First and foremost I must say sorry to you, dear Reader. I haven't given any news or posted anything in over a week. You guys deserve better. . . I've simply been busy planning. Since I'm in China it feels like days are going by without much happening, I don't feel as I'm getting done as much as I'd like to. I hope in 20 years if I'm asked what I've done with my life I won't look around and say "I don't know, it feels like it just slipped through my fingers." That would be a fail. Many people let life slip through their fingers. I thrive to grasp every moment of it.
So to put myself back on track, I decided to plan the layout of a typical day. It goes from waking up early to writing for this blog, so I will be posting on a much more regular basis, I promise! [Especially that I've received many encouragements & compliments which greatly motivates me to pursue. I have also just recently been featured on my university's website which is truly an honor. Thanks everyone!]
But there's also been some good stuff going on! From the 15th of October to the 4th of November is held the 118th Session of the China Import and Export Fair. Also called the Canton Fair, its first (out of three) phase spanned from the 15th to the 19th of this month. I applied for a (lifetime) buyers card online the 14th and went the next day to give it a go. At the registration desk I had to invent a company name and address as the girls were getting crazy on me. No joke. I was told many times how Chinese people would ask for photos before I got here. It's actually not something I've experienced much. I live near an international University with over 80 000 students and 3000 international students so they are pretty much used to seeing foreigners. But I guess at this place being very young & tall made it, not your typical buyer. I had no one to shoot a picture of the scene which probably would have not been relevant as the laughs, chatting and other emotions would not be transmitted. For sure the funnest moment of the fair. Now I know how it feels for Brad Pitt to walk up the red carpet of the "Festival de Cannes." For a few seconds at least.
Now to the fair. In one word: GIANT. It is held in Guangzhou at the China Import and Export Complex which offers a total exposition area of 1,100,000 M². As a comparison, Monaco is 2,020,000 M². Over half the size of Monaco, you got that right! The craziest part of this is that it is right in town, a few metro stations from where I live.
Each one of the three phases has its own set of products. For this one it went from housing materials to lighting equipment to industrial machinery and much more. With my few potentially disruptive ideas I roamed the alleys looking for more. I can only admit I was a bit disappointed by most of what I saw. I was expecting innovations with companies presenting their latest discoveries, saying "This is the new Thing mate! Time to invade your market with it". Not once was I surprised, like a feeling of déjà-vu. There wasn't much of a difference between the fair and walking around a hardware store. If at least they had a flagship product and were saying "Hey, this is our latest innovation!!" ; not even... On top of that, and perhaps that's what the targeted markets demand, things were too fancy-flashyLED-fromthe90s style. For instance check out these pictures.
Who wants those in their living room? Nobody I know of...
The main attraction of the whole fair seemed to be these sort of balance-yourself Segways. I tried one and it's quite hard, and even saw several people hit the ground as they gave it a go.
But once again, poorly manufactured plastic bits, too many flashy colors and full of LEDs or even horrendous music blasting from under. Where are the slick brushed aluminium ones? Not to be found. Maybe I'm too demanding...
There was an incredible amount of Indian and Middle-Eastern customers. Perhaps those are the markets for the "Look at me" products. Definitely not Europe. I did walk past a couple neat things but I often just felt there was no market for it. Take this "thing":
I had heaps of fun riding it around the alleys of the fair so I asked what the price was. $550. By the time you get this electric biky-whatever on any market, it'll be well over a $1000. That's a lot of money for a toy.
I did make a few good contacts though and the factories are nearby. Suiting up and going for a production line visit sounds like some fun. Maybe that'll be my plan for the week end. I'll keep you posted!