Brand protection is definitely the first and most important step in business preparations with Chinese partners, regardless of whether you are buying or selling behind The Great Wall. Already today, the largest Chinese e-commerce platforms condition the admission of the product for sale upon presentation of the brand registration certificate issued by the China Trademark Office. You should report it for protection before you show it to your clients.
In China, anyone can submit your trademark for protection - your competitor, your client, supplier or even a outsider. And only if he is the first to apply for protection, he might do so according to local law. With the trademark registration certificate issued locally by the China Trademark Office, he becomes the full owner of the brand.
The most effective way to obtain brand protection in China is to apply directly to China and not by international institutions. Thanks to this, it will be processed faster. You will also be better protected against attempts to invalidate your trademark.
Do not wait with the application for protection at "after the fair" or when you will receive the purchase order. History shows that it may be too late. It is possible to recover the brand under some conditions, but it is expensive and takes a long time.