E524: Differences Between India Trade Shows vs. Chinese Trade Shows

The India Sourcing Trip finally took place earlier this October!

Dave and I, along with a few friends and loved ones, went to India for the first time to check out the India Ecomm Summit, visit a Manufacturing Factory and see the Taj Mahal. 

It's only natural that we recap our experiences, while highlighting the key differences between Chinese and Indian Trade Shows, and some things to expect once you visit either the Canton Fair or the India Ecomm Summit. 

Here's a few chapter markers you can easily refer to, either audio or video:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:44 – Jet Lag
  • 2:37 – Key Differences Between Chinese and Indian Trade Shows
  • 3:37 – Product Differences
  • 9:09 – Lack of Variety
  • 13:49 – Product Quality
  • 16:32 – Questions You Should Ask In Trade Shows
  • 22:20 – Lack of Pressure
  • 29:15 – Communication Differences
  • 32:21 – Country Differences: Traffic Culture
  • 37:14 – Country Differences: Sightseeing Diversity
  • 38:50 – Visiting a Manufacturing Factory in India
  • 42:43 – India Sourcing Trip 

Shoutout again to Meghla, for making everything possible for Dave and I and setting us up with this eye opening trip. 

If you're interested in possibly joining the India Sourcing Trip next year, check out India Sourcing Trip which is managed by our friend, Meghla Bhardwaj. If you'd like to learn more about Meghla Bhardwaj, check her out on her LinkedIn page.

As always, if you have any questions or anything that you need help with, reach out to us at support@ecomcrew.com if you're interested. 

Don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes if you enjoy our content. If you have any questions, send us an email at support@ecomcrew.com. We'd love to help you in any way we can. 

Thanks for listening!

Until next time, happy selling! 

Full Audio Transcript

Mike Jackness (00:27.106)
This is Mike and welcome to this edition of the eComCure Podcast. How's it going, Dave? I am unbelievably tired right now. This is the most tired I've ever been recording a podcast, but we have to record a podcast today to get it out for Monday because we want to do an India trip recap.

DJ (00:28.384)
This is Dave.

DJ (00:33.748)
Going well, how about you?

DJ (00:49.284)
Yeah, absolutely. And I guess you've been back in the US for two days now. I've been back for about a week after our three slash four week jaunt over in India, Hong Kong, for me, a couple other countries in between. But yeah, I guess this is kind of the recap show.

Mike Jackness (01:04.01)
It's the recap show. So this is a We'll start with the thing that's always on repeat, which is whenever I come back from Asia, I have just the worst jet lag like ever. I mean, to the point where every time I come back, I'm like, I'm never going there again, because it just it's so brutal. I don't know what

what it is, but when I get back, I just can't properly sleep. On the way there, it's really not that bad. I really, I mean, you were with me, I mean, really the worst of it is that I just gotta go to bed at nine or 10 o'clock at night, and I'm just a light switch, it's just like all of a sudden, I'm super tired, I gotta go to bed, and that's really the worst of it, but which isn't that bad, because I wake up at four a.m., which is a little annoying, but I get a good night's sleep, and I just gotta go to bed at nine or 10 o'clock,

at night and short of not being able to go out and party, it's not that big a deal because most things are done by that time of night. But yeah, when I come back from Asia, I don't know, I just physically can't sleep. It's like the weirdest thing. So right now I feel mostly like a zombie. I haven't scheduled anything in my days except for this podcast to just make sure that I'm not letting anyone down or not able to just miss something.

Hopefully, you know, a few more days, it will get better.

DJ (02:22.536)
Well, you did let me down on this podcast. So we were set to recorded 11 and coming 11 25 Mike's not there. And finally I had to start texting Mike's wife and his wife goes, Mike, Dave's looking for you. And eventually I got a hold of you.

Mike Jackness (02:24.21)
I did. I know.

Mike Jackness (02:33.65)
I can't remember the last time I had to set an alarm for something at 11 a.m. and which I didn't do and therefore wasn't awake to do this podcast. I finally just fall asleep at like 10 a.m. or something or whatever it was. So I got to watch lots of YouTube last night. And just, you know, that was how I spent my evening in bed.

DJ (02:52.628)
All right, well, enough recap of your jet lag. Mike's very tired. Mike's very sleepy. He apologizes for this podcast. Shall we do a recap of India and kind of our thoughts? I kind of mentioned maybe we can kind of frame it as India versus China or India trade shows versus Chinese trade shows, which I think they're most, they're two direct comparables when it comes to countries, both the source from.

Mike Jackness (02:59.058)
I do.


Mike Jackness (03:08.91)
Mm. Okay, yeah.

Mike Jackness (03:15.872)

DJ (03:19.804)
Yeah, and travel to, I guess, big mammoth countries.

