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My China Trade Show Experience Looking for Manufacturers

Should you attend a China trade show in 2020 like the Canton Fair or Global Sources Summit?

If you've ever considered going, I absolutely think you should take a chance and go!

I believe the experiences are invaluable for many reasons.

I'll share with you my opinion on both of the above-mentioned trade shows as well as my personal experience.

If you are a beginner or even super-advanced, I really believe it is advantageous for sellers to make the trip to China. I was able to learn so much faster and got invaluable insight on my trip.

If you're sourcing your products from China, you should definitely go and see how the entire supply chain process works.

Learn how the factories operate. Go and meet with good factories and the bad factories to learn what makes them different.

I'll go over the whole process of going to China for trade shows and why I really believe all serious sellers should go.

Not only have I gone in an Amazon seller capacity to master the sourcing process from China, but I've also had the privilege to be a keynote speaker at the Global Sources Summit.

You can watch my presentation at the end of this article.


For anyone looking to check out the Global Sources Summit 2020 in Hong Kong here is a discount code for the ticket.

Use Code JB100 to get $100 Off Join before Feb. 15 to save additional $200 and hotel sponsorship!
Get Deal Expiry:  

Global Sources Summit 2020

Date: April 27-29, 2020

Venue: AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong

Description: Global Sources Summit is a 3-day conference for global Amazon and eCommerce sellers sourcing private label products from Asia. The event has been held twice a year every April and October since 2016 and is co-located with Global Sources Lifestyle and Fashion sourcing trade shows. With 20+ speakers from around the world delivering actionable content, the Summit helps attendees scale their business and stay up-to-date with the latest e-commerce and sourcing strategies.

Global Sources Summit is the only eCommerce conference that's co-located with a sourcing trade show so attendees can also meet with thousands of Asian suppliers at the same time.

With 20+ speakers from around the world delivering actionable content, the Summit helps attendees scale their business and stay up-to-date with the latest e-commerce and sourcing strategies.

china trade show global sources summit 2020


Private Labeling Advice For Beginners

Let me first explain why I think it's invaluable for beginners to attend trade shows in China. I've made millions private labeling on Amazon and as a result, learned a few important insights.

Just going to China in person, you can basically learn the entire process of private labeling up close and in-depth.

Here is how the typical private label process goes. You'll find a product on Amazon, ; then you go and find suppliers for the product. For most people, this means going on Alibaba.

Once on Alibaba, you're trying to weed out and find various suppliers who can meet your product needs. You're trying to find and identify which suppliers are quality and which ones are not.

You're sending out many messages back and forth and hoping suppliers take you seriously.

This process can be really tough. You're staying up most nights until 3:00 AM on Skype because of the time difference communicating with suppliers.

I know first hand how frustrating this process can be.

You then have to go back and forth getting samples, making necessary alterations and then choosing the more iterations in hopes of meeting the quality standards that will ensure you succeed once the product is brought to market.

This feedback loop can take several weeks, if not months for some products.

Whereas if you go to China and attend the trade shows, you can shortcut this process in one day.

The best way I've found from experience is going to trade shows such as the Global Sources Summit.

When I started selling private label and part of why I was so successful is I decided early that I will go all in and take the extra steps most other sellers weren't willing to.

I did my research ahead of time and while I did some of that research online, I knew I just need to go directly to the source of these products in person and go all in!

As a result, I found that was the best and fastest way to learn the sourcing process A through Z.

Learn By Immersion

I believe the fastest way to learn just about anything in life is by total immersion.

If you want to learn to swim, you don't go and practice two or three times a week, read some podcasts or blogs on swimming.

That's not how you succeed. You get in the pool and swim for six to ten hours a day! By spending all your time in the water, not only will you get real comfortable by immersing yourself but as with anything in business or life - you will figure it out!

You often hear stories of people who go from being completely afraid of water to swimming out in open water and doing ironmans and becoming triathletes because they chose to learn by immersion not theory.

This is the route I choose with selling on Amazon and in part why I became successful. I failed quickly, learned even quicker and reached my goals as fast as possible.

When it came to going to trade shows, I followed the concept and more importantly I TOOK ACTION. I didn't how to do it initially but I just flew to China, went to the Canton Fair and Global Sources Summit and I figured it out.

Benefits of Attending Trade Shows In China

china trade show benefits of trade shows

Product Research

Imagine the contrast between doing product research for Amazon from behind the screen or in person. Sitting online and doing research on who to contact about what can get overwhelming.

When you are at a trade show in person, the products are getting served to you. You get instant feedback and all you're questions answered right then and there which will save you a ton of time.

More importantly, you can touch and see the product so you can sure of the quality and capabilities of suppliers.

Instant Communication With Suppliers

You don't have to sit up late at night to catch suppliers in China during their business hours. No sitting around waiting for messages and replies, simply pick up a product and ask how much is it?

Weed Out Bullshit Pricing

When suppliers see you at trade shows, they think you are a serious seller and will treat you as they do their big-time clients. They know you're not going to waste their time so they won't waste yours.

This also means you'll get pretty accurate and favorable pricing for products.

