will appear in Chinese.
    • Most drivers will not speak English, so having a translator talk with the driver will make the entire trip smoother and more enjoyable.

     

    If you don’t speak Chinese, we recommend having someone with you – a translator, a sourcing agent, or just a local acquaintance – when you go out.

     

    Medical Needs/Insurance

     

    It’s best to prepare for any ongoing or emergency medical situations before leaving for China.

    • Be sure to take plenty of your prescribed medications with you on the trip. Plan ahead! Check the amount of medication you have long before the trip and get refills as needed. It will be extremely difficult to get a prescription medication in China.
    • Consider purchasing travel insurance in case of emergency expenses. Check with your bank, insurance agent, or travel agent for the best insurance for your needs.

     

    If you have a medical emergency while in China, you can get treatment at any government hospital. If possible bring a Chinese-speaking person with you to the hospital – emergency rooms are no fun when you DO speak the language!

     

    Doing Business in China

     

    When working with Chinese manufacturers and suppliers, remember that business tends to be highly relationship-based in China. If you’re looking for a long-term relationship with a manufacturer, they’ll probably want to get to know you and spend some time after hours with you. Casual conversation over a meal is very important to Chinese business people, so be sure to participate in these activities when you can. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to get around in China – these interactions will prove to be one of the most enjoyable activities of your trip.

     

    Traveling to China for business can be rewarding, both personally and professionally. If you have additional questions or concerns about your trip, contact the professionals at Lesso Home. We understand Chinese business, and we want to show you the best of China!