Mike Jackness (03:24.066)
Big man with countries. I mean, it was our first big trip, at least back to Asia since the pandemic. And yeah, I mean, I really, really glad that we went. I mean, I just had a really great time there. I mean, I thought it was probably the most cultural thing I've ever done of all the countries I've been to. I mean, it's the…

It's huge. I mean, like you said, it's listed as the second largest country. There's arguments that it's the largest at this point. And it felt like it. I mean, it's kind of crazy. In terms of the fair itself, I mean, I think the biggest differences are that, A, it's not quite as big in terms of the footprint of the Canton Fair versus at least the fair that we went to in India and the building that we were in India. The Canton Fair is just physically

Now that's not to say that this was a small…

trade fair. This is easily the second largest thing I've ever been to. If you think about the largest convention centers in the United States, I think Chicago, I think Vegas here, and this was significantly bigger than any of those buildings and any of those types of events. So the Canton Fair legitimately is, I think, the largest structure in the

Ella, the fair that we went to was mostly like a home goods fair. I wasn't fully aware of that before we went. And so at first I'm like, there's nothing here but home goods. And then I realized that we were at the sign, which everything's in English.

DJ (05:06.1)
And then we read the sign. Ha ha ha.

Welcome to the 2023 India Home Goods Show.

Mike Jackness (05:14.186)
Yeah, so there was, you know, just massive selections of things you would find in a home. And mostly it was, you know, things like things you would expect from India, you know, not the things that you would see in China. So there wasn't maybe like pots and pans or other things you would see over in India. It was mostly throw rugs and pillows and…

you know, signs and incense and, you know, things of this nature that you would, again, you would kind of come to expect to see in India.

DJ (05:48.032)
Basically the best way to frame it is if you just bought a new house and you're looking to outfit your house with a bunch of brand new furniture This would be the show to go to so like Mike mentioned You know, it was just a bunch of different home goods specifically things that come to mind for me that I really remember well pillows lots of freaking pillows I Mean, I probably seen more pillows in my life over an hour at that trade show

Mike Jackness (05:53.036)
Ha ha.

Furniture too.

Mike Jackness (06:07.17)

DJ (06:15.408)
It was just massively, massively inundated with pillows, rugs, lots of furniture, wooden furniture. So that's something that I've come to really realize about India is that if you need any wooden products, India is basically the only country. So their handicraft work and their ability to manufacture wood products is bar none the best in the world.

Mike Jackness (06:18.808)

DJ (06:38.58)
That's something China does not compete on. And we can get into that a little bit later on what China does do a lot better. But when it comes to like wood handicraft type things, it's India by a mile, kind of like everything else, China by a mile. So anything wood, India kind of thrives in.

Mike Jackness (06:49.931)

Mike Jackness (06:56.422)
Yeah, I mean there was a mastermind at the so I mean as a part of the trade fair that we went to I mean Dave and I both spoke at an event before Before the trade fair that was kind of a An indian sourcing or just amazon mastermind kind of

Similar to Silver Summit or some of the other events that would be to in the United States was a similar format geared a little bit more towards beginners And so we spoke at that and then during the actual fair there's a sourcing trip that people can go on where the organizer Megala who

Took care of everything for us will organize your hotel and your transfers in the airport and guide you through the fair As a part of that at the end of each day There's a mastermind and Dave and I led the mastermind on one of the days and someone asked like you have to walk it through Here like what opportunities have you seen? And and that was exactly both of our answers was the furniture, you know if you were thinking about starting a business and

where everyone else isn't, which is what I think is really important these days when it comes to Amazon especially, but just selling online in general, doing the same thing that everyone else is doing is a dangerous place to be. Most people are afraid of big heavy goods to this day for whatever reason. It's where you play mostly in that playground, Dave, with your business. And yeah, I mean the furniture, as someone who is like obsessive about furniture, you

My dad is a carpenter, you know, it's the world that I grew up in. I mean, he owned a wood shop from when I was in elementary school and still builds houses to this day. And.

Mike Jackness (08:37.042)
So like all the furniture in our house is like this super high end, all solid wood, dovetail, soft touch closures, et cetera. And that's everything there. Like I mean, you couldn't find MDF, which is like that medium density fiber board, the cheap wood stuff. It was all like mango wood or some other like solid wood variation, just super high quality. I mean, unfortunately, most people don't appreciate that, but it's the stuff that lasts a lifetime

you know, one move and it falls apart. And there was tons of that there. And I started like getting close to going off on some rabbit hole of let's get into another business again. And I was just like, no, I reminded myself that we're doing one thing right now and you need to focus on that. But if I were in the market at the time, certainly it would be the thing that I would be looking at.

