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9 Tips Help You More Effective on Canton Fair

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.

1. Registering the fair and get your visa to China

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.

2. Accommodation Booking

  • When is suitable to arrange your accommodation

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.

  • How to find a suitable area for accommodation?

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.

  • Which booking method you Recommend?

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.

  •   What should you do after your booking?

Remember to write down the hotel address and their contact info and note if they offer airport pickup service.

3. Packaging  for the Fair

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.

4. Online  information searching

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?

  • Find your niche product.
  • Position the industry and get the supplier’s info.
  • Search the background info of the suppliers and get their contact details. Highlight the ones you want to visit.
  • Email the suppliers you want to visit to check if they participate the fair or not, and show your willingness to visit their booth or plant (if they do not go to the Fair).
  • Schedule your time during the fair based on your communication with the supplier, and make a visiting plan for the fair.

5. Phone Apps needs to be installed and VPN for internet connection

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.

6. Looking for a Translator

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:

  • We suggest you find one from the translation company in advance. You can find lan bridge to get one or some other translation operators you deemed reliable.
  • You can also go to Upwork to upload your needs and get one on it.
  • You can get one at the lobby in the Fair. It will be a little expensive.
  • You can find one near the Fair. There will be a lot of interpreters hold a paper reading “English Translator, French Translator”, it may be expensive too, maybe about 500-800 RMB ($100-$150 USD).

Normally, all the exhibitors will have their own interpreters for a smooth communication and inquiry.

7. Local SIM card for your phone

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.

  • There are three major SIM card operators: China Telecom’s China Unicom Office and China Mobile. Just choose one of them and go to the business office to get one with your passport.
  • You can get one once you are off the plane. There will be a stand to register a SIM card in the lobby in the airport, you can get one when you land immediately without any registration.
  • Get one at a phone store. Generally, phone outlets are easy for you to get a temporary SIM card without any registration.

8. Simple language with a pleasant body pose for the navigation

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.

9.  Questions for the Fair and the Pitfalls to be noticed

Basic Questions preparation:

  • Do you produce X? This is to inquire if the supplier produces the product  If yes, you could continue to inquiry the details, if no, please move on and find the next booth.
  • Are you manufacturing these products or just a trading corporation? This is to inquire if the supplier is a manufacturer or a trader.  Generally, most exhibitors are working with factories. Here is one tip for you to differentiate them: factories are more likely to specialize in selling a specific category, while traders are more likely to sell different categories.
  • Which country do you export to? Generally, some countries have a huge difference in quality standards. Beware of factories that export to the Middle East or African countries. We recommend you to pick one that dealing business with countries like America or countries from Europe.
  • Do you produce other products? This is an inquiry if you could add potential new products to your brand.
  • Are you able to private label for me?  This is very important if you are selling at Amazon or you are a middleman in your area.
  • What is the cost and minimum order quantity (MOQ)? This is just to get an idea of the price from the supplier. You can also get a more accurate quote later. Make sure it’s in your home currency and not in RMB.
  • Ask for a sample. You can find more on the sample and check the product quality immediately.

Pitfalls to be avoided:

  • Do not spend too much time on unqualified suppliers. To save your time and visit suppliers as many as possible, please move on quality suppliers.
  • Do not waste time negotiating the price. Please do not want to get an accurate price just within the exhibition period. It’s impossible. Just get a rough price and move on for later follow up.
  • Do not forget to follow up. This is how to get reliable suppliers and check your navigation result.

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.



About the author

Sharline is the founder of LeelineSourcing.com. With 10 years of experience sourcing in China, She loves to share knowledge and ideas in sourcing bussiness.She writes only the truths which others are normally not willing to tell. This makes her posts distinguishable from other import & export articles.

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