Trade Fair Lessons

In Mai 2017, a group of 20 executives from China arrived in Germany to take part in the Manager Training Programme. On May 10, they visited the world’s largest packaging sector trade fair, the Interpack in Dusseldorf, a key event for a range of different industries. Participants prepared for the fair, completing a “How to Do Business” seminar the day before to learn how to take advantage of the exhibition, and establish contact with new business partners. Interpack offers a Chinese-language version of its website, very helpful here since this particular MP was conducted entirely in Chinese. Two advisors accompanied the Chinese entrepreneurs from Beijing to assist with any language issues, primarily during their downtime in Germany.

One trainer and a number of interpreters accompanied the group to the exhibition, where exhibitors with a focus on Industry 4.0 and robot technology were of particular interest. Many German firms extended a warm welcome to their Chinese visitors, and were more than happy to demonstrate their products and comprehensively answer questions about business with China and pricing. One stand featured hoisting technology that allows heavy items to be lifted without back strain. Quite a few participants expressed interest in purchasing the hoisting machines, a useful option for many different sectors.

At the Multivac booth, the head of Asian Exports and his Chinese assistant demonstrated their highly automated systems and explained how beneficial the trade fair was in generating new business. They responded to enquiries regarding pricing calculations for the machines in great detail. The response was enthusiastic, and the company representatives plan to contact participants who expressed concrete interest.

In the afternoon, the Chinese executives were free to visit previously selected booths alone or in groups. Interpreters helped them converse with the exhibitors. Some of these interactions proved very fruitful, and participants dicovered some very interesting machines.

In their feedback on the exhibition, participants reported that they had established contact with potential new business partners, and also recognised the cultural differences between the European and Asian exhibitors they had learned about during the preparatory seminar. The seminar had also addressed booth set-up and design, and participants were able to recognize attractive booths and welcoming designs at the Interpack. Many managers confirmed that this visit was very helpful, and some were already planning their own booths for international exhibits in future.

By Johanna Lange
Carl Duisberg Centres, Cologne