DJ (09:29.464)
Yeah, yeah, for sure. And I think that was the big distinction with the India trade show is the lack of variety. And you had mentioned like that during the mastermind, we had mentioned that, you know, somebody had asked, oh, what kind of product opportunities do you see here? And we both kind of fixated on furniture. And I do wonder partly if we fixated on that, because that was basically the only thing that was.

really sustainable as an Amazon brand. So I had the benefit of going to the Canton fair about three days after going to the India sourcing fair. And the sheer amount of variety, and I only went to phase one of the Canton fair, the sheer amount of variety compared to the India fair, night and day. And it's not just because Canton fair is easily 10 times bigger. In an order of magnitude of variance, it was probably a hundred times more

Mike Jackness (10:08.514)

DJ (10:25.088)
varied products and different products at the Canton Fair compared to the India trade show. And I think a lot of that just came down to you seeing a lot of the same products over and over and over and over again at the India Fair. And you see that the Canton Fair for sure by far but just not the same record on repeat over and over and over again at the India sourcing fair.

Mike Jackness (10:40.173)

Mike Jackness (10:49.502)
Yeah, I mean, I felt like I was at phase two of the Canton Fair, I believe it's phase two, in the halls of Homegoods. Because it was very similar. Because when we own cutting board, we walk those halls. And the first year that we went, I was just a.

I didn't know the roadmap, right? So like I was walking through the bedding areas or the wrong areas and just also just had a curiosity like what else existed there. And so I felt very similar in both size and scope of those halls, you know, where you are walking through when there isn't really a lot of variety when you're in those sections during that phase. But again, as you were mentioning, Canton Fair is.

is three phases, you were there during phase one, and the variety during each phase, I mean, you'll be there, and there'll be like automotive products, and there'll be, you know, craft good products, or, you know, we've looked, when we had color right, I mean, there'd be like 80 manufacturers of different gel pens, and 120 different manufacturers and markers, and it was hard to differentiate between them all, and I kind of started feeling bad for all the people selling gel pens or whatever there, because they all kind of blended together and looked the same, and…

Same thing with the cutting board stuff that we were looking through there at the time, it's just like how do you pick one manufacturer over another that manufactures a plastic cutting board which we eventually sourced from there. That's how I kind of felt that the Indian Fritz, I felt bad for the people that were selling pillows because it's just like there are easily 150 or 200 maybe more people here selling virtually the same pillow and or.

Same thing with throw rugs or whatever. And I think it's similar in those regards where there's just, there is a lot to choose from in that particular niche.

DJ (12:44.552)
Yes, and I agree with you. Like if you go to the Canton Fair and you're going to the home goods section of it in phase two, you're going to see like pillow manufacturer after pillow manufacturer. I guess the biggest difference that I saw at the Canton Fair is that, yes, you're going to see that pillow manufacturer over and over and over again. But normally when you stop by those, each individual booth, like they're going to have one product which they've kind of done a bit of R&D on and it's kind of like their hero product which is a little bit different from all the rest.

I didn't really see that in India where, you know, you could, if you visited three or four booths, you would find something a little bit special that you hadn't seen before. And at the Canton fair, I was still seeing that over and over again this year. Like, oh, okay, that's it. That's new. I haven't seen that before. I didn't really get any of that from the India fair. And I think just has two parts. And number one, I just think like the Chinese are really good at being innovative and like

DJ (13:42.126)
around that. The other part is I think that the specialty in India manufacturing, you know, about these wood products and very high labor intensive products, it doesn't necessarily mesh well with high innovation as well. It's really hard to come up with an innovative wood furniture. So there was definitely overall just a lack of special products at the India sourcing fair where you think to yourself, oh, wow, I haven't seen that before. There is a good opportunity.

Mike Jackness (14:11.71)
Yeah. Speaking of other overall trends, I'll throw a few other things out that I kind of observed at like kind of a high level, the differences. I felt like the quality of the products just overall were better. When I like walked through the Canton Fair, and there were just huge swaths of like just visibly from a distance, like I like, man, that stuff is cheap crap. And

that wasn't really the case in India. I mean, it seemed like everything I was looking at, including the furniture I was just mentioning, but like of the pillows and the throw rugs and other things that were there. And there were other things there. I mean, again, there were incense holders and there was silverware and there was some signs that you could like using your house. And there's just a bunch of different things there as well. It wasn't just the pillows, but just.

from a distance, everything looked like it was much higher quality. And the things that I did walk in and kind of look and touch and feel, it all seemed a much higher quality. There were also like some nautical things. There were like things you were putting your home, like just display stuff. And we kind of looked at some of that. And again, it just wasn't cheap plastic. Like a lot of the things in China, you're just like, wow, this is this is just, you know, cheap stuff. And so in India, I felt like.

If I had to give the product quality a grade, it would be much higher overall. Again, there are outlier examples in both the Kantine Fair and in Inia, but overall it seemed like the product quality was higher.

