What is the Biggest Red Flag When Looking for the Right Type of Supplier at a Trade Show?

Today’s blog post, I will expose how two very common scams can unfold when you are doing business in China.  While both these scams have been around for over a decade, in the past few years the number of victims has increased dramatically. 

Biggest Red Flag

1.) Wide Product Range


Probably one of the biggest red flags that I find when visiting these trade shows is that the seller’s booth has a wide range of products.  I’ve gone into trade shows where the seller has stuffed toys and electronics, and they’re trying to tell me that they’re the factory, and they make both.  Maybe it’s a corporation that has many different production methods, but it’s unlikely that the one factory in the same building is going to make stuffed toys and electronics. 

The production methodology, the raw materials, the skillset for the employees, it just doesn't match up.  So most likely, the representatives at the booth are perhaps agents for one or both of the products.  So if you see a wide range of products, that’s a red flag when you’re visiting trade shows that they’re probably not a qualified factory.


2.) Poor Connection

Another red flag is poor communication.  If you’re at the trade show and you’re having trouble communicating, don’t think that things are going to get better after the show.  Most of these exhibitors at the trade show send their staff who have the most experience dealing with foreigners. 

They take the person in their office with the best English skills, put them on the plane to go to a trade show.  If you’re having communication problems with their best English speaker, imagine what’s going to happen after you start production and that person is no longer around, and you’ve got to deal with engineers.  So don't expect better communication after the show.  

Stay tuned because, in the next post, I am going to share with you the common mistakes and will offer some tips for making the most out of a trade show visit and a factory visit

ABL Blog: Sr. Editor and Primary Content Creator:  Michael J. Bellamy

About the Author: Michael J. Bellamy

Originally from Upstate New York, Mike moved to Asia in 1993 and is a China business advisor to both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.  Recognized as an expert on doing business in China, he has been interviewed by WSJ, CNBC, FT & Bloomberg.

A featured presenter on China issues at seminars, trade shows and corporate events across the globe.

Learn more about Mike and AsiaBridge Law at

Mike is the author of “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing
(available on Amazon).

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