Trade shows are an unavoidable part of Business to Business selling. To be honest, in a lot of ways they are kind of a waste. Once you’re established as a brand and have a semi-competent sales team, your customers are pretty much aware of what it is that you’re doing, and you can inform them of any updates as you go along.
But there is a pretty big market that revolves around B2B shows, and there is always the fear that if you pull out then your customers will assume that you’ve gone bankrupt and will stop buying your wares. And, in some ways, it’s true – I know that the lack of a booth (or a lacklustre one) usually was a good indicator that a particular company was failing or about to be acquired.
In shows in the west, there is a general code of ethics when it comes to the shows. Since I work in broadcast and entertainment there are usually a lot of speaker or lighting manufacturers. And, if you’re trying to show off, you want to blast those suckers at full power. So to prevent everyone going deaf and blind, there are usually areas that are cornered off to allow for manufacturers to show off, but on the inside booths you need to behave.
Not so in China.
The rules, if there are any, don’t seem to hold much sway. It’s a constant assault on your senses. But there is something else that is almost comical, which is the blatant ripping off of established brands. I can kind of understand this in a consumer market; a brand that is “close enough” for a commodity will probably get you far enough in life, but when you’re talking about buying things professionally, you would think that you would least have researched enough to understand what you are buying.
To put it another way, you might be confused if you saw “Calgate” toothpaste in a shop, and you might buy it.
But if you’re going to buy an audio mixer, you’re either going to buy the cheapest one out there, or you’re going to have done enough research to know what the brands actually are (and not be confused).
But there is a whole floor of these trade shows (and they already rival the mega-shows like NAB or ISE in Vegas or Amsterdam, respectively) dedicated to these “rip-off” brands.
I can understand the rationale; the “real” brand has already spent the time and money to build up their brand, and you’re hoping that you’ll catch someone’s eye by being close enough.
That being said, the lighting hall was amazing. Without the usual requirements for laser safety, they could put on some mean lighting shows.