Food Fairs in China are canceled, what can businesses do?

Food fairs in China

China will soon become the largest importer of foreign products. There are great opportunities for both large companies and small businesses to export food products to China, especially since it is becoming increasingly online-based.

According to Daxue Consulting’s market research, the increase in demand for imported goods in China is not beyond that of a few factors. The driving factors for Chinese consumers involve quality, convenience, and experience. Consumers no longer hold the thought that foreign goods are only quality goods and take into consideration convenience and the experience they will gain from the product when selecting which imported goods they will buy. The variety and exoticness of imported food in China shows to be of growing importance within the food market because it provides a different experience for the consumer.

The food market in China seems to be a great opportunity for western brands, however, how can a brand find local distributors?

Thanks to food fairs companies can :

  • Use this event as a forum to deepen existing relationships and establish new networks
  • Find in-depth and comprehensive information about the latest developments, trends, products, and services.
  • Use the fair to show their products to an interested audience, and so to find new customers on the ever-growing Chinese market for organic foods.
  • Establish their products on the market and to make brands internationally known

However, due to the COVID-19, the situation has changed and many fairs and exhibitions have been postponed, therefore what can businesses do?

Read: Guide to Export Food to China

The next most important food fairs in China in 2020

According to the Fairtradedate website, the next food fairs appointments in China from June to October are:

  • ife – China International Food Exhibition (03-05 June 2020)

The China International Food Exhibition is a trade fair for food and one of the largest, most popular, and efficient events for the food industry. This exhibition is a communication and information platform in the industry and offers the exhibiting companies the opportunity to present to an audience of experts here. Visitors can find in-depth and comprehensive information here about the latest developments, trends, products, and services in various fields.

  • International Organic & Green Food Industry Expo (24-26 July 2020)

The International Organic & Green Food Industry Expo is one of the largest trade fairs for organic foods in Asia. It is an excellent platform for companies entering the Chinese market or wanting to expand their business. These companies can use the fair to show their products to an interested audience, and so to find new customers on the growing Chinese market for organic foods.

  • Food Expo (13-17 August 2020)

Food Expo that takes place annually at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, brings together gourmets from all over the world. It is aimed both at retailers, manufacturers,, and suppliers as well as the general public and is divided into two areas: the Trade Hall and the Public Hall. A comprehensive entertainment program with cooking shows of prominent chefs, tastings, award shows, etc. completes the culinary experience.

  • SIFCE (26-28 August 2020)

The – SIFCE – Shanghai International Frozen and Chilled Food Exposition is an international trade fair for frozen food where many exhibitors from home and abroad present products from all sectors of this industry. A wide variety of frozen and quick-frozen food products can be seen there and visitors can take an overview of the developments in the industry and learn about upcoming trends.

  • Seafood Expo Asia (01-03 September 2020)

The Seafood Expo Asia, known as the premium seafood marketplace for Asia, is a perfect platform for companies to meet qualified buyers involved in the Asian seafood market. The event attracts over 7,500 buyers and suppliers of fresh and frozen seafood products, equipment, and services from across the globe. The target visitor groups are importers, exporters, brokers, and traders, mainly employed at hotels, catering, and foodservice industries. In addition to the exhibition itself with its new product showcase, there is a series of onsite activities such as master classes, conference seminars, and culinary demonstrations. The event offers great opportunities for businessmen that want to break into the booming Asian seafood industry.

  • FMA CHINA (17-19 September 2020)

FMA China is an exhibition and conference on food, meat, aquatic products, dairy products, but also beverages, candies, and health food aimed at trade visitors. In addition, visitors will gain insight into packaging procedures and cold chain logistics. The exhibition sees itself as a sourcing event for owners of supermarkets, shops, restaurants, and internet services and as a platform for foreign companies to enter the Chinese market. For this purpose, it offers extensive opportunities to get information and to share knowledge, initiate business relationships, and enhance brand awareness.