DJ (15:51.096)
Yes, for sure the product quality was much higher in India. One thing I've realized about China sourcing in general is that

Often you see this huge spectrum of quality in China, and that has to do a lot of it with the fact that some manufacturers may specialize in exporting to America, where customers are have a much higher quality threshold. Some manufacturers might specialize in exporting to developing countries, and that can range anywhere from, you know, kind of a medium income country like the Philippines to the poorest of the poorest sub-Saharan.

African country where their threshold for quality is quite a bit lower. You know, they just want functionality more than anything. And that's where you see that full spectrum in China a lot more than India because if I were to guess, I would suspect that most Indian exports, especially for a lot of these hard goods, are going to relatively higher income countries where their demand for quality is a little bit higher than developing countries and countries where they're

Mike Jackness (16:28.354)

DJ (16:52.948)
Demands for quality are a little bit lower.

Mike Jackness (16:55.198)
Yeah, absolutely. That was actually an interesting revelation to me. Like the first time I went to the Canton Fair.

you know, just kind of discovering that the bulk of the people there are exporting to like Eastern markets versus Western markets. And that was the bulk of the reason for the quality issues. And so, you know, it's kind of a learning lesson after a year one of the can time fair to start asking questions of, you know, who are your customers, you know, a lot of them didn't have anybody in the US or very few people and looking for the companies

DJ (17:12.555)

Mike Jackness (17:31.928)
because they most likely understood quality a lot better. Because it's always interesting whenever you're talking to someone in China about improving the quality and making something that's super high quality and they're like, yes, I understand. And you're like, well, can we put a higher quality zipper on this? And they're like, you know, the initial answer is no. It's like, well, why not? Well, it's just, this is gonna be too expensive. And you realize that when they're saying it's gonna be too expensive, it's a penny and a half extra for that zipper, the higher quality zipper.

and they just don't want to do it or don't understand why you would want to do something like this. It's an interesting culture shift. And so finding companies that are more readily exporting to Western markets and kind of get that are some of the ones that we ended up with over the years. But it felt like, as you were kind of alluding to, the companies in India were already kind of set up for that, which I thought was important because

DJ (18:27.061)

Mike Jackness (18:30.418)
It was always this struggle, and still is, in putting from China, where you're pushing them to have higher quality products, where by default for you, that's the important thing.

DJ (18:43.78)
Yeah, yeah, for sure. And I'll give a couple hacks to a couple of things there that you mentioned. Number one, you had mentioned how you want to kind of interview potential suppliers in China, or even India. Hey, who are your customers? Like, where do you export to? One thing I've realized is a big difference between who have you sold to? And who are you currently selling to? Because when you go and interview all these manufacturers at trade shows, you ask, Hey, who do you who have you

Mike Jackness (19:04.672)

DJ (19:13.726)
Okay, when did you sell to Walmart? 25 years ago, we went and sold one trial order of 10 widgets to them. Well, that's a lot different than we're currently selling to Walmart and we export 20 containers a month to them. So that's the first thing is you want to ask who are their current customers and then try to verify it too, because it's really hard to verify that they sold to Walmart 10 years ago, a lot easier to verify that they're selling to Walmart at this moment.

Mike Jackness (19:38.232)

DJ (19:40.628)
The other hack, which you had mentioned, is how a lot of manufacturers are sometimes a little bit prickly to providing a higher quality zipper or higher quality anything. And the one way I've figured out how to get around that when interviewing suppliers is to say, can we get a higher quality zipper? And yes, we understand it's gonna be a little bit more expensive when we're willing to pay for it. So generally when they say, hey, can we get a higher quality zipper?

Suppliers are interpreting that as can we get a higher quality zipper and get the same price? But as long as you're willing to pay for it often they are Willing to do that. So as long as you kind of preface those requests with we're willing to pay for it Generally it results in a lot different response than if you just kind of give this Inference that you want a higher quality at the same price

Mike Jackness (20:28.414)
Yeah, absolutely. So I would say the other overall observation that I had was the lack of pressure at the at the India fair versus China. Man, I tell you that the in at the Canton fair, I had.

kind of forgotten and I haven't been back in a while so maybe since you were just there you'll have some more recent memories of this but I don't know like it just it felt like I needed like a ruler or a stick sometimes at the Canton Fair just like kind of like

beat people off, like to go, like step, go away. Cause I just like, you're just walking back and forth in a serpentine pattern. You're tired and exhausted and like, you don't really want to be pressured into like coming into a booth or looking at something or it might even be completely irrelevant to what you're doing. You know, like people, you know, as you're walking down these halls in the can time fair. And at the Indian fair, it was really chill. Like, I mean, a couple of times

DJ (21:31.889)

Mike Jackness (21:32.808)
would be in the aisle way just like, you know, asking if you're interested by making eye-to-eye tack which was like, you know, almost unusual there. Yeah, but they were always super nice about it and you just be like, you know, hi, how you doing? I'm not interested or whatever and they and that would be the end of it. Like they wouldn't like, oh my god, like follow you down the aisle way trying to get you to come back to their booth where in some instances at the Canton Fair they would do that and God forbid you like walked into a booth at the

DJ (21:36.636)
making eye contact? Agressive selling by their standards?

