The Canton Fair

The Canton Fair is a trade fair held in the spring and autumn seasons each year since the spring of 1957 in Canton (Guangzhou) China. It is the oldest, the largest, and the most representative trade fair in China.  The full name is China Import and Export Fair. The event is co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of China and the government of Guangdong Province. The China Foreign Trade Centre organizes it.

the Canton Fair

The Canton Fair

The last edition of the trade fair (spring 2019) in all three phases gathered 195,454 buyers. The number of exhibitors amounted to 24,846 in National Pavilion and 650 in International Pavilion. Exhibition space was 1,185,000 M2. Business Turnover (National Pavilion) was 29.73 Billion USD.

When?

The Canton Fair is held twice a year: in the spring edition at the turn of April and May and in the autumn edition at the turn of October and November. It will be the 126th  edition of the trade fair. Canton Fair autumn edition:

  • 15th to 19th of October (Phase 1),
  • 23rd to 27th  of October 2019 (Phase 2)
  • 31st of October to 4th of November 2019 (Phase 3).

Canton Fair spring edition:

  • 15th to 19th of April (Phase 1),
  • 23rd to 27th of April (Phase 2),
  • 1st to 5th of May (Phase 3).

Canton Fair is held on the same dates every year.

Where?

The largest modernized exhibition center in Asia is located in Pazhou Island, Guangzhou, China. It is also known as a Guangzhou International Convention & Exhibition Center or Pazhou International Exhibition Center. This is where the Canton Fair is taking place every year. The complex covers a total area of 1,100,000 M2 with the indoor exhibition area of 338,000 M2 and the outdoor exhibition area of 43,600 M2.

The Canton Fair – Phases

Due to its huge scale, the Canton Fair divides into three phases.  In each phase, products from different industries are presented. The trade fair is divided into the following thematic areas:

Phase 1

  • Electronics & Household,
  • Electrical Appliances Lighting Equipment,
  • Vehicles & Spare Parts Machinery,
  • Hardware & Tools,
  • Building Materials,
  • Chemical Products,
  • Energy Resources,
  • International Pavilion.

Phase 2

  • Consumer Goods,
  • Gifts,
  • Home Decorations.

Phase 3

  • Textiles & Garments
  • Shoes,
  • Office Supplies,
  • Cases & Bags,
  • Recreation Products Medicines,
  • Medical Devices and Health Products,
  • Food,
  • International Pavilion.

the Canton Fair

Canton Fair – How to register?

To get a ticket to the Canton Fair, you need to register on the official website. You need to click on “Pre-registration for Buyers Badge”. Within three working days, your application will be processed, and you will receive an e-mail with confirmation of your registration. Registration for the autumn edition lasts from 1st  of August to 4th of November.

Through the website, you can also apply for an Invitation Letter, which you can use to your business visa application. Print out the registration confirmation and show it at the trade fair in Canton to pick up the entry badge. What is more, you need to show your passport to verify your identity.

Although it is possible to register directly upon arrival at the fair, we recommend doing this online. It will allow you to save a lot of time, which otherwise you would spend waiting in a long queue before entering.

Canton Fair – How to prepare?

  • Choose the phase you are most interested in and consider what products you will be looking for,
  • Check out the list of suppliers and their products on the Canton Fair website and prepare a list of questions you would like to ask,
  • Prepare a large number of your business cards as well as ask suppliers for them,
  • In China the most popular messenger is WeChat, it is worth to install it before arrival,
  • Dress comfortably, and most importantly wear comfortable shoes. The area of the hall where the fair is held is huge, so you have to prepare for long walks between the stands. The weather in the Canton in October is quite humid, so we advise you to adjust your wardrobe to this as well,
  • Prepare your departure in advance (book flights and hotels). If you book flights in advance, you can find favorable price offers. Hundreds of thousands of people come to the Canton Fair so don’t make your hotel reservation at the last minute,
  • Don’t worry, you don’t need to hire a Chinese translator. Most suppliers will communicate in English.

Canton Fair – What to remember

  • Chinese visa is a prerequisite for going to China. The most appropriate visa to travel to the Canton Fair will be a business visa (M visa). You should apply for a visa 2-3 weeks in advance to have enough time for all paperwork and to avoid unnecessary stress.
  • If you are planning a visit to nearby Hong Kong, remember that entering Hong Kong means leaving China. A visa to China entitles you to a single entry, so in this case you will not be able to return to China again on the same visa.
  • Before traveling to China, we also recommend installing VPN on your computer or mobile device. Without it, you won’t have access to many services which are blocked in China. A VPN is necessary if you want to use e. g. Facebook or Google during your stay in the Canton.

Canton Fair – Safety

The Cantonese Fair attracts not only serious businessmen but also a whole swarm of fraudsters ready to feed on unsuspecting foreigners. Beware of counterfeit banknotes and counterfeit branded products (clothing, electronics). There is a crowd of people, products and offers at the trade fair. After the event, you may feel stunned. Therefore, it is important not to make any business decisions under the influence of emotions. During the trade fair, we encourage you to take notes so that you can compare all of them calmly and then make a decision. Before placing any order, we recommend verifying Chinese company.

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