The China import and export fair, widely known as the Canton Trade Fair, due to the name of the city it is being held, is the biggest trade fair in the world. Since 1957, the Canton Trade Fair has taken place for 60 years. It takes place 2 times a year, in April (Spring section) and October (autumn section). Each Canton Trade Fair has 3 phases. The area of the fair is 1,180,000 m2, with more than 20,000 stands in each phase. Around 200,000 visitors from more than 200 countries attend the trade fair each time.
1st phase (15-19 Apr / Oct): Electronics and household electrical appliances, lighting equipment, vehicles and spare parts, machinery, hardware and tools, building materials, chemical products and energy resources.
2nd phase (23-27 Apr / Oct): Kitchenware and tableware, household items, personal care products, toiletries, pet products and food, toys, gifts and premiums, festival products, home decorations, furniture, gardening items.
3rd phase (1 - 5 May / 31 Oct - 4 Nov): Textiles and garments, shoes, fashion accessories (Bags, hats...) office supplies, cases and bags, sports, travel and recreation products, medicines, health products and medical devices, food.
Top 10 Canton Fair tips:
It is recommended to stay in a 4* or 5* hotel, as they will have better breakfasts and usually organize shuttle buses from hotel to Canton Fair in the morning, and vice versa in the evening. 3* hotels or economic hotels usually just have Chinese style breakfasts (Such as congees, noodles, rice, Chinese bread ....) or even no breakfasts, and most of them do not have transport connecting to the fair (Some may have shuttle buses going to the Canton Fair, but they are usually quite early and visitors have to stay outside the fair for long time before the fair starts).
Canton is a big city. We recommend you to stay in Yuexiu district or Tianhe district, which are city centers and provide many restaurants and shopping malls within, so that you can walk around in the evening after one day of work in the fair. These districts are also 20-minute by car from the Canton Fair. Other districts, such as Baiyun, Huangpu, Panyu are far from city center, there is nothing much going on in the evenings, and it takes 1 hour to travel from hotel to Canton Fair and vice versa, every day.
Not a good idea to attend more than one phase of the Canton Fair because the Canton Fair is HUGE. You will lose a lot of time, energy (On average we walk 7 km or 15,000 steps daily in this fair) and money (the hotels are expensive during the Canton Trade Fair, even for 3* hotels) if you walking in the fair without a real purpose and do not find the products you really need. It is better to focus on what you need and visit the phase of the fair which has it.
Each phase of the Canton Fair lasts for 5 days, but with our experience, 3 - 4 days are totally enough for each phase. Moreover, the exhibitors start to pack from midday onwards, on the last day of each phrase, therefore you will not see many products in the last day of the fair either.
Not a good idea to bring babies or children to the Canton Fair. The fair is HUGE. Even adults feel tired walking in this biggest trade fair in the world, not to mention children. Nightmare guaranteed for you and your kid if you are bringing them to the fair.
Wear comfortable shoes to the fair since you will walk a lot.
You will take a lot of catalogues of different products in the Canton Fair, they are heavy. It is recommended to bring an empty suitcase with you to the fair to carry all catalogues you will get from the fair.
You will need a lot of business cards to exchange them with the people from different factories. You need minimum 200 business cards. (We can help you print your business cards before your arrival. )
If it is your first time visiting the Canton Trade Fair, you can apply for the entry pass at the entrance of the fair. You need to prepare RMB 100 (USD 16), one photo (You can take photo at the entrance, it costs USD 10) and your business card. You may use the same entry pass for all Canton Trade Fair in the future.
In the fair, you will be able to encounter factories and trading companies. Factories are the ones which manufacture the goods. While trading companies are not factories, they buy from different factories and sell their products in the name of the trading company. Normally trading companies accept the clients to buy a variety of products from their offer, in a less quantity per item basis, and consolidate all products a container. But the price is usually higher due to less quantity per item, and the work of the trading company to help clients consolidate the container. Meanwhile, factories normally need a higher minimum order quantity and yet cheaper price. Therefore, depending on your business nature, you may decide to buy from factories or trading companies.
The Canton Fair is a fair of a variety of products of different industries, it is good for visitors who are interested in products in different industries, or who want to widen their range of import or products.
However, if you dedicate to one industry, perhaps there is another trade show in China that is more focused in your business, and so better for you. Tell us what is your business dedicated at, your intention to visit the fair, and what products exactly are you looking to import from China. We will then suggest you if the Canton Fair, or if there is another fair, that will serve you better.
Do not underestimate the difficulty of traveling to China alone, without a translator or guide, especially for the first time:
- Change USD or EURO to RMB? There is no exchange house in the city, because there is monetary control. You can change your money at the bank, but you have to wait in line and the bank always asks for many documents. - Pay by credit card? Many places still do not accept VISA or MASTER, for monetary control. - Use Whatsapp, Google, Facebook, Instagram? They do not work under the Chinese Internet, because they are banned. - Take the high speed train on your own? All notices at the station are in Chinese language. - Service? This concept does not exist in China - Consistency of doing things logistically? Nop, things change quickly in China, always without warning. What worked last time may not work this time. - Communication? Most Chinese people do not have good communication skill. Besides, what they say may not be what they mean, they may say it because they want to give you "face" or save "face" for their own selves. That is why you need a local person to accompany and help you read under the lines of your Chinese counterparts.
That is why you need a guide or translator who helps you plan your trip well in advance, and accompanies you during your trip. We know that each client group has its objective, so all our services in China are tailor-designed, according to your needs.