Keep in mind, this doesn't mean it's often their absolute best prices - there is still room. In China, you're expected to negotiate on prices, it part of their business culture.

Being at trade shows in person, allows you to make instant pricing decisions once suppliers provide you their best pricing.

This experience is nothing like buying products through Alibaba.

On Alibaba, every supplier has different pricing and MOQs even if they have the exact same pricing.

In fact, suppliers will often put a lower price on purpose in hopes that you will message them and once you do, they will message you back with higher prices.

For new sellers, it's hard to be aware of these little tactics suppliers use and all this back and forth can often be discouraging.

Being at trade shows will save you time on communication and also help you weed out overpriced suppliers.

Find Quality Suppliers

china trade show find quality suppliers


Trade shows by default are a filtering process to identify quality suppliers.

These companies pay $5,000 - $10,000 or even more to spots in these trade shows. On top of that, they also show documentation ensuring they are legitimate companies.

Trade shows are only as good as their reputation. They don't want to bring a bunch of scammers and will do everything they can to make sure you're in a safe business environment.

By going to trade shows, you're going to save in every aspect.

These meetups are a great feedback loop for sellers at every seller of their career. After all, if you're going to learn anything, it really just comes down to getting a feedback loop of information and experiences.

The longer the feedback loop, the more likely you are to get distracted and make error-prone decisions. Whether you're doing private label or any other business you'll have a thousand things and ideas competing for your time. The tighter you make your feedback loop, the better your outcome will be.

At tradeshows, you can see what suppliers have to offer and right then and there identify parts that you would want to fix or alter on the products.

You can do quality research and validate if products have the potential to make you money with little time invested.

Furthermore, through communication in person, you'll develop relationships with suppliers. You should know suppliers in China and their culture, in general, are big on relationships.

This process will also make it easier for you to vet who you are dealing with by checking out their factories and their capacity.

Showing up to trade shows and showing suppliers you are serious will undoubtedly benefit you in many ways and really the best way to get things done.

Access To Many Suppliers Not On Alibaba

What manufacturers have realized over time is that a lot of bigger and serious players in the U.S. are not using Alibaba to find their suppliers. They go to trade shows or have purchasing agents.

Some of the more advanced and more quality suppliers have also realized that they don't want to deal with beginners. They know from experience dealing with beginners often comes with more hiccups and require either training, or their order quantities are often small.

Going to China will not only allow you the best chance at finding quality products but that experience will also give you momentum into getting more advanced with your selling career.

You Will Meet Other Like-Minded Sellers

china trade show like-minded sellers


Sellers just like you will be working all day and going to meetups. For example, if you end up going to the Canton Fair, Chris Davie has a really good meetup.

I met a bunch of people and even my mentor as these meetups. It was at a meetup that I actually got invited to speak at the Global Sources Summit.

I really advise sellers to go to trade shows and meetups. We're extremely affected by the people that we surround ourselves with and like-minded sellers will have a positive impact on your career.

You'll be in an environment where you can instant feedback loop. You can learn quickly, cut out all the BS you typically encounter from behind the screen, and find sellers on the same journey as you to keep you motivated.

If your goal is to be successful and thrive, I really can't think of a better scenario.

This exactly what I did for my first time. I knew about private label and the process but it was taking the leap of faith and going in person to China that allowed me to put it all together so quickly.

Not everything worked perfectly on the first trip but I learned so much.

I saw exactly how everything worked, what the factories look like and how to properly inspect the factory. All by my self, I went pretending I already had a multi-million dollar business when I had nothing.

They believed me because I took action and showed up and it worked.

You've got to manifest things in life and I eventually did. I made over $6 million private labeling in part due to the knowledge I gained from this experience.

My Accommodation and Transportation Experience

If you are serious about your success, I really suggest you go. It's not that expensive and the experience is invaluable.

If you do it right, you can get like a $700 round trip and find AirBnB's for around $40-$50 a night. You can take one of these trips with about a budget of $1,500 - $2,000.

Keep in mind, if you're going to the Canton Fair, you've got to get a Chinese Visa. This will take some time and extra money so plan ahead.

If you go to Global Sources Summit, because it's in Hong Kong you don't need a visa.

I'm a believer in going to where ever your suppliers are. Talk to them, establish relationships, get instant feedback.

From experience, I can tell you it's going to your business and you a better-equipped business person for success.

I honestly believe that the fastest route to your success to learn by total immersion in whatever line of business you're in. Increase your results by going to trade shows and events in person.

Use Code JB100 to get $100 Off Reserve Your Ticket at Global Sources Summit 2020!
Get Ticket Expiry:  


Check out my presentation at the Global Sources Summit.


Canton Fair China Trade Show 2020

If you are looking to attend the Canton Fair China Export and Import in 2020, here are the dates.

Spring Phase 1 Dates
Phase 1 focuses on electronics & industrial products April 15 to April 19
Spring Phase 2 Dates
Phase 2 focuses on consumer goods & home products April 23 to April 27
Spring Phase 2 Dates
Phase 3 focuses on clothing & footwear products May 1 to May 05
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