  • Asia Fruit Logistica (23-25 September)

At Asia Fruit Logistica international companies and organizations from every sector of the trade present themselves and their new products and varieties. The trade fair gives a complete overview of the market. The focus on the fresh produce sector and the related value chain make the exhibition unique all over Asia. The trade fair also offers the opportunity to establish new business contacts as it brings together key players from all over the world. This makes the event highly valuable for visitors and exhibitors.

  • Fruit Expo (24-26 September 2020)

The Guangzhou International Fruit Expo is the one and only trade show held specifically for the fruit industry in South China. The offer ranges from fresh fruit, processed fruit, fruit processing equipment and technologies, cold chain and logistics, fruit growing, and post-harvest handling to fresh retail fruit and related technologies. The expo also comes up with live events, such as the World Fruit Expo Forum to exchange ideas with fruit insiders worldwide and the World Fruit Matchmaking Meeting.

  • SIAL China (28-30 September 2020)

SIAL China is an international trade fair for food and one of the largest fairs for Asian food in China. It takes place once a year in Shanghai and is authorized to trade visitors only. As a global business platform of the industry and as the leading event for the Chinese food market it offers national and international companies the opportunity to increase their awareness of the Chinese and Asian markets and to strengthen its international visibility. It offers the unique opportunity for meeting the market leaders of the food, beverage, and hospitality industry in China, for building up new contacts, and for finding new suppliers and business partners.

  • FBIE CHINA (20-22 October 2020)

Shanghai International Import and Export Food & beverage Exhibition, the Shanghai trade show of the food and beverage industry, will provide a communication platform for domestic and overseas companies involved in the import and export business of the food and beverage sector. Expansion-orientated Chinese suppliers promoting and showing their products will have the opportunity to establish business relationships even with overseas target buyers. Purchasers from abroad will have a good chance to get access to an upcoming market and to discover China as a new business partner by visiting the exhibition and attending the forums.

  • VeggieWorld (24-25 October 2020)

VeggieWorld is the largest international trade fair for the vegan lifestyle. It is above all a public fair but is also visited by trade visitors. The fair shows that a plant-based lifestyle is not only sustainable, conscious, and healthy but also fun. A colorful mix of milk and meat alternatives, superfood, sweets, drinks as well as clothing, accessories, cosmetics, services, and projects will be presented. The supporting program consists of lectures, cooking shows, and workshops and is free of charge for all visitors.

Use Lead Generation to attract Chinese Food distributors

Why is Lead Generation important when looking for chinese distributors?

In China, Lead generation can offer a huge competitive advantage to companies that understand how to include it within their marketing strategy. Lead Generation is the set of marketing actions that aim to acquire and generate interesting contacts.

Drawing up a list of contacts is possible through a careful lead generation strategy, which can use advertising and acquisition tools.

Online communication, on the other hand, has taken on an impressive dominance and is today one of the most powerful means of lead generation and conversion.

How a brand in the Food industry can acquire potential Food distributors in China?

To obtain the desired results from lead generation campaigns, it is necessary to use the most useful tools. In the digital world, we are talking about SEO, SEM, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Recommendations.

Baidu SEO & SEM Lead Generation

When food distributors want to find a new product to spread over the country and earn money on that, they go and search on Baidu. They have to find you there and get redirected to your website to see who you are and that you are worth it.

Baidu is definitely the search engine on which to aim to make yourself visible in the Chinese market. Therefore a Baidu SEO & SEM strategy should be adopted to acquire potential distributors.

There are a few basic rules you have to follow when constructing your website for the Chinese food distributors :

  • Your website should be translated into Chinese because Baidu gives greater visibility to sites that are written in Mandarin Chinese. This helps your website receive more traffic.
  • To ensure fast loading it must be hosted in China
  • The content should be localized
  • The website must also be adaptable to mobile phones
  • Through SEM it is possible to sponsor sites with targeted campaigns. In this way, your brand’s site will get a better online reputation, an increase in visitors and of course a higher market return.

Localized Content Marketing

Communicating with the Chinese implies several considerations. One of these is a cultural distance, which forces brands to rethink their content by aligning it with local ways of thinking. Content marketing is also important when trying to attract Chinese partners, as by getting closer to Chinese culture and their tastes you can show the brand value and increase the interest of potential partners.

