Visiting your Chinese business partners once or twice a year is essential for a successful import from China.
As already pointed out in our eBook How To Attend Chinese Trade Fairs More Effectively, regular business trips to China are essential to maintaining a good relationship wit existing suppliers and building new ones. Chinese culture favors frequent personal contact with their overseas trading partners and meetings at their office or factory is one preferred method.
You have to make following arrangements at an early stage to make your intended business trip to China smooth and successful.
- Hotel bookings
- Visa application
- Flight bookings
- Book appointments with key suppliers
- Plan to visit one or more trade fairs in China
- Plan to visit some of your supplier factories
Therefore each trip has to be carefully planned because poor preparations diminish your success and influence your achievable profit negatively. It may seem to you that your schedule becomes too tight, but with a good planning you will manage it. However, no matter how hard you try to reduce your expenses, you will still end up spending more than you planned during your business trip in China. Therefore it is necessary to make the most of your trip.
Since most of the important Chinese trade fairs are scheduled for April and October respectively, your schedule is automatically pegged to these periods.
You will have the advantage that most suppliers are available for meetings with you then, as long as you make your appointments early enough.
Unfortunately hotels and flights are usually fully booked (the occupancy rates of some major hotels in Hong Kong nowadays are close to 80% during the peak season) and on top you have to pay much higher room rates and air fares than during the off-peak period. In China it is common that the room rates at the hotels surrounding the exhibition centers double during that time and even in Hong Kong you can expect to pay at least 20-30% more.
… The inconvenience of having a longer travel time to the exhibitions is compensated by more affordable rates …
You can compensate for the higher room rates by booking hotels which are further away from the main business hotel areas and the exhibition center. The inconvenience of having a longer travel time to the exhibitions is compensated by more affordable rates.
There are of course substantial differences between Mainland China hotels and hotels in Hong Kong. If you want to visit some of your factories outside the great cities in China, it may be necessary to stay overnight at a nearby hotel.
Travel agents are usually not familiar with all locations in China and we have always asked our suppliers to book a hotel for us. You do not need to worry about the quality of the hotel. Your suppliers usually will choose a hotel which is acceptable by foreigners disregarding whether it is a four or five star hotel.We have never been disappointed and even received better room rates because the factories have some corporate rates with the hotel.
In Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Ningbo and other larger cities, you can get better room rates at your hotel, when you have a proven track record of a certain number of room nights per year. It is worth to bargain for it because the hotels seldom offer them voluntarily. It makes also therefore sense to stick with your hotel if the service was acceptable for you.
Our eBook will give you an easy to follow guideline, based on our long import export experience in China, how to prepare China business trips more effectively and most importantly how to reduce your cost.