In the latest in our mini-series of blogs and videos focusing on B2B marketing in the China F&B sector for overseas brands, we are taking a look trade shows and how China marketing managers can maximize the opportunity.
As a vital global market for international business, China is home to some of the biggest trade and industry shows in the world. The food and beverage sector is a growing market in China, particularly for overseas brands, and for the brand strategists and China marketing professionals operating within the industry tradeshows can be a vital step in the journey to in-market success. However, tapping into the opportunities that these high-profile events bring and maximizing the return on investment of taking part, takes a lot more than simply showing up with your samples.
Mingliang Wang, Founder and Director of Sino Expo Informa Markets, the company behind some of China’s biggest F&B industry events such as Food & Hospitality China (FHC) was kind enough to give us some of his insight. He told us that, as a benchmark, FHC 2019 alone enjoyed:
- Over 3,500 exhibitors, 43% of which were overseas brands.
- Filled 15 exhibition halls, over 180,00m2
- Featured 15,000 product demonstrations took place every day during the exhibition period
- 134,000 visitors attended the show, representing 110 countries.
- 24% of visitors described themselves as food importers
Mingliang Wang, Founder and Director of Sino Expo Informa Markets
Mingliang told us: “The market for imported food in China continues to grow rapidly. Industry trade shows are a main driver of this growth as more and more visitors are attending which, in turn, gives exhibitors more and more opportunity to have their products showcased and experienced by their target Chinese consumers. This is incredibly important for foreign brands who want to be successful in China.
“The traffic we are seeing at our shows demonstrate a clear pattern. More and more Chinese consumers are taking a broader interest in F&B brands and products which is driving up footfall at trade shows. We are also seeing that these increasing numbers of visitors are spending more and more time visiting international pavilions, curious for new flavors and experiences.”
So, with so much opportunity to tap into China trade shows and get your brand in front of more Chinese buyers, here are a few tips that will ensure you maximize your ROI for attending.
Localize your brand collateral
English might be the international language of business but, like many parts of the world, it is not so widely spoken in China. Make sure you localize your brand assets for your China trade show appearances. This should include any digital content and social media output. Speaking of which…..
Tell everyone you are coming
Many brands make the mistake of seeing China trade shows in isolation. And while you can tap into huge visitor numbers, you are competing for attention with, in some cases, 1000s of other brands from all over the world. Companies that make a real success of their China trade show appearances begin breaking ground in the months leading up to the show. This includes launching an online presence in China and tapping into China’s diverse and unique social media sector. WeChat, Weibo and Little Red Book can all be useful in telling the world you will be at the show and encouraging visitors to come and check out your stand.
Make use of the fringe benefits
All the China trade shows I have experienced have also had a fantastic range of fringe events and support activities, great for networking opportunities away from the hustle and bustle. Your team on the ground at the China trade show should be looking at what else they can attend and be part of. For example, the UK’s Department for International Trade and Defra, with their Food is GREAT initiative, host several additional activities and events for British F&B brands to coincide with FHC or SIAL.