Mike Jackness (22:02.488)
this is going to be at least a five minute process because they were going to be super high pressure. Now, on one hand, I get it, right? You're paying for this booth space, you're trying to get clients, you'd be a really poor salesman if you just sat there and didn't make any eye contact or acknowledge that someone walked in your booth. But man, I really wish it was something in between. And that's what it felt like on India. We walked in the booths and we said hi and looked at a couple of things. And unless you poked in probably a little bit more, they kind of just…

DJ (22:05.012)

Mike Jackness (22:32.488)
give you some space to look at things right and what it didn't feel like that high pressure thing where by the end of the day you're just like I can't wait to get the hell out of here and so I really appreciated that you know I mean and again this is in terms of scope and size like I mean just as big I mean you could spend

at least an entire day, I don't know if, I mean, it would take more than a day to walk through the entire thing. We didn't see anywhere near all of the India fair that we're at. So I mean, it's still, I don't want to give the impression that this is like a small thing the size of like one Walmart or something. This is still a huge fair. And so there's still a lot of competition there amongst other vendors to get business and they still didn't have this high pressure environment, which I really appreciated.

DJ (23:21.52)
Yeah, yeah. So you had mentioned this as we're walking through the India trade show that, man, the pressure is so much lower here. And I hadn't been to the Canton fair in a few years. And I thought, yeah, you know, it's a little bit lower, but the Delta is not that big. And like I mentioned, I went to the Canton fair three or four days after. And wow, did I forget how high pressure they are. And I think it's like even come up a degree since COVID and since there's a bit of an economic downturn in China. And

Mike Jackness (23:43.37)
Oh, has it? Interesting.

Mike Jackness (23:48.184)
They need business.

DJ (23:50.512)
I mean, you'll be walking through just the food area and people will come up to you, sir, are you interested in toilet paper? Sir, are you interested in buying brake pads? And like…

Mike Jackness (23:57.263)
Oh, yeah. Yeah.

DJ (24:01.964)
Part of me, yes, it's a little bit annoying because, okay, I'm just trying to have lunch here and like what are the chances that this one guy from Canada is actually interested in importing toilet paper or brake pads? So, you know, part of that's a little bit annoying. Part of me really admires that go-gettiness and that salesmanship and just sheer motivation to try and get a sale at all costs. And like, these people…

Mike Jackness (24:22.456)

DJ (24:26.932)
These are people like they understand that their conversion rate walk through that cafeteria is going to be a one in a million but they're still doing it still doing it and as somebody who comes from a family of salesmen and Just people have worked in sales As professions like I really admire just this sheer motivation to try and get a sale and just never stop never stop Maybe maybe see always be closing Really admire it. Yes. It's a little bit annoying

Mike Jackness (24:29.474)

DJ (24:56.564)
But jeez, I mean, it just shows why China has been able to grow at 10%. Just that sheer motivation. But yeah, way more peaceful walking through the industry.

Mike Jackness (25:01.59)

Mike Jackness (25:05.134)
Yeah, it's funny you mentioned that I forgot about like being hassled in the food halls from for me, it was almost always like generic stuff that people were pushing in there like an inspection service or

you know, like a sourcing service or something like that, more than just a random like gel pan or brake pad or whatever. But yeah, that was that was really annoying to me because like, I don't know, like I don't want to be bothered while I'm eating or having a conversation like in we very rarely would be eating alone. So I'd be eating with you or like some you come crew premium member or somebody from the commercial community or whoever was over there, someone I don't get to spend a lot of time with. And then like, oh, so having somebody like walk up in the middle.

complete disregard for a conversation you're having while you're eating, I just felt like it was really rude and that certainly never happened in India. I don't know. I mean, I just think that, you know, I think it's just a cultural difference thing. Like, I mean, obviously,

If I was serious about buying something at a booth in India, I'm sure that they would be more than willing to accommodate. They just weren't quite as high-pressured.

DJ (26:14.021)
Yeah, I'm trying and I'm still

just as one little tangent on that, I'm still trying to figure out why that is. Because, you know, there's that stereotype in North America, like Chinese people and Indian people are just really, really good salespeople. And like they are both highly motivated. And that just doesn't seem to transition over to on the ground in India. And I'm still trying to figure out, is it a cultural thing? Is it maybe like just the fact that maybe these are all employees working at the India Sourcing Fair compared to it's a lot of entrepreneurs at the Canton Fair? Like, I'm still trying to figure out why it is.

