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Exhibiting: 9 Tips for Exhibiting in Shanghai

Once the financial center of the Far East. Today, Shanghai is the largest center of commerce and finance in mainland China, and has been described as the "showpiece" of the world's fastest-growing economy.

From PROPAK China, SemiCon China to IFAT China; this city is set to be the exposition hub of China. 

Some tips to take note of when exhibiting in Shanghai. 

1) Etiquette - Mianzi (face) is one of the most important Chinese courtesies. It is the worst thing for a Chinese to lose face. Insults, embarrassments might demean a chinese local. Neither try to prove someone wrong nor shout in public.   

2) Plan Early - Some of the good booth positions are taken up so fast at this regional shows, so book your place one year in advance. 

3) Ship early and use the show’s designated freight forwarder (or your preferred forwarder with special instructions provided by the show’s forwarder). Your shipment will not clear customs if the paperwork is not correct, so use a transportation company with experience at Shanghai trade shows. Be advised that experience in Hong Kong is not applicable, since the regulations are completely different. 

4) Carpeting - The standard exhibit carpet offered in China is called needle-punch carpet and is extremely thin. Request velour carpet and padding if you’d like something closer to what you’d get at a convention center in Europe or USA.

5) Performance bonds may be charged to exhibitors/ contractors in a form of a deposit. The amount is usually refunded back if rules from installation to dismantle are followed.

6) Don’t include anything political in your printed materials, or refer to Taiwan as a separate country. If anything is deemed damaging to China or inappropriate for the culture, it will be confiscated. 

7) Giveaways such as bells, clocks, sharp objects such as letter openers, and chrysanthemums (flower displays) are discouraged for cultural reasons. Bells are part of religious rites and clocks mean 'death' when translated in mandarin. Giveaways shipped into the country may be subject to a customs import tax. Send only small quantities and ensure the value is not too high. 

8) Local assistant or translator will help facilitate conversations and transactions. In Shanghai, Mandarin Chinese is the predominant language, but English is widely spoken at shows. Having a translator at your booth is necessary, preferably someone who knows your company, industry, and market. 

9) Business cards are advised to be printed in Chinese on one side and English on the other. Present cards with the Chinese side facing up.

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