For example, since the food market trends in China are changing and Chinese consumers have more time (and disposable income) to be concerned about their health, they pay more attention to healthy food products. Nestlé adapted its strategy to this new trend and based on research into traditional herbal medicine ingredients, in August Nestle rolled out new products in the Chinese market, smaller bottles of nutrient drinks made of herbal extractions from plants like pomegranate, loquat, and gouqi, or Chinese wolfberry.

Read: How to Localize your content for China?

China Social media marketing

Using social networks as part of a digital marketing strategy is always an excellent idea to attract and engage the chosen target, build relationships with followers, generate leads, retain customers, and maximize conversions. This applies indiscriminately to B2B and B2C companies.

WeChat and Weibo are the most popular Chinese social platforms and they have up to million users.

Therefore if a western company from the food industry wants to have access to that audience, it should open official accounts on these platforms.

The company might use these platforms for newsletters, promotions, later even for opening a store on WeChat maybe.

H5 Wechat Brochure: Necessary to Find a Chinese Food Distributor

A company can also have a WeChat e-brochure to introduce itself effectively. It is an electronic brochure that is easy to share on WeChat. It contains the listing of products (in Chinese).

Word of mouth

In China recommendations mostly come from locals because Chinese people mostly trust Chinese people. Word of mouth in China is the key, that’s why it is important a presence on Chinese forums and to do PR.

Reviews on Chinese forums

Opinions shared on forums have a big influence on the decisions that a Chinese person makes. They can spend hours and days checking the forums to decide who is good to cooperate with.

There are many designated forums in China and all of them are Chinese forums in the Mandarin language. The most useful forums are Zhihu and Baidu Zhidao.

Public Relations: Cost-Efficient Solution to Find Food Distributor in China

PR is one of the most cost-effective solutions in the Chinese market. It is a basic of marketing where the right people talk about you.

In China, E-reputation is key to success and PR is useful for increasing credibility within the food industry and increasing reputation. This is often done through influencer or better called KOLs connections and networking strategies.

China Business to distributors (B2D)

Distributors are a good option if they are capable of importing food products. Like that they can facilitate the process for you as you have to undergo a lot of examinations and government checks. Food import regulations are not easy to follow in China.

Food certification is rigorous in China. There are plenty of licenses and permits you will have to obtain, and a distributor might sometimes help with that.

If foreign brands cannot find quality distributors then it gets difficult to gain a return on investment.

Distributors are locals. They are trusted, they normally exist for a long time on the market, they are dealing with wholesalers, they have the right channels to sell your food. Of course, this relates to the “Right distributors”.


Through what options can the company find potential distributors?

Chinese Food Distributor are Searching Online

You can search for distributors online, but this can be a challenge. There are currently more than 85,000 distributors in China, to contact random distributors one by one can take a long time with a low success rate.

Don’t forget, you’ll increase the risk of coming across unreliable distributors, which is less likely if you find distributors that your partner has worked with previously.

Tmall B2D

Tmall B2D is a platform where you can connect with 85,000 Chinese distributors. Tmall B2D gives brands great visibility on the current market. It helps to:

  • connect brands and 85000 distributors
  • manage service and logistics
  • manage distributor
  • conduct secure payments

Any entrepreneur can choose his distributor on the Tmall app. However, it is not easy to choose the right distributor for you when one has no expertise of distributors in China and is not in China.

In addition, the platform is in Chinese, therefore it is better to be accompanied by professionals in this first step.

GMA could be your B2D partner

Finding the right distributor for the size of your company, your products, and your target clientele is not an easy task.

Fortunately, the Gentlemen marketing agency is very familiar with the Chinese e-commerce market and its players. Local distributors have no secrets for us. Our expertise allows us to support you in your search for the best distributor, we can take care of the entire process for your company.

gma agency

Do you want to know more about How to use digital marketing to increase your success in China? Contact GMA a digital marketing agency, specialized in the Chinese digital market.

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1 comment

  • Hello
    Usually we go to trade fair to get ressource from foreign products to China, but this year almost nobody.
    Please share with us your brand with potential.
    We are a distributor & importer of F&B brands

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