Canton Fair, officially known as China Import and Export Fair since 2007 when it was renamed from Chinese Export Commodities Fair, is co-hosted by the government of Guangdong Province and the Ministry of Commerce of China. It enjoys 61 years history since its inauguration in 1957.
The fair was a trade fair mainly for exporting and it has emerged as the largest and most comprehensive representative trading fair attracting over 180,000 buyers and 60,000 suppliers with the rising development of China’s economy. The event kicks off in the spring and autumn seasons each year in Canton, Guangzhou, China.
As a face-to-face event, all visitors and exhibitors are available to experience the entire exhibition in person, you can access thousands of entrepreneurs, vendors, and dealers congregating at the same place then. You will get all the important information including the industry trend and your competitors as all as other industries.
Canton Fair, bringing China to the World, it is a fantastic opportunity for you to keep updated and connected with the trend of the industry you deal with and the world. Here are the tips for you to keep in mind to prepare the journey for it.
To attend the Fair, you are required to register the Canton Fair Invitation website, fill your information and apply the invitation letter. After you got the invitation letter, we recommend you to visit the Canton Fair Website, and choose “Pre-application for Buyers Badge” to get a badge. Please go to the registration site for further reference. It is good to have your passport and a digital passport portrait of yourself on hand, as to create your buyer’s badge they will need a photo of you. If for some reason, you are getting your visa a different way, a buyer’s badge will cost 100RMB (or ~$15) then apply for your visa with the letter.
With the invitation in your hand, you need to go to the Chinese embassy near you, bring a visa application form, your passport, and a copy of your Canton Fair invitation. If there is not an embassy close to you, you can always hire a third party to take care of all the work.
Generally, it is difficult for you to book a hotel when the fair kicks off. You’d better book hotels online about a month in advance.
It will be quite convenient for you to find a hotel that is close to the fair. Generally, hotels which are closer to the fair will be more expensive. We suggest you book a hotel that is around half-an-hour ride to get the place. If you are on a budget, you can also find a hotel that is close to Line 8 where the fair is located. For another choice, if you’ve already worked with Chinese factories, you can also ask them to order it and negotiate on behalf of you to get a cost-effective room. Below is the hotel map around the area for your reference. The area circled with the red line is the Fair complex, and the area circled with blue shall be the ideal accommodation area.
We recommend booking.com or Airbnb for booking. Besides, you can also go to the Registration Office setup in appointed hotels get one of the partnered hotels with the fair, which will offer you a regular bus taking you from your accommodation to the fair during the exhibition period. Last but not least, Hotel for the Fair is another option for you, you can reserve the room directly for the fair.
Remember to write down the hotel address and their contact info and note if they offer airport pickup service.
In order to be effective in the navigation for the fair, you need to package all the below including Business cards, pen and notebook, USB charger and charging cable for your phone and USB disk or a cloud disk for selfies. Bring more business cards than you think as it will make you much more professional and decent. Pen and notebook are for you to jot down important info and get what you need for later analysis. A USB charger shall be prepared in the event that your phone gets powered off. Besides, remember to check the weather to take appropriate clothes and shoes. In addition, a wheeled bag is a recommendation to save your pain on your back. You will be loaded with a ton of samples and pamphlets.
You will get a mass of pamphlets during the fair. To make your trip much more focused, a research to will free you from aimless navigation during the fair.
How to do an effective research for the Fair?
Guangzhou Metro: It will be a lifesaver as it will show the time of the MTR when you travel.
Jet Tag App: We recommend you Jet Lag Rooster to calculate your flight and give you suggestions on when to take in daylight and when to sleep.
Evernote: This is a great App to capture notes. You can capture pictures and lines of notes and links as well as some audio files.
WeChat( the Chinese equivalent to WhatsApp): Please install the App from your App store as it is a universal App in China. It is very great for you to schedule meetings with the suppliers and keeps in touch with your family. With WeChat on your phone, you could scan the QR codes of the supplier and add suppliers contact for further communication. But remember to revise the alias of the supplier to remind you of their business scope or products. If you bind your bank card on your Wechat account, you can also pay for daily buying. Please join all the groups, if you want to optimize your time, are lost, need a translation, or have a product question, just ask the groups and they will fire back answers.
Alipay: It’s the commonest payment method in China for taxi, meals, hotel, and the supermarket almost all daily things you can buy in China. You can install it on your phone and get your credit cards or bank cards bounded under your name. You just need to ask the boss to scan your payment QR code when you need to buy anything.
Translation App: Google Translate is highly recommended in case you need help from a Chinese who knows little about English. You can install it from App Store. And have your words translated into Chinese and show them your problems.
VPN: Express VPN is the top one choice for you. As you know, all Google related apps are blocked in China. Please remember to get a good VPN and set it up on all your devices before your departure to the Fair. It will free you from the pain on your butt with the internet connection.
Actually, we do not recommend you to get a translator as we know there is someone who is able to communicate in English in each booth. If you still need one, here are the ways for your reference:
Normally, all the exhibitors will have their own interpreters for a smooth communication and inquiry.
A local SIM card is quite necessary for you to smoothen your stay in China. So, please remember to take additional unblocked handsets to insert the card after you land on the land. Generally speaking, there are three ways for you to get a SIM card.
Remember to use simple language when you navigate the fair complex. If you get any communication difficulty, please speak slowly and clearly with simple words. Besides, a big smile will be agreeable to all suppliers.
Basic Questions preparation:
Pitfalls to be avoided:
For the follow-ups, if you still get concerned about your orders with Chinese suppliers, Leelinesourcing will be the one you need to get your orders and delivery done. Anyway, good luck with your trip.