Mike Jackness (26:28.845)

DJ (26:45.402)
that big difference. And who knows? That's a

Mike Jackness (26:48.674)
Someone had mentioned that like, I think that it's similar in China, like when you're going out to a business meal at least, but like, you know, the customs more to like, have tea first or like talk about something else besides business before, you know, so maybe it's like awkward in some way, or, you know, like they, they're more used to having some other conversation before getting into the business stuff. You know, I don't know.

DJ (27:00.833)

DJ (27:08.501)

Mike Jackness (27:17.662)
Again, just from a refreshing standpoint without talking about this for too much longer, it was a pretty obvious difference.

All right, so one other obvious, this is the obvious overall, you know, difference thing that I noticed, but, you know, you're gonna laugh when I say this, but, you know, everyone spoke English. You know, like the Canton Fair,

It's it's chinglish at best, you know, people are doing their best to speak English, but it's about they're speaking English about as good as I speak Spanish, which is not very good. And so, you know, it's just it's hard to communicate, you know, is basically so either they don't speak English at all at the Canton Fair, or they speak very broken English.

And so you need a translator, you know, and I'm lucky that I have my wife, you know, who can, who could help translate for me there or, you know, a lot of people I know will hire a translator for the day to walk through the Canton fair. But everyone, obviously in India speaks English. I mean, it's a national language and walking through the fair. It's easy to communicate, which for me is highly refreshing. I mean,

You know, at the factories that we work with, there's always a representative there that speaks English and you can communicate just fine. But again, walking through the fair for the day, it gets exhausting, like trying to communicate for, you know, for one day it's not a big deal. But like when you're there for a couple weeks straight, I find to just be mentally taxing to try to like even just communicate with people where in India, because everyone does speak English. I mean, the worst you're going to have to deal with is an accent.

Mike Jackness (29:05.139)
And that's really about it. So I found that to be highly refreshing as well.

DJ (29:12.64)
Yes, yeah, for sure. Everything in the trade show is like, if not 100% English, it's 99% English. And that goes everywhere from who you'll speak with, Manning the boost to signage to even shopkeepers talking amongst themselves. Like they're all doing it in English just by default, because there might be two guys in a booth who work there and one speaks Punjabi and one speaks Hindi and their common language is English.

So absolutely that is really refreshing. In China, as you mentioned, Mike, like as you're walking around these trade show booths, basically you're speaking with a calculator. What's your price? And they type it in and you go, OK, and that's how communication is done. And maybe you exchange a couple of photos and email addresses. There's not a lot that you can do to communicate with most of these.

trade show booths in China at a deeper level, like really getting into refined, nuanced discussion about a product. You really have to divert to email because, you know, once somebody in China is behind an email and they can take some time translating things, they can communicate what they want to. But on the spot, verbally, it's a little bit of a challenge. So you're absolutely right. Like you can take your conversations to a much deeper level at the India Sourcing Fair.

Mike Jackness (30:30.59)

The other thing, just in general observations of India, man, I tell you that the worst traffic jam I've ever seen. Wow, dude. I mean, that was just a typical Tuesday night or whatever day it was that we were leaving. This was not just like, oh, we got stuck in a bad accident or something. You know, it just the level of chaos driving is on another level. I mean, there's definitely a lot of traffic in China. I mean, you but the people follow the

DJ (30:40.927)
Ah, dude.

Mike Jackness (31:03.748)
and it just kind of seems orally versus in India. It was just like, I mean, we were joking, like why even bother putting the lane markings on the road? Like you're on this like seven lane highway, but there's 10, 11, 12 cars wide on the highway. Cause like people are just jammed in any which way they can. It took us like two and a half hours to get back to the airport and.

DJ (31:06.572)
Ha ha!

DJ (31:28.876)
from about five kilometers away from the airport.

Mike Jackness (31:29.91)
from exactly that was like the thing. It's like hard to, okay, well, if you're half a world away, like that's not a big deal, but like, yeah, I think we were like literally five kilometers away. And we were gonna go to the mall for a few minutes before heading over to the airport. And just getting in the parking lot of the mall was like, we were just like, let's just give up and head to the airport. And I'm actually really glad that we did that because like I would have been stressed. Like, are we even gonna make our flight if we hadn't actually just blew it off the mall and

DJ (31:59.284)

Mike Jackness (31:59.782)
and went to the airport. So that was that was pretty funny. And it was, you know, there were a few other things like, you know, Megala was like, you know, be prepared for like all the horn honking and I'm like, OK, whatever. Like and I didn't even realize like how much it was starting to affect me until afterwards when we got to Hong Kong and I like didn't hear a single horn for a week. You just like it's like the national bird there or something or whatever. Just like it's crazy how much horn hockey there is.

