Canton Fair – preparations

Attending trade fairs in China is a great opportunity to explore Chinese suppliers’ offers as well as form promising business relations. Every year in China, hundreds of trade shows are organized. Canton Fair, which takes place biannually, is both the biggest and the oldest such event. Each edition attracts 25,000 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors. The surface area of the exhibition complex is up to 1,185,000 square meters. If you want to attend such a tradeshow, you should prepare beforehand to make the most of the time spent there. We present you a guide, “Canton Fair – preparations.”

Canton Fair – preparations

Choose the right phase

Canton Fair takes place biannually, in spring and fall, in Guangzhou. The dates of the fair are the same every year.

Canton Fair is divided into three phases, each focusing on different industries. For example, during the first phase, there are suppliers of electronics and machinery. In case you are interested in everyday goods, the right phase will be the second one. If you want to source clothes, the third phase is for you.

Choosing the right phase is fundamental when planning to attend Canton Fair. Detailed information about the upcoming Canton Fair edition, with the list of exhibitors and the events map, can be found on the fair’s official website.

Plan the trip ahead of time

Since Canton Fair takes place at the same time every year, planning a trip in advance is very easy. It would be advised to book a flight ahead of time, especially because you can get the tickets for cheaper a few months before the trip. Considering the huge masses of people traveling to Guangzhou for the fair, you should not put off finding accommodation until the last minute. You should also check if your chosen hotel offers transportation to the place where the fair takes place. There are special buses from many hotels that ride to the exhibition center, making moving around much easier.

Don’t forget about a visa to China (if applicable). You can submit a visa application even a month earlier so that you can fulfill all the formalities stress-free. Visa applications may be submitted in Chinese consulates or Visa Application Service Centers.

Before the trip, we recommend registering online for Canton Fair. Registering on-site after arriving at the fair is possible but time-consuming. Online registration will save a lot of time, which would otherwise be spent standing in a long queue before the entrance.

If it is your first trip to Asia, you should consult with a health practitioner about a plan for needed vaccines. You should also buy appropriate insurance.

If it is your first time attending Canton Fair, you should prepare a photo in passport format and registration evidence so that you can receive your ID badge before entering the fair.

Canton Fair preparations for the tradeshow

Find out the most

The first day at the fair is best to be spent walking around the stalls from your industry to see what potentially interests you. The large number of booths at the Canton Fair may be overwhelming, so it is a good practice to make an initial selection online, look at catalogs, and make notes and photos. After returning to the hotel, when you still remember the suppliers and the products and everything is still fresh in your memory, go through the materials again without rushing and update your notes. Do not put it off because, after a few days spent at the fair, everything will become vague.

While walking around the booths, you should also exchange business cards with Chinese suppliers. Chinese application WeChat is popular among Chinese contractors as a communication method with potential partners. Therefore, you should download WeChat on your phone before attending Canton Fair.

You should prepare questions for Chinese suppliers beforehand. For example:

  • what is the MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity),
  • if the product has required markings,
  • if the company ships its products to your destination country,
  • if the factory agrees to have quality control conducted,
  • if the company accepts a letter of credit
  • and more.

It will allow you to select producers who fit your requirements the most.

Besides, we advise you to research the companies that caught your attention when you return to the hotel. For example: check if their products are available on Alibaba or Amazon and what the prices are. Remember that you should not make important business decisions on the sport; instead, you should carefully consider cooperating with a potential partner. After Canton Fair, you should verify the Chinese company you want to start doing business with. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that all exhibitors at the tradeshow are legit.

Prepare for your stay in China

How should you prepare for your trip to China?

  • One of the important things is exchanging currency for RMB.
  • If you have access to the Internet, you should buy a Chinese SIM card.
  • Before your trip to China, we would also recommend downloading Express VPN either on your computer or mobile device. Without it, you will not have access to blocked services in China. VPN is necessary if you want to use Facebook or Google services (for example, Gmail) during your stay in Guangzhou.
  • Make a separate email for each fair edition to avoid getting spammed – suppliers may send messages about orders or e-Christmas cards for many years.
  • Do not forget to bring a pair of comfortable shoes. The exhibition area is as huge as 240 football fields, so you should be prepared to walk a lot.
  • Also, remember that during spring and fall, the weather in Guangzhou may be different than in your country, so bring clothes appropriate for the weather. We advise you to take a backpack or a suitcase to the fairground for promotional materials and samples.

Make sure to read our comprehensive guide on Canton Fair.

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