In 2015 I personally exhibited with my private label brand (Mandarin-Gear) at the Global Sources Electronics show. In later years I was even asked to speak at their Amazon FBA conference 3 times (2016/2017).
At the time my whole product assortment were consumer electronics (as this was my background). In time my assortment has changed but this review will focus on the show itself. I’ve also done a detailed review of Globalsources’s online platform in detail here.
But again, this review will focus on the physical show itself. I exhibited at the Global Sources Electronics show from 11-14th of April with my brand “Mandarin-Gear” and I went to source at the HKTDC Electronics show on 15th of April.
As of now (2021) there are no exhibitions in Hong Kong at the moment due to COVID-19. But I am sure these times will pass and there will be shows again in the future. Here is a re-cap and lessons learned from the shows both in terms of being a supplier and as a visitor.
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At my booth
GLOBAL SOURCES ELECTRONICS EXHIBITION MOVE-IN DAY
Global Sources claims to be the largest Electronics Sourcing show of its kind. It was my first time exhibiting there so I was really excited. I have been to many exhibitions over the years as a buyer and this was my first time as a supplier. Also I was hoping for a boost in sales, making new contacts and generally brining the word out on my brand.
With 90% exclusive exhibitors, the show is Asia’s leading sourcing event for consumer electronics. Electronic components, and security products, and the platform of choice for a growing number of buyers, including big-name importers like Samsung, Hewlett-Packard and Panasonic.
My main goal for the show was to find new customers/wholesalers for my brand Mandarin-Gear. I was showcasing all of my products in my private label (see previous post) and I was certain that I will get some interest from buyers. There should be well over 5,000 buyers from different countries worldwide, so I was sure it will be worth it.
I went there early morning and my assistant helped me move in things:
I ordered a few packaging boxes & banners prior to the fair and was able to set up my booth pretty quickly:
The exhibition management is also extremely efficient. My key account executive showed up shortly after I arrived and was answering the few questions I still had. The whole booth cost me 35,000HKD (4,514USD) and I even get half of that back from the Hong Kong government’s SME fund as I am a registered HK company. How awesome is that?
This is how it eventually looked like after an hour:
The tradeshow itself is pretty huge. There are 11 halls and mine is one of the bigger ones. I am standing in the middle of the hall taking below photo, so you can imagine how large the whole hall is.
It was still pretty empty and people slowly started to move in when we left. Decoration of most booths have been completed yesterday. The bigger booths were still under construction:
GLOBAL SOURCES ELECTRONICS EXHIBITION DAY
I was really busy the first 2 days with buyers from all over the world, so I didn’t have much time for sourcing myself.
I planned on doing that on the last day and I went to source to the other Electronics fair on 15th of April all day.
Here are some of the key take aways as a supplier:
• When you exhibit, make sure you get a corner booth or a booth in the middle of the hall where people pass by.
• Create some buzz on your booth and show enough of your products or just the packaging, play some music if the venue allows it and have some banners that quickly show what your booth is all about.
• Make sure you have friendly and approachable people ready to explain what your product is all about at your booth.
• Ask your friends to come visit you. It gives the booth a crowded feeling and people will want to know what’s going on.
• Have enough marketing material ready (catalogues, business cards etc.)
• Know your products and make sure any assistants or other people at your booth know everything as well. Be prepared for questions that are unusual. Study your products that you are displaying and make sure that you fully understand them.
• Take notes and follow up immediately after the fair. Buyers tend to forget who they have visited.
• Take photos with people that visit you at your booth and send it to them afterwards. Create a relationships. A fair is not just about sales it is more than anything else a networking event.
All in all I was pretty happy with the results. I met a lot of buyers in those 4 days exhibiting and I can now actually say 6 years later (2021) that it was well worth it. The whole investment were about 5,000$ and I must have generated well over 200,000$ with the clients I met at the exhibition. To this day I still work with some of these customers.
Here are a few pictures from the last 2 days:
Discussing a potential order
Obviously upset with some supplier
This customer eventually turned out to be one of my main customers in 2019
Dim Sum during lunch time
GLOBAL SOURCES ELECTRONICS SOURCING PART
In general the show is pretty large as I’ve said already. So you need to be well prepared. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long to prepare and to make it easier for you here are some tips on sourcing at an exhibtion:
Prepare an introduction for yourself before you go sourcing at a trade fair.
This comes across as more professional and people will be more willing to invest time and resources into you if they feel they deal with someone professional who knows how to do business properly.
You are more likely to build a good relationship if you leave a good first impression. Here is an example how you could introduce yourself:
Hi, I am Manuel and I am the Managing Director of Mandarin-Gear Limited in Hong Kong. I run a Sourcing & Buying office for many large retailers worldwide such as COMPANY X, COMPANY Y. My customers are looking for product “X” and I am interested in discussing more details or to receive a quotation based on my customers requirements.
After the introduction ask questions and once you are satisfied ask him to provide a quotation based on your requirements. Hand him your business card and MAKE SURE that he wrote down everything you discussed.
- Prepare an introduction of yourself and / or your company
- Bring name cards, your own catalogue (in case you have one), comfortable shoes and a trolley to carry all the collected catalogues.
- Pre-register online often saves you money and time
- Look at freely available maps to find out where the products you are looking for are located before you start walking around. Plan your way through the fair systematically. This is especially important for bigger trade shows.
- Take photos of products that you are interested in.
Prepare and ask the suppliers questions such as:
What is your MOQ (minimum order quantity)?
What certificates can you provide?
Who are your customers?
What are your top-selling items?
What is your factory standard?
- Make notes for yourself and follow up after the fair
- Don’t waste your time with suppliers that: cant speak proper English, are not interested in discussing deals or have no idea about certifications & quality standards. Save yourself the trouble from the start.
Set yourself goals and targets when going to an exhibition. Remind yourself why you go there and be prepared with supporting material.
SO IS IT WORTH IT TO GO TO THE GLOBAL SOURCES EXHIBITION?
Yes, absolutely! While things are mostly done online at the moment due to COVID-19, I personally can’t wait for the exhibitions to open again. Mostly because you meet suppliers in real, see products in real and can get a very good feeling of a supplier if he is trustworthy or not.
And you’ll also find many other service providers such as inspection companies who are a must when you import from China. My personal favourite is QIMA who is my go to inspection company. Not just because they are affordable and trustworthy but they also have an easy to use online portal to book inspection. You can check them out here:
Plus, you’ll find hundreds of product ideas that you’ll immediately want to implement and buy. Obviously you’ll need to do your due diligence and research the supplier as well as the potential of all the products you found, but trust me, there will be at least 5 great products that you can take home and or sell online with your online shop or on Amazon. So it is a definite recommendation to visit the shows in Hong Kong.