E-guanxi! | China Food & Drinks Fair to go online in July

After endless delays, the sloppy sprawling annual ganbei-filled Spring guanxi-fest known as the China Food & Drinks Fair will be an online summer affair. Ganbei by video in July? A bit anti-climatic.

(If you’re a newbie, ganbei means “dry glass” — basically “bottoms up” — while guanxi refers to social — including business — relationships.)

The organizers announced today that CFDF aka Tang Jiu Hui (Sugar & Alcohol Fair) will be held as an online exhibition from July 28 to July 30. And will partner with Alibaba on the tech side, in areas from artificial intelligence and cloud computing to purchasing and live-streaming.

This is not a big surprise given that everyone seems to have gone online, from cutesy Douyin accounts to status-building live-streaming events. At least when it comes to wine, you have to wonder how many of these lead to actual sales?

Anyway, this upcomingCFDF will be quite a change for those veterans used to big nights filled with clinking glasses, heavy drinking and cementing relations–and deals.

And not everyone is convinced.

“Come on,” says Carlos Miranda, who has wowed Chinese consumers with the whisky barrel-aged Spanish Tempranillo he imports. “Business is face to face. It’s drinking. It’s ganbei. It’s KTV.”

CFDF organizes two fairs per year, a Spring edition in Chengdu and a Fall edition that rotates around China. Word is this year’s Fall edition will be held in Jinan. More details as they become available.

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