Part 1. Before you depart for the Taipei Cycle Show
The Taipei Cycle Show in March has long been the most important sourcing show on the international bike industry calendar. Taipei is where you’ll first see concepts, products trends and technologies, long before they are launched in full glory at Eurobike later in the year. It’s where sourcing and distribution partnerships are made (and broken) and where the backroom and bar room chatter reveals the machinations, rumours and insights circulating the global bike industry.
So, with the 2015 edition almost upon us, here’s the first part of my Top Ten Taipei Tips for visitors to the Taipei Cycle Show. This week’s Top Ten Tips is for before you depart;
- Book your appointments early; and I mean, if you haven’t made all your most important meeting appointments by the time you read this; stop what you’re doing right now and sort it out. You may already be too late and be forced to pick from difficult times on super busy days.
- Organise your key meetings at the start of the day; and certainly in the first two days of the show. Most key meetings require at least one or two follow ups, so leave yourself time and opportunity to do just that. Note that many of the company principals and key people may only be present at the show for the first day or two. Also, be aware that your day will get away from you. Hence meetings towards the end of the day can often end up happening in the taxi queue out the front of the Nangang Hall, on the bus back to the hotel, or over dumplings later that night. Not the most productive or private of places to talk business.
- Do your homework and go with a plan; this year there are over 1100 exhibitors across 3300 booths, spread over multiple floors in two venues, covering 58,000 sq.m. Don’t just turn up and expect to happen upon the booths and products you were hoping to see. Note and map the locations of your meetings and priority products in both your written notes and devices. Leave the browsing until you have free time. Do your research and go with a mission and you will have a more productive and successful Taipei show.
- Avoid the huge opening day queues and pre-register on the tapeicycle.com.tw website before you leave home. As long as you’re staying at one of the TAITRA affiliated hotels, they will have your pass, show programme and other materials, waiting for you when you check in. Otherwise you can collect them in the Nangang foyer.
- Stay at one of the TAITRA affiliated hotels. Not only will your show passes and info be waiting for you there, but so too will be the buses to take you to and from the show each day, plus many of your fellow delegates and exhibitors. Many of your impromptu meetings or follow ups might end up happening over breakfast or a drink in the hotel bar later on. Plus TAITRA often has special rates and arrangements with these hotels; just ask. I even got a free room one year.
- Make sure you have a driver organised; believe me, you don’t want to arrive at the Taoyuan International Airport and not have a driver waiting. Your hotel can organise this for you. Make sure they spell your name right though; I’ve seen some hilarious interpretations of my name in the arrivals hall and almost missed my driver as a result.
- Download the Taipei Cycle Show App to your phone. You’ll find it on the ‘APP’ tab at the top of taipeicycle.com.tw home page. It’s a really useful resource before and during the show. It’s also a lot easier to access information when you’re walking around, than trying to thumb through printed programmes.
- Learn some basic Chinese. I’ve always found the Taiwanese to be super friendly and welcoming, but it’s always good to have a few words to break the ice with frowning customs officials, police, taxi drivers or managers of restaurants you were hoping to get in to.
- Hello – ‘Ni hao’; pronounced ‘nee-how’
- How are you? – ‘Ni hao ma’; pronounced ‘nee-how-ma’
- Goodbye – ‘Zai jian’; pronounced ‘Zye Jee-an’ or my favourite, the Taiwanese ‘Bai bai la’, pronounced as it looks; because it’s based directly on the English expression.
- Thankyou – ‘Xie xie’; pronounced ‘shyeh shyeh’.
- I am Australian – ‘Wo shi Aodaliya ren’; pronounced ‘Wore sher Ow-dar-leeya ren’. Maybe pick your moment to use this one though folks.
- Take a trolley bag! Your physio or chiropractor will hate me for making this point. The trolley bag is standard for anyone who regularly attends trade shows; but for those who might be heading to Taipei Cycle for the first time, do not think for a minute that you’ll be OK with a backpack, shoulder bag, or anything else not on wheels. Trust me on this one. And remember to empty it out each night in your hotel room and sort through what you really want to keep and what you don’t unless you love excess baggage charges.
- Don’t forget the koalas. Everyone loves a gift at the best of times. But turning up to a meeting in Taipei with little stuffed koalas, wombats or kangaroos will prove a winner every time. You will be friends for life, believe me. For those of you not from Australia, I’m sure you have equivalent gifts and trinkets you can bring to help win over your new potential trading partners, or maybe a room upgrade with the nice folk at the hotel reception.
Maybe you have some top tips of your own? Be sure to pass them on through the comments section. Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of my Top Ten Taipei Tips; for a successful day at the Show.