Now entering its 24th year, FHC has become one of China’s leading trade shows, involving both local and international importers, distributors, retailers and service professionals to meet and connect with suppliers from around the world. Though the majority exhibit to reach Chinese decision-makers, an increasing number look to find clients in other markets, too.
If you’re expanding your business into China, the FHC exhibition is the ideal opportunity to find new business partners and shape the future of your brand in the Chinese food, drink and hospitality markets, which are growing at unprecedented rates.
Indeed, China's hotel sector has enjoyed meteoric growth, now a $44 billion business, whilst revenue in the food and beverage market will reach US$22,102m in 2019, a figure that will balloon to US$37,033m by 2023. Tapping into the sector could be huge for your UK brand.
Below, we’ve put together some of the reasons why you should attend this year’s exhibition.
Many success stories
Last year, Zudu represented Keith Brewery’s Snake Venom at FHC 2018, helping the brand to identify new sales channels and distributors across the hospitality sector. Italian brand Latteria Sorrentina also attended last year’s event, which not only allowed the firm to explore the Chinese market but cast their eyes on markets in neighbouring countries, such as Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. In the same period, exports from Italy to China grew by 3.7%, with a turnover of 381 million euros, so the exhibition provided an excellent opportunity for the company to build contacts and establish Latteria Sorrentina as a go-to brand in hospitality.
Food and drink-focused event
Unlike some other trade shows and exhibitions, FHC focuses exclusively on food, drink, hospitality, food service, bakery and retail industries, consolidating buyers into one room and making it easier to establish genuine leads and business contacts. Having said that, FHC attracts businesses from a broad range of industries, including equipment, frozen food, alcohol, snack foods, bakery products, meat, seafood, poultry, tea and coffee, fresh produce, technology, supplier chain, service and more, so there are many opportunities to stand out.
Last year, more than 3,000 companies from around the world exhibited at FHC, making it an event not to be missed in the growing sector - not only for Chinese brands but for companies around the world looking for the next-big-thing. Granted, that does mean that you will need to work harder to persuade decision-makers to stop by your stall and discuss the merits of your products and services, but with tens of thousands of visitors (last year, more than 118,274 attended) you’ll have no problem in raising awareness of your brand and securing contacts.
Bridging the gap between business cultures
As a business owner, promoting your products and services to Chinese decision-makers can be tough - especially when you’re halfway around the world. WeChat and Weibo are enough to target consumers, but a face to face approach is essential when meeting with buyers. By exhibiting at FHC and working with a local partner or translator, you’ll be able to ‘bridge the gap’ between business cultures, meet potential customers face to face, and understand their wants and challenges, and demonstrate the value and appeal of your products and services.
No other exhibition allows you to present your products and services to more than 100,000 professionals in the food and beverage industry. Of course, the vast majority of attendees won’t be interested in what you have to offer, and many will not even pass by your stall, but even if you expose your brand to just 1% of attendees, that’s 1,000 leads to follow up on when you return home. FHC offers exclusive access to a powerful combination of buyers, leaders, and innovators from China and around the world, so exploit every available avenue.
16% of attendees are purchasing buyers, 15% work in the food and beverage industry, 13% work in sales and marketing, 11% are traders, and 15% fall into the owner/CEO category. Manufacturers, chefs, housekeepers, leisure bosses and new media make up the rest.
Generates media attention
Some companies build a Chinese website and hand over their marketing to a local expert, hoping for sales and meetings overnight. But having a presence on the ground is critical if you want to be taken seriously by leaders in the Chinese food and hospitality sector, so we recommend attending exhibitions and spreading the word about your business as regularly as possible. FHC is one of the biggest events in the sector, so is a great place to start.
Attending events and exhibitions not only allows you to mingle with other businesses and visitors but offers opportunities to share your journey on social media, write press releases, build your following on WeChat, Weibo and Little Red Book and piggyback off the success of the event overall. Even if you don’t generate as many leads as you’d have hoped, attending at all gives you an edge over your competitors and builds brand recognition, and you’ll likely be featured in news outlets and social media posts offering you some free Chinese PR.
Find Key Opinion Leaders
FHC is a great opportunity to target KOLs within the food and drink sector, exposing your products and services to people who matter. Offer samples, run taste tests and add some excitement to your pitch and you’ll naturally have buyers and the public flocking to your stand. Be creative and encourage sharing to get more value from your presentation. Handing out freebies and branded merchandise will also increase the likelihood of influencers writing about you online, but make sure your social handles are easy to find using QR codes.
FHC is about much more than the daytime exhibition - you’ll likely be invited to lots of events such as forums, matchmaking, product demonstrations, and evening socials. Even if you’re tired after a day shouting about your brand, go along to these events to mingle with potential buyers and business contacts; you’ll be surprised at just how many doors they could open.
If you’re celebrating a product launch or your Chinese expansion, consider hosting your own event during FHC, as we did for Keith Brewery’s Snake Venom. With thousands of KOLs in Shanghai for the three-day event, you’ll have no problem getting bums on seats and building an event that speaks to your audience. Such events can be targeted towards building brand awareness and attracting partners - they look great on social media and your website, too!
Zudu China can help
We can’t wait to return to the Food & Hotel China exhibition in Shanghai this November. If you’re a UK brand considering exhibiting, get in touch with Zuud China today. Not only do we offer the opportunity to consolidate costs with other Scottish companies, but we can host private offline events for your brand, assist with exhibition translation and support, create Chinese-language promotional materials such as roller banners and business cards, and set up and manage your WeChat account to maximise your exposure and increase your leads.
To find out more, click here to drop us a message or give us a call on 01382 690 080 today.