Zhao Peiying firstparticipated in the Canton Fair in the 1980s, when he was head of the SportsDepartment of Shanxi Light Industry Foreign Trade Company. At that time, onlyforeign trade companies had the right to arrange what to display at the CantonFair. As the staff of a foreign trade company, he must go to the Canton Fair totake charge of the company’s “grocery”, which was the word used by Zhao Peiyingto describe the exhibits. “Because there were a great variety of exhibits,including basketball, volleyball, dumbbell, discus, and everything else relatedto sports.”
When receivingthis interview at the 126th Canton Fair, Zhao Peiying showed up as the GeneralManager of Shanxi Yeekang Fitness Products Co., Ltd. In the mid-1990s whenstate-owned enterprises began to be restructured, he resigned from astate-owned enterprise and set about establishing a private enterprise. Atpresent, Yeekang is a leader in Shanxi Province’s fitness product manufacturingindustry and a brand enterprise at the Canton Fair. However, according to Zhao,over the past years since the establishment of the company, he has beenoperating a “grocery”. From operating a “grocery” to focusing on current “special”and “fine” products, and expanding the scale to a large extent, everything owesto the Canton Fair.
It Is Meaninglessto Run a “Grocery”
When foundingYeekang, Zhao ran it on the basis of the Sports Department which he had beenincharge of. “Habit is a second nature. I’m not familiar with other jobs.”Therefore, he still followed the path of “grocery-style” foreign trade, as hehas experience and social connections in this field. In the following fewyears, even though the “grocery”did not work well and was similar to that inthe old days, it was not closed.
“But it was meaningless. What’s the point ofrunning a company without prospect for future development?” said Zhao.Therefore, while participating inthe Canton Fair, he seriously investigated themarket and attained sudden enlightenment. “Our products were too miscellaneous.The majority of products were low-end ones with poor quality, which made itimpossible for us to attract high-end buyers.”
After that,Yeekang has begun to focus on fitness equipment, and received more and moreorders at the Canton Fair. When the company obtained independent import andexport rights and could truly participate in the Canton Fair, it has becomestronger and could successfully apply for brand booths. The “senior exhibitor”who is familiar with the rules of the Canton Fair has established productstandards in strict accordance with the requirements at early times, andcompleted the layout of corporate intellectual property rights, corporatebrands, product quality and other factors in advance. Since then, Yeekang hasembraced rapid development.
A Supplier ofInternational Brands
In traditionaldeveloped markets such as Europe and the United States, there are manywell-recognized and well-selling brands of health care equipment. But it israrely known that many of their products are actually manufactured by Yeekang.
“This is actually OEM. We are creating brandsfor dealers.” Zhao told the reporter that creating brands for dealers is also apath to the international market. “Product R&D involves a variety ofdisciplines, including human mechanics and aesthetics. Products should betested by various third parties to meet or even exceed the requirements ofdealers, so that dealers can bring them to the market. Otherwise the reputationof dealers will be ruined. We have learned a lot and accumulated lots ofexperience in this process. On this basis, we developed more and betterproducts, and established cooperation with more foreign companies.”
At each session ofthe Canton Fair, many big brand companies would come to seek OEM cooperation,and are the major target customers of Zhao Peiying. In addition to placinglarge orders, such brand companies always bring extremely useful informationwhich is beneficial to the development of Yeekang, as they, as actual marketoperators, master more reliable information about market dynamics than thoseobtained through research. By analyzing these reliable information and thesituation of companies in the industry, Zhao Peiying can basically understandthe entire market.
“Having participated in so many sessions, Irefreshed my ideas with the changes of the Canton Fair. As there areincreasingly rich high-end information and frequent information exchanges, Ihave changed the focus from the quantity of orders to current acquisition of marketinformation and industry dynamics, and communication and relationship withbuyers and brands.” Zhao Peiying said, “Every time I come to the Canton Fair, Iwould gain something. The current situation and the latest information in the industryI know about and new business opportunities I discover at the Canton Fair can provideimpetus for our future development. Therefore, for me, such a trading platform asthe Canton Fair is irreplaceable.”
Source: Canton Fair Press Center
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