Part 2. For a successful day at the Taipei Cycle Show.
Well, it’s almost Taipei Cycle Show-time. Hopefully you’ve already read the first part in my Top Ten Taipei Tips guide and you’re ready to fly. Here’s my second edition, for a successful day at the Show.
- Get a head start on the masses. The show opens at 9am, but get there earlier so you can have a coffee and pastry at ‘Mr Brown’ before the queues get lengthy (which they will) or maybe even host your first meeting over breakfast.
- Plan your exit. If you’re planning to head back to your hotel from the show, make sure you’re booked on one of the hotel shuttle buses, as they fill up fast (book with the concierge the day before). If you’re heading off somewhere else, ask the staff at the Nangang Exhibition Centre to help you pre-book a taxi and jump the queues. Otherwise, take advantage of Taipei’s excellent and affordable MRT (Metro) system. There’s a direct elevator access to the Wenhu and Bannan lines on the south side of the Nangang TWTC building.
- Don’t rely on the Wi-Fi. You can tell when everyone’s arrived at the halls because the TWTC Wi-Fi slows right down or stops working altogether. You’ll be able to spot the folk using it by the pained expressions on their faces. Purchase a SIM card with data when you arrive in Taipei and save your sanity (and money).
- Have plenty of business cards on you at all times. The exchange of business cards has long been an important part of the Asian business culture and is much a show of mutual respect as anything. It might be seen as overly formal in some parts of the world these days, but in Taipei, it’s a simple way to show you are polite and mean business. You will also be asked for your business card by the local Taiwanese staff when you turn up for your meetings.
- Dress incognito. Unless you happen to be working on one of the booths, it’s always smart to not be easily identifiable. As well as meeting with your existing partners, you’ll probably want to take a peek at the opposition or potential new partners. Walking around with your company or brand logos on your shirt makes that a potentially awkward exercise.
- Always keep your work head on. Pretty much the whole cycling industry is in town for the Taipei Show. So it’s not just the halls where opportunities arise or deals are done. You just might end up doing the deal of the century over some Taiwanese beef rolls and a Takau Golden Ale or three.
- Remember that the walls have ears. The amount of errant intel and useful competitor insights I’ve picked up whilst queuing in the toilets or on the shuttle bus always amazes me. And that sensitive meeting you’re having might be within the confines of your supplier’s booth, but it’s also likely to have someone on the other side of that thin partition wall whom you’d rather not be hearing your negotiations.
- Anything genuinely new or exciting is typically behind closed doors. Don’t expect to wander the halls of the Taipei Show and expect to see the latest and greatest right there in front of you. So, focus on getting yourself invited to those private presentations if you want to see anything truly new or revolutionary.
- Break for lunch early. The most popular places for lunch are the ‘Michael tu Messe Bistro’ and ‘Mos Burger’ (for quick meals) on the ground floor and the ‘Raku Kitchen’ and ‘Le Xuan Chinese Restaurant’ on the 3rd Head for lunch as close to 12 as possible and get in before it gets impossible to get a table, or the wait for food becomes too long. Or take lunch with you each day and miss the melee altogether.
- Din Tai Fung. As far as I’m concerned, my week at the Taipei Cycle Show hasn’t started or finished properly without at least one meal at Taipei’s iconic dumpling restaurant ‘Din Tai Fung’; either the original Xinyi location (often referred to as ‘Din Tai Fung Number 1’), or my favourite, the much larger and busier Zhongxiao restaurant (‘Number 2’). Either way, it will be a highlight of your trip.
Got other useful tips for a successful day at the Taipei Cycle Show? Please pass them on through the comments sections – maybe I’ll borrow them for next year’s update edition.