Calmness in crisis serves firms well
Adsale Exhibition Services owes much of its current success in holding exhibitions in China to the way it handled the Tiananmen crisis in June 1989, according to manager Tong Kam-shing.
'After June 4, nearly all the other show organisers withdrew from the China exhibition scene. They either postponed or cancelled the shows they had planned. But we, basically, maintained our full programme.
'It showed we knew how to conduct business in China. Our Shanghai textile show was due to be held on June 15. We postponed it, but only for a month. Of the 350 foreign compannies we had lined up to attend, we only lost nine.
'We only had a month to contact all the visitors around China and, in the end, we had about 100,000 visitors, half from parts of China other than Shanghai.' The show resulted in transactions worth about US$20 million and over half the machinery on display was sold on the spot.
'In China, there are always a lot of unexpected things, so the ability to handle sudden changes or difficult situations is a must for an organiser.' As its name suggest, Adsale began as a media representative company in 1977. In 1981, management saw the economic door in China as an opening for exhibitions which could bring together foreign suppliers and Chinese customers.
'We started organising China shows in 1981-82, but our real break camein 1983-84 when we first started shows in areas like Shanghai. We moved to Beijing in 1986 and, since then, we have organised shows allover China, mainly in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
'This form of promotion has proved useful because, in China, a lot of people take the attitude that seeing is believing. Communication with foreigners has always been difficult so, if they are given the chance to meet, they can ask their questions.
'Sometimes the equipment might be so new that it is difficult to present on a piece of paper. The best way to understand it is to demonstrate it.' Apart from EP China, Adsale's main shows are Auto China for the motor industry, Shanghai Tex for the textile machinery industry, China Plas for the plastics industry, CTC for the building and construction industries and another for wood-working machinery.