A ultimate guide to Canton Fair, Guangzhou, China

Canton Trade Fair Introduction
Founded in the spring of 1957, the China Import and Export Fair (Namely Canton Fair, formerly known as Chinese Export Commodities Fair), referred to as the Canton Fair is currently the largest comprehensive international trade event with the best record in trading. Enjoying the reputation of “China’s best exhibition”, the fair is held twice a year during spring and autumn in Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre (Pazhou Complex) .

Canton Fair Dates
Held twice a year, the fair is named respectively after the holding season: Canton Fair (Spring) and Canton Fair (Autumn)

Each of the two fairs is in 3 phases, each phase lasting for 5 days, with the Spring Fair starts from the April and the Autumn Fair in October.

Canton Fair Spring(April) 2014 Schedule
Schedule for 2014 115th Canton Fair: the first phase (April 15 – April 19 ), the second phase( April 23 – April 27 ) , and the third phase ( May 1 – May 5, 2011 ) .

canton fair

Exhibitors qualifications
The qualifications for fair exhibitors are very strict, not every export enterprises are eligible to participate in the Fair. Application to the fair is eligible only to ones that meet the following requirements:
1.Enterprises that are established by law and have the right to import and export
2. And can meet the Fair’s minimum requirement on exports (minimum export standard varies with regions).
For Eastern Coastal Region of China: Trading Company (1.5 million U.S. dollars), Manufacturing Company ( 0.75 milion U.S. dollars )
For Central and Northeast Regions: Trading Company (0.75 million U.S. dollars), Manufacturing Company( 0.4 million U.S. dollars )
For Western Region: Trading Company (0.4 million U.S. dollars), Manufacturing Company (0.2 million U.S. dollars)
Note: The eastern coastal region includes: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, and Guangdong Province;
Central and Northeast Regions include: Hebei, Shanxi, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Henan, Hubei, and Hunan Province.
Western Region includes: Hainan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai Province, and Ningxia, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, as well as Tibet autonomous regions.
3. Enterprises must be participants in relevant associations or associations, for instance, carpets manufacturers need to obtain membership in the China Chamber of Commerce of Food Stuffs and Native Produce.

In a nutshell, the Canton Fair brings together the majority of elite export enterprises from all sectors and all regions in China, therefore, governments in all regions conduct rigorous procedures on the qualification of the enterprises to participate in Canton Fair, in the hope of promoting, economic development in the region through sending competent and powerful enterprises to participate in the Canton Fair. As a result, fair exhibitors qualification becomes scarce resources,. For each phase only about 80,000 enterprises are able to participate, while China has a total of 150 million export enterprises, thus making the competition exceptional fierce.

Booth trading
Although booth trading in the exhibition is strictly forbidden by the Fair Organizing Committee, it remains an open secret in the Canton Fair. In view of the high threshold set by the Fair Organizing Committee and local governments for Fair exhibitors, there are a large number of newly established trading companies and companies that newly acquire the right of import and export that cannot get the exhibitor qualifications.

Therefore, many qualified enterprises will get several or even dozens of Fair booth from the government at a very low price, and then sell to those companies that are unable to get the qualification at a high price.

According to our observations, in each pavilion, almost half of the booths are obtained by way of this kind of purchase. So buyers may find that many of the booth names are inconsistent with the supplier’s business card, product manuals as well as company names.

As buyers, which phase of Canton fair you should attend?
As each Fair will be organized into 3 phases, buyers (especially first time buyers at Canton Fair ) need to understand clearly what products you are interested in and its suppliers would attend which phase. Otherwise it is likely for you to make a futile trip.

The link below shows the exhibit categories from the Canton Fair official website, the exhibitions in each phase will be detailed in the list.
http://www.cantonfair.org.cn/html/cantonfair/en/common/2012-09/8469.shtml#1

If you are still not clear after reading the exhibition categories, please call the Canton Fair hotline: 0086-20-28-888-999

Accommodations
During the Fair, hotel prices will increase 2-3 times. Therefore, you should book hotels in advance. As the earlier you book, the cheaper the price. When choosing the hotel, the following should be considered:
a) Whether the hotel provide shuttle service to the Pazhou Complex
Although the traffic near the exhibition pavilion is very convenient, during morning and evening rush hour peak flow, it is possible for taking 40-50 minutes to get a taxi and the subway will be particularly crowded. Therefore, if the hotel you stay can provide a shuttle service, your trip to the fair will be much more pleasant.

b) The distance from the hotel to the Pazhou Complex
Please check the distance from the hotel to the Pazhou Complex and try to pick a hotel in the same district with the Pazhou Complex or one that is relatively close to the subway. If you choose one hotel that is located in another district in Guangzhou, during morning and evening peak flow the traffic will be very crowded, which may affect your schedule.

Some hotels designated by the organizing committee designated can help the guest with Fair registration documents, but in general this kind of hotel will be very expensive. In fact, to apply for registration documents right at the Fair pavilion is also a very convenient choice, therefore, it is not necessary to choose a designated hotel just for the convenience of this simple registration procedure.

Foods
Guangzhou is one of the culinary capitals in China and Guangdong cuisine is famous for its fresh ingredients and culinary delicacy. Every evening when we left the exhibition center, we always rush to a local restaurant to feast on the authentic Guangdong food.

The foods at the venues are not rich in variety.On the second floor of the A, B, C districts there are many Chinese fast food (packed lunch, noodles, and dumplings) and Western fast food ( PIZZA, Hamburg ). Besides, there is a VIