Canton Fair – Ultimate Guide 2024

Canton Fair is the largest, longest-running, and most popular Chinese trade show. It takes place twice a year in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong Province. Each edition attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees and tens of thousands of exhibitors. Canton Fair 2024 is an on-site and online event for importers and exporters from all over the world. For you, we prepared Canton Fair – Ultimate Guide 2024, where you can find the most important information in one place.

Canton Fair – Ultimate Guide 2024

What is Canton Fair?

The Canton Fair is the biggest trade fair in the world. It has been running since the late 1950s. The trade show is organized by the China Foreign Trade Center (CFTC). It is a massive event where (mainly) Chinese suppliers and manufacturers showcase their products. Attendees from over 200 countries and regions come to find out what’s new in their industry, network, and source products.

China Pazhou Complex

How does it work? Suppliers/manufacturers show off their products (product samples) at booths. The attendees (buyers) walk around the venue to talk to the exhibitors and test samples. The main objective is to deliver new solutions and the best products to consumers. If you want to source Chinese goods, this is a place you want to be.

Website: cantonfair.org.cn

Where is Canton Fair 2024?

Canton Fair 2024 is held in the China Import and Export Fair (Pazhou) Complex in Guangzhou. The full address is Pazhou Complex, Yuejiangzhong Road 382, Haizhu, Guangzhou. You can show the Chinese address to your taxi driver when getting to the venue in Guangzhou: 中国广州市海珠区阅江中路382号、中国进出口商品交易会展馆.

Canton Fair Complex is one of the largest exhibition centers in the world (over 800,000 sqm). You can be pleasantly surprised if it is not your first on-site Canton Fair. During the pandemic outbreak, the Canton Fair Complex was expanded, and high-tech elements were introduced to elevate the trade show experience.

Guangzhou Pazhou Complex on map

Guangzhou in China map
China Import and Export Fair Complex in Guangzhou

Canton Fair Pazhou Complex – fairground map

You can check the layout for each Canton Fair phase in our post: Canton Fair map.

Canton Fair hall plan
Source: ciefc.com

When is Canton Fair 2024?

Canton Fair is split into two sessions, spring and fall.

  • 135th Canton Fair 2024 spring edition:
    • April 15-19, 2024
    • April 23-27, 2024
    • May 1-5, 2024
  • 136th Canton Fair 2024 fall edition:
    • October 15-19, 2024
    • October 23-27, 2024
    • October 31-November 4, 2024
Canton Fair ultimate guide trade show complex

The fair is so large that the on-site edition is broken down into three phases. Each phase focuses on different industries and showcases different product categories. Canton Fair can be overwhelming, so decide which phase you want to visit before registering for the fair. Think about your strategy, and what products you want to source and sell in the destination market.

Canton Fair Phase 1

The first phase of the Canton Fair is all about electronic devices, lighting, vehicles, machinery, tools, and building materials. Phase 1 dates: April 15-19, 2024, and October 15-19, 2024.

Electronics & household electrical appliances

  • consumer electronics and information products
    • audio-video products
    • digital entertainment products
    • communications
    • power products (batteries)
    • computer products (peripherals, network equipment, software)
    • other electronic products
  • electronic and electrical products
    • electronic security equipment
    • business automation equipment
    • electronic & electrician products
    • electric equipment
  • household electrical appliances
    • kitchen appliances
    • refrigerators & refrigeration equipment
    • air conditioners & ventilation equipment
    • washing & drying machinery
    • other small electrical appliances
  • lighting equipment
    • application of illumination system
    • electric light source
    • light fittings

Vehicles & spare parts

  • bicycles, electric scooters & parts
  • motorcycles, beach cars & parts
  • vehicles
  • vehicle spare parts
    • lubricants & fuel supply spare parts
    • tires
    • vehicle spare parts & optimization equipment
    • maintenance & related products
    • vehicle decorations

Machinery

  • power machinery and electric power
  • general machinery, small processing machinery and accessories
    • general machinery
    • small processing machinery
    • industrial parts
    • instruments
    • camera instruments
    • printing apparatus
    • household sewing machines & spare parts, weaving supplies
    • transport equipment
    • car repairing equipment
  • construction machinery
    • construction and agriculture machinery (indoor area)
    • construction and agriculture machinery (outdoor open area)
  • large machinery & equipment
    • large machinery production
    • lines of various light industry products

Hardware & tools

  • hardware: furniture & decoration hardware, locks and fittings, wire meshes, welding materials, low-pressure valves, water-heating equipment, castings and forgings, fasteners, sundry hardware, other hardware products
  • tools: tools for measuring, grinding, welding, cutlery, cutting, and farming; manual tools, electric tools, pneumatic tools, hydraulic tools, mechanical tools

New material & chemical products

  • inorganic & organic chemicals
  • agricultural chemicals
  • dyes, pigments, paints, and intermediates
  • plastics and plastic products
  • rubber and rubber products

New energy vehicle & smart travel

New energy:

  • solar photovoltaic products & parts, solar cells and modules, photovoltaic engineering and system, raw material, production equipment, application products
  • solar-thermal products: heater, heat pump, collector, solar air conditioner
  • wind power products and accessories
  • other new energy resources products
Canton Fair Phases

Canton Fair Phase 2 

The second phase of the Canton Fair is focused on general consumer goods (household products, personal care products), gifts, toys, furniture, and festive products. Phase 2 dates: April 23-27, 2024, and October 23-27, 2024.

Building materials

  • building and decorative materials
    • building materials: general building materials, coatings/chemistry, pipe fittings
    • decoration materials: tiles, wood floor, ceiling/curtain wall/wallpaper and indoor decoration, ceiling/curtain wall/wallpaper and indoor decorations, doors & windows, stone materials, glass
    • kitchen equipment: kitchen units, cabinets, washing basins, kitchen hanging storage
  • sanitary and bathroom equipment

Consumer goods

  • kitchenware & tableware
    • stainless steel containers, enamel containers
    • dining table items and decorations
    • kitchenware
  • general ceramics
    • tableware, kitchenware, and daily use ceramics for family use & hotel use
    • other tableware, kitchenware, and daily use ceramics
  • household items
    • cleaning products
    • general houseware
    • personal care products
    • cosmetics and accessories
    • skin-care products
    • hair-care products and accessories
    • tooth care products
    • nail beauty supplies

Gifts

  • clocks, watches & optical instruments
    • clocks
    • clock & watch parts
    • watches
    • spectacles & accessories
  • gifts and premiums
    • polystyrene crafts
    • traditional Chinese art crafts
    • jewelry, bone carvings and jade sculptures
    • marketing gifts and premiums
    • paper and wrappings
  • festival products
    • party supplies & decorations
    • holidays supplies and decorations

Home decorations

  • art ceramics
    • artistic ceramics
    • craft ceramics
    • horticultural and gardening ceramics
  • glass artware
    • glassware
    • glass decorations
    • other glass artware
  • weaving, rattan, and iron arts
    • bamboo crafts, wood crafts, grass crafts, wickerwork
    • rattan and iron artworks
  • other home decorations
    • decorative candles, candles holders and related products
    • paintings, painting frames, photo frames, mirrors
    • desktop supplies
    • door and window decorations, wall decorations
    • artificial flowers
  • gardening products
    • flowers and nursery stocks
    • dry/artificial flowers
    • potted landscapes
    • horticultural tools
    • outdoor supplies
    • horticultural supplies: plant accessories, necessary supplies, horticultural decorations
    • fishes, birds and animals for display and decoration
    • other horticultural supplies
  • stone/iron decoration & outdoor spa equipment
    • sculpture products of stone
    • outdoor spa equipment and spares, swimming pool equipment
  • furniture
    • furniture of traditional Chinese style
    • furniture for domestic indoors
    • hotel, office, school, hospital furniture
    • outdoor furniture
    • furniture for public places
    • semi-finished and spare parts
Booths at Canton Fair

Canton Fair Phase 3 

The third phase of the Canton Fair brings together exhibitors of textiles and clothing, footwear, home textiles, office supplies, sports products, medical devices & medicines, and food. Phase 3 dates: May 1-5, 2024, and October 31-November 4, 2024.

Other consumer goods

  • mother & infant products
  • personal care appliances
  • pet products & food
  • toiletries
    • bathroom products
    • bath appliances

Toys

  • baby toys
  • electromotive, remote controlling and clockwork toys
  • action toys
  • educational games & toys
  • plush and cloth toys
  • dolls 
  • children’s ride, babe carriages, mini bicycles
  • musical toys
  • inflatable toys
  • other toys and toys accessories

Textiles & garments

  • men and women’s clothes
    • women’s clothing
    • men’s clothing
    • eveningwear and wedding dresses
    • uniforms, work suits and others
  • kids’ wear
    • tops, skirts, trousers, dresses, coats
    • infant and maternity wear
  • underwear, nightgowns, pajamas, bathrobe, home wear
  • sports and casual wear
  • furs, leather, downs & related products
    • fur & fur products
    • leather & leather products
    • down & down products
    • cashmere & cashmere products
    • other products
  • fashion accessories and fittings
  • home textiles
    • bed linen, mosquito nets
    • home decoration textiles
    • bathroom textiles
    • table textiles
    • other textiles
  • textile raw materials, yarns & fabrics; garments accessories
  • carpets & tapestries
    • machine-made carpets
    • handmade carpets
    • tapestries
    • other flooring materials

Shoes 

  • men’s shoes, women’s shoes
  • sports shoes
  • kids’ shoes
  • shoes & boots for other special use and semi-finished products

Office supplies, cases & bags, and recreation products

  • office supplies
    • pens & inks
    • file storage
    • office supplies
    • paper products
    • labels
    • desk decorations
    • office automation products & equipment, consumable office supplies
  • cases and bags
    • cases of daily use
    • briefcases
    • bags
    • other cases, bags, and accessories
  • sports, travel, and recreation products
    • sports products: indoor & outdoor sports products, water sports & diving equipment, sports souvenirs
    • travel and recreation products: fishing tools, barbeque tools, casual outdoor products, musical instruments, games of chess and pokers, outdoor tour articles

Medicines, medical devices, and health products

  • medicines, health products and medical devices
    • Chinese traditional herbs, Chinese herbs, plants extract
    • chemical and biological drugs
    • health products
    • hairdressing and beauty care products
    • home medical care products
    • reproductive health products and equipment
    • health and rehabilitation equipment
    • medical dressing, disposable consumable material
    • diagnostic and therapeutic equipment
    • various surgical & medical electronic instruments
    • clinical laboratory instruments
  • hospital auxiliary devices
    • disinfection and sterilization products, oxygen-making and supply equipment, blood bank facilities, water treatment equipment, low-temperature freezing facilities
    • equipment for the disabled
    • telemedicine system, hospital information system, hospital office automation system, hospital application software
    • protection devices and protection devices on nuclear radiation
    • hospital general devices, hospital beds, hospital ambulances, stretchers, and other first-aid articles
    • various operating tables and specialized equipment
    • medicine monitoring and analysis devices
    • laboratory biological instruments
    • medical furniture

Food 

  • food: cereals and oils, meat and products, eggs and dairy products, aquatic products and products, fruits and products, vegetables and products, condiments, sugar and sugar food, cakes and biscuits, food additives, bee products, other food
  • beverages: beer, spirits, wines, coffee, fruit juice, drinking water, other drinks, tea
  • food packaging and related products
Canton Fair ultimate guide phases

Online Canton Fair

Since 2020, the on-site event has been integrated with or replaced with an online trade show. The online event is not split into phases; exhibitors from all industries are available throughout the whole period. In 2024, the online platform will go live too.

For the 135th Canton Fair, the online platform will be launched from March 16 to September 15, 2024. During this period, registered buyers can (some features are time-limited):

  • explore the exhibitors’ and products’ catalog
  • communicate with exhibitors regardless of the products’ scope
  • make lists of favorite products
  • watch live streams and ask questions in the chat (during the on-site fair)
  • book virtual appointments
  • port sourcing requests

Canton Fair 2024 exhibitor list

Each Canton Fair edition boasts about 25,000 exhibitors. It is the best selection of suppliers (some are not listed on Alibaba and other B2B sites). There are always new products to explore that are a total novelty in the market. The Canton Fair online catalog has fifty-five sections in thirteen product categories. The best products get awards like the Canton Fair Design Award (CF Award).

If you browse the catalog and see a product you want to source and make some modifications, contact the supplier to work out the details. This way, your product will be one-of-a-kind in the market, which is a huge advantage. Just do not forget to get exclusivity for the design on the chosen market!

How to register for the Canton Fair 2024?

The good news is the buyer (attendee) registration for the Canton Fair is free. You do not have to set up a new account if you already have one.

Canton Fair online attendance registration step-by-step

  1. Go to cantonfair.org.cn/en-US/register/index
  2. Select “Overseas Buyer” (if you are not based in Mainland China) 
  3. Choose one of the options: 
  • “I have a buyer badge” if this is not your first Canton Fair and you already have the Buyer Badge (verify via Overseas Buyer Badge or ID number, then set email and password)
  • “I don’t have a buyer badge” if you do not have an account and the Canton Fair Buyer Badge
  • “login” to log in to an existing account
  1. If you choose the “I don’t have a Buyer Badge” option, complete the form, agree to the terms, and click “Submit.” To get more benefits from the online platform, verify your email address and complete your profile information.
Canton Fair registration

If you want to attend the on-site event, after registration, apply for an invitation card:

  • before March 30 for the spring session
  • before September 30 for the fall session

The next step is to go to the Canton Fair website and choose “Pre-application for Buyers Badge” to apply for a badge.

Tickets for Canton Fair 2024

The overseas buyer ticket for Canton Fair 2024 booked online is free! If it is your first edition of the Canton Fair, you have to collect your Buyer Badge before entering the exhibition. You can get the badge at the Canton Fair or your hotel (if possible) to avoid long lines. Registering on-site costs around $20. Do not forget to take a passport photo and a paper copy of your badge registration to the counter to create the IC Badge. If you do forget, you will be charged about $5 for the service.

Canton Fair ultimate guide registration

How to get the most out of Canton Fair?

General tips on attending the Canton Fair in China

  • register for the fair and explore the Canton Fair online catalog
  • set clear goals and have a checklist (exhibitors, products, networking)
  • sort out your travels: book flight tickets and accommodation (hotel prices in Guangzhou at the time of the event are high), get a visa if you need one at least a month before the departure date (you need the flight and hotel info for visa application), buy health insurance and get vaccinated
  • regardless of the session, pack breathable clothes for warm and humid weather
  • choose comfortable shoes, preferably a pair of sneakers; you will walk over 15,000 steps a day
  • download the WeChat app on your phone; it is the most popular app for communicating with Chinese suppliers
  • consider linking your bank card to your WeChat account to pay conveniently with your phone in China; if you are not comfortable with it, get a Revolut card
  • buy a Chinese SIM card and exchange currency (preferably in your country)
  • get a separate email address for Canton Fair that you share with exhibitors and other fair participants (you will get a lot of spam emails)
  • it is not uncommon for vendors to give out promotional materials and samples (especially on the last day), so get a backpack or a small wheeled luggage
  • since some websites are blocked in China, download a VPN app such as Express VPN to access Google services, Facebook, Twitter, and alike
  • avoid drinking tap water in China; the hotel will provide you with bottled water
  • if you get hungry, head to the food court or a restaurant at the fairground since there are not many options near the venue (be ready for a long queue at noon)
Canton Fair food court