DJ (32:27.768)
Well, it's really weird because all the trucks there, they have like signage on the back of them saying honk. I forget what it was. It was like honk twice or honk once. And like they went back and forth between the signage, like directing you to honk at them and researching a little bit. Apparently it had to do with like passing them. But you need to honk if you're going to pass them. Like you don't just turn on your blinker, you honk. And some trucks want to honk, some want three, some want one. And so that obviously compounds at all.

Mike Jackness (32:32.716)

Mike Jackness (32:36.202)

Mike Jackness (32:42.176)

Mike Jackness (32:47.872)

Mike Jackness (32:56.894)
Yeah, it was pretty wild. I don't know, any other, go ahead, sorry.

DJ (33:01.364)
By the way, just before I was going to say you mentioned that in China, they follow traffic rules and that's why the traffic is not as bad. I think you realize that's probably not true. China, they have a little bit better infrastructure, especially for public transportation, which is why traffic isn't quite as bad there. In terms of following rules.

Mike Jackness (33:16.254)
Yeah, it is one thing I'm sad about. We didn't get to ride the Metro in terms of public transportation. It was one thing that I wanted to do and we'd end up not doing.

DJ (33:25.352)
Yep. But yeah, I think that's the reason for the traffic in India, not compared to China, not necessarily because one follows the rules any better than the other, because I think they're both miserable in that regard. But I think China just has a little bit better public transportation infrastructure, and that eases some of the traffic.

Mike Jackness (33:43.97)
Yeah, I mean, in terms of infrastructure, I was actually pleasantly surprised. I mean, like the roads in India were pretty good. I mean, like, you know, everyone kind of builds it as a third world country. And so I immediately started thinking back to my time in Costa Rica or other places I've been around the world where, uh, you know, third world country to me just basically means like.

DJ (33:51.797)

Mike Jackness (34:03.394)
You know, the roads are in really poor condition or in some case in Costa Rica, some of the stuff that we drove on over the years was like, it's just merely have a suggestion of where you should be driving. It's not even really a paved road, you know, or there's lots of potholes or whatever. I mean, there was, you know, actually really smooth roads, like lots of good bridges and other infrastructure.

Overall, I just think it was just, we were in one of the largest, busiest cities in the world and yeah, there's probably not enough, right next to you in your car will be a rickshaw, a bike, a cowl, whatever. I mean, it was a variety of transportation was kind of all over the place, but yeah, probably not enough.

enough infrastructure for the size city to really get people moving around, which is why the backups are just so bad.

DJ (34:58.048)
Yeah, yeah, I'm not sure I would make an evaluation on the on like the road and highway system there based on being in Delhi the biggest city in India and Going from Delhi and driving three hours to the largest tourist site in India the Taj Mahal like I think Fantastic with absolutely nobody on it, but I suspect it wouldn't take much venturing out of that little circle to experience roads That weren't quite as good

Mike Jackness (35:06.134)
Be up.

Mike Jackness (35:14.038)
That was a beautiful road.

Mike Jackness (35:18.134)

Mike Jackness (35:27.09)
Yeah, I mean the diversity in terms of like, you know, from like the most beautiful thing that we saw to some of the, I guess, things that are bordering on slums was like kind of crazy because like you look, like our hotel was like a really great example of this because looking out one side of the hotel, like you're seeing this like giant metropolis and like, you know, budding city that's, you know, on the verge of being first world and just like some beautiful, you know, tall.

towers and you know things that just kind of reek of money and success and then like out of our bedroom window side of the hotel was I mean, I don't know if you would call it a slum, but like it was not much higher level than that and

Really interesting just you know things that you don't see in the Western world Which I think is why it's important to travel and get an appreciation for this stuff But yeah, like I mean I would just fixate like and so is my wife like looking out of our bedroom window watching the donkeys like carry the bricks like till it cuz they were like they were building something behind us and the random cows over like walking through the street and a lot of trash on the on the street a lot of people just walking cuz like they

They don't have any other mode of transportation but to walk so it was like people that were just like kind of like walking on That street to either go to work or do whatever Yeah, it was Fascinating, you know just you know, it was again from a cultural perspective Probably the best trip I've ever been on

DJ (36:55.816)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think we'll wrap up the podcast. And one thing that we haven't really talked about is that we did have a chance to actually visit an Indian factory. So Meghla's uncle actually who runs a factory in Delhi was kind enough to let us go do a little tour and he was very transparent.

Mike Jackness (37:04.531)

Mike Jackness (37:10.838)
That was awesome. Yeah.

DJ (37:14.352)
And so maybe we can just talk for a minute about a couple takeaways there. Biggest takeaway for me, number one, it was extremely clean. And I'm not sure if that's indicative of all factories in India or just this one particular one, but like the level of just cleanliness for the entire factory was first class.

