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On the Ground Look into China’s Economic Rebound

With China recently becoming the first major economy to return to growth following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign-owned companies from across the globe are looking to their China operations to drive revenue during the second half of what has been a difficult 2020.

While many parts of the world are still relegated to sales calls by Zoom, Google Hangouts and other online platforms, China’s recent opening of large scale trade shows for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the strongest signs yet of a return to normalcy in business.

In the last two weeks, PRI’s team visited two major trade show events in China: the China International Building Decoration Fair in Guangzhou and TCT Asia 2020, a 3D printing and additive manufacturing exhibition in Shanghai.

Here are a few lessons learned.

Demand Remains High for In-Person Networking and Sales

There is only so much you can do online.

This holds especially true for industries where it is really helpful to touch, see, and interact with the products.

By our estimates, both of the recent China International Building Decoration Fair and TCT Asia 2020 (3D printing) were as well, if not better attended than their 2019 editions. At both shows, participants and exhibitors were eager to engage in conversations and were looking to generate business.

There is a long list of conventions and trade shows scheduled for the rest of the 2020 calendar year in China, representing opportunity for those well positioned to capitalize.

On the Ground Presence is Key for Sales and Sourcing

At first glance, the trade shows of the “COVID-19 era” in China look very much like they did prior to the start of the pandemic. At the TCT Asia 2020 show, for example, 210 exhibitors filled two large exhibition halls of the Shanghai New International Expo Center.

It was clear from talking with the exhibitors, however, that there were far fewer foreign companies showing their products. We learned that with the current entry restrictions into China for foreign nationals prohibiting the travel of the sales team from headquarters, many foreign companies were unable to exhibit at the show.

The foreign companies with a strong on the ground presence in China, however, are well positioned to take advantage of this unique situation. The most popular booths at the TCT Asia 2020 show, for example, were those of foreign 3D printing manufacturers that had a strong and knowledgeable local team leading the way.

Rule Out Short Business Trips to China

With the borders closed to most foreigners and a 14-day mandatory quarantine in line for those who are allowed in, short business trips to China for foreign-based executives are unlikely to be possible in 2020 – and perhaps well into 2021.

The days of flying your staff from headquarters to China for one or two week trips to make sales calls, source new parts or check on the operations of your contract manufacturer will likely not be feasible for some time.

How PRI Can Help

Other than a handful of PRI people outside of China at the moment, we’ve got our full staff on the ground. For those who cannot travel to China and are needing some assistance, we are able to help you with onsite engineering, sourcing, and support throughout the country.


PRI has an extensive sales network in dozens of industries throughout China and has a strong track-record of helping international clients achieve significant sales growth. PRI provides clients with “hunters” that will help you break into the China market and provides fully managed solutions to build the sales and marketing teams you need to remain close to your customers and accelerate growth.


With experience and resources in dozens of industries in China, PRI can unlock the doors to China’s vast supply chain resources. We help our clients access high-quality, efficient, and cost-effective supply chain solutions. Whether you need full-time sourcing engineers, help with a one-off project, or local currency purchasing power, we can help you achieve your goals. PRI maintains an extensive network of supply chain resources in industries such as Aerospace, Automotive, Medical Device, Telecommunications, Specialty Chemicals, Heating & Combustion, Sensors, Consumer Device, Home Equipment, Factory Automation, Oil & Gas, Power Generation, and more.

Onsite Management

PRI has experience managing overall operations with full P&L responsibility on behalf of owners as well as managing specific outsourced business functions such as HR, strategic sourcing, sales, engineering and facility improvements. PRI has provided fully managed turn-key solutions to more than 40 companies to startup and/or mange operations throughout China, including serving as Interim General Managers.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

To set up a free consultation on your specific China needs with our US and China-based teams, email Jonathan Kendrick at or contact us on our social media pages – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.


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