Communicating with suppliers at the fair 

  • if possible, book appointments with suppliers
  • even if you do not speak Chinese, hiring an interpreter is not a necessity, but it will make the negotiations easier; there is usually at least one person in each stand who speaks basic English 
  • for communication and other purposes, like translating information in the venue and out in the city, download Google Translate or Pleco
  • have your business cards printed out and get a business card holder; remember always to give and receive business cards using two hands in China and take a look at the received card before putting it away
  • get a notebook/notepad to write down your ideas and information during meetings or presentations (you can staple business cards inside)
  • bring a camera to document the trip (ask for permission to take photos, especially photos of samples)
  • write down all the questions you want to ask suppliers/manufacturers (lead time, MOQ, production base, etc.) and think about the information they may be interested in
  • get a rough price and negotiate the final price after the fair to save time
  • do not forget to send follow-up emails 
  • you are not obliged to place an order at the fair; take the time to consider the pros and cons and make an informed decision

Exhibiting at the Canton Fair increases brand exposure, and scammers take advantage of that, so make sure to verify a potential Chinese business partner (we do it in 48 hours!) before placing your order.

Canton Fair ultimate guide exhibitors

How to get to Canton Fair

Getting to Guangzhou

Guangzhou has an international airport, but direct flights from the US/Europe are very limited (some of the options are London LHR, Paris CDG, Amsterdam AMS, Frankfurt FRA, and New York JFK).

How to get to Guangzhou from Hong Kong

If you land at Hong Kong International Airport, take the MTR train to the Hung Hom Railway Station, then a train to Guangzhou East Station (2 hours trip).

How to get to Guangzhou from Beijing

To get from an airport in Beijing to Guangzhou, choose a flight to Guangzhou (3 hours).

How to get to Guangzhou from Shanghai

If you land at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, take a domestic flight to Guangzhou (over 2 hours).

Our tip: Google Maps does not work well in China, so if your phone runs on Android, download Baidu Maps.

Public transportation in China

Getting around Guangzhou 

Guangzhou is a modern Chinese city, and many signs have an English version. Getting around the city is easy since it is very well-connected. You can get to the Canton Fair venue:

By taxi

Getting around in taxis in China is very affordable. If you cannot communicate in Mandarin, show the Chinese address to the taxi driver (if the driver does not recognize it, change cabs). To get back to your hotel, show the hotel card. Do not get into a “black cab,” and make sure that the meter is running!

By metro

If you plan to use the metro, get a multiple-day pass (3, 5) because it is cost-efficient. Get on line 8 to Wanshengwei and get off at Pazhou via Exit C (the closest to the Buyers Registration building). We do not recommend public transport around 5 pm-7 pm because it gets crowded.

By bus

Aside from shuttle buses that run from partner hotels, there are several city buses that can get you to the venue. Get on a bus running to the Canton Fair Exhibition Hall (Express line B7, 229, 239, 262, 304, 582, 763, 988 lines).

By train

If you are getting to the venue from a train station, get off at Guangzhou East and hail a taxi to Pazhou Complex.

Canton Fair Ultimate Guide

Canton Fair 2024 – more information

Travelers from most countries have to get a Chinese visa to get to China. To apply for a Chinese business visa (type M), submit the Letter of Invitation from the Canton Fair organizer with your application at your local Visa Application Center

Is Canton Fair expensive?

Even though the tickets for the Canton Fair are free, if you are not based in Guangzhou, it costs money. You have to factor in:

  • visa fee
  • vaccines shot payment
  • travel insurance
  • hotel bookings
  • flight bookings
  • transportation fares in China
  • meals
  • translation service

The total cost may go up to several thousand USD/EUR.

Canton Fair is the biggest trade show in the world. Attending the fair as a buyer gives you a competitive advantage and puts you ahead of traders who skip the event. It is a true adventure. Do not miss out on the benefits of attending the Canton Fair, and secure your place now!

Check out our blog post on sourcing from China, or talk to our representatives at ExamineChina to learn about doing business in China.