Mike Jackness (37:21.024)

Mike Jackness (37:32.502)
Yeah, I mean, it seemed like all the employees were like family to this guy, uh, which I also think is probably typical there. I mean, uh, yeah, I either we drew the, you know, the one guy that like treats all his employees like family, or it just seems to be, I kind of just got a feeling that they're being there for a week that that's just kind of the way things are there, which was cool. He's like, yeah, this, he like knew everyone's name. Like he was like, this person's been here for like nine years. This person's been here for 12 years. Uh,

DJ (37:36.714)

DJ (37:41.278)

Mike Jackness (38:01.438)
blah, blah. So I thought that was quite neat. It is hard manual labor. I mean, it's not much different than China, but there is not a lot of modern machinery doing anything. It's all like, okay, this person costs a dime an hour or whatever the heck it works out to. And so we can just tackle this with brute force labor rather than…

DJ (38:11.undefined)

DJ (38:16.722)

DJ (38:21.248)

Mike Jackness (38:28.302)
some type of modern machinery. And so if you were making the same product in the United States, it would require you to invest tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in machinery because labor rates are so much higher that you would never be able to make that product there. Otherwise, you see basically have to automate out jobs where it's like the opposite of that still in India. It's just like we can afford to have someone sit here and manually grind this

hand paint this thing or whatever and the end result was just an awesome product like this guy had something actually very quite unique it was like a rubber based product mostly for children's toys but like it could be used for other things but with a really unique coating on the outside of it as well and man super high quality everything that was like rolling off the line as a finished product was

of the highest quality, which again in China, I think you're, it would have a hard time getting that many products come off the line to be that high quality. It was, I thought that was also really impressive.

DJ (39:38.696)
Yes, and that was the most striking thing for me is that it was all manual labor going into this product. And as we're walking through there, I'm thinking, well, geez, you know what? I could actually make this product at home. Like nothing that they're doing to manufacture this product requires a high tech piece of equipment. Like you theoretically could create this yourself at home in your garage without.

really any special equipment like there was some special paint and some special filler that you just buy that off the shelf and then you know you can more or less create that same product. In China often all the products have a lot of very sophisticated machinery behind it and that you could not physically recreate yourself without having that machinery and that's really where India excels is anything that is very labor-intensive they're gonna do well that doesn't need

special high tech machinery to go into the manufacturing of that product. So that was the most striking thing is just a lot of manual labor, a lot of manual processes, a lot of cutting, a lot of painting, just that type of thing, which, you know, isn't really new information. I think a lot of us listening here know about that. But it was just interesting to see in person just kind of where India really specializes in that manual labor.

Mike Jackness (40:52.886)
Yeah, absolutely.

So, I mean, if you have any interest in yourself of going on a trip like this, just shout out to Meghla and indiasourcingtrip.com. Again, indiasourcingtrip.com. Go check that out. I mean, as I mentioned before, I'm kind of a travel holic. This is my 58th country. You know, I'm pretty comfortable traveling on the world. This would probably be the one place or one of the few places I've been where I wouldn't feel incredibly comfortable just doing it all on my own.

everything up for us and constantly looking out for us was awesome. So if you were ever thinking about doing that I would highly recommend reaching out to her. You know, she took care of everything. I mean like there was someone waiting for us at the airport, the hotel was taken care of, our transportation to and from the hotel, all the meals.

trip out to the Taj Mahal. Dave and I, my wife and another friend that were with us are a little more adventurous and so we wanted to go see downtown Delhi, go see other sites. The day that we left we got that factory tour and did some other sightseeing stuff. She arranges all that and just kind of like constantly has someone, you know, a driver that you know and someone looking out for you. It's a safe place. You're not going to get like kidnapped

Mike Jackness (42:13.54)
pockets or people aggressively outside of the fair areas, like especially like in downtown Delhi, I wouldn't want to be down there without someone just kind of looking over my shoulder, making sure that, you know, even if just from an annoyance factor of having being swarmed, because like, I mean, you're going to stand out as a tourist, right? In an area that doesn't get a whole lot of Western tourists coming through in that downtown Delhi, old Delhi area, at least I think.

And so, I don't know, I really appreciate having that. And again, if you're interested in sourcing anything from India, whether you wanna go there yourself and do it or have her help you from afar, just reach out to her, indiasourcingtrip.com.

DJ (42:59.072)
Cool. Yeah, I think that's a wrap and yeah, it was a bunch of fun. So it is the fault of any. No, it's the fault of Hong Kong, I guess.

Mike Jackness (43:01.206)
That's a wrap.

Yeah, I'm gonna go back to bed. No fault of India or anything else. Actually, I was in Hong Kong the last 10 days. So No, it was Hong Kong. Yeah, uh, just it's Asia man. Whenever I come back from Asia, I just have the worst time getting back on pacific time so um Yeah, hopefully that'll happen sooner than later.


Michael Jackness

Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.
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