Should I proceed with business in China despite the coronavirus?
I was thinking of investing in a booth at an exhibition held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands come October. I am from China, now most business in China is shut down because of the crazy coronavirus and we are all hiding at home to protect ourselves. I do not know when this will end.
I heard many European countries and many other countries have confirmed coronavirus infected cases.
I wonder if the global economy will be largely affected.
Now I am not sure if I still pay to book a booth in Rotterdam? What if not many people come because of the virus? I do not know how crazy this virus can go and how long it will last.
Let's get some perspective on this Coronavirus: It primarily affects older people with weak immune systems. Most healthy people have minor symptoms that don't last long. It has had very little impact on children or younger adults unless they have a serious illness like diabetes or cancer. The average age (last I heard) of people who died from it is 80. In the USA, the total deaths are at about 38 while this years Flu season has claimed over 18,000 lives. Bottom line is that this is serious and very infectious, but typically not that serious for healthy people. It's spread is said to be slowing down in China and will probably fade away in several months (my guess). The media and many government officials are scaring people into thinking this is the worst pandemic we've ever seen: So far that is not proving to be true.
As for your booth, if you feel it is worth some risk (Return on investment), you might ask if the promoters will refund your cost if it is cancelled. Good luck!
Good question, Victoria. When you're trying to make business decisions based on what the business world calls "acts of god" (like earthquakes, virus outbreaks, war, etc.) you can usually use that to your advantage. I'm only familiar with USA laws and contracts (although I'm not a lawyer, I do recommend legal advice, I'll just tell you my experience) but typically when you sign a contract or agreement you can have an "acts of god" clause in the document. If for some reason you're unable to attend because of the virus or the exhibition is canceled or postponed, you can structure the agreement so that you get a full refund for your booth deposit. That way, you get your spot RSVP'd in time, and you're eliminating the financial risk too.
If for some reason that isn't a possible option for you, I'd consider what your opportunity costs are. I would look at your past exhibition experiences and track what the Return on Investment was for you. Did you land a new customer that was worth a lot of revenue in the past at this exhibit? If yes, it's probably worth booking even if you can't go.
If it's a large cost (make or break the bank) I wouldn't risk the farm on something you can't control.
Hope this helps. Feel free to ask more questions for clarification if you have them and I'd be happy to answer them.
October, a long time. I hope things will get better by that time. Follow your guts, if it says yes then do it.
I also heard about this virus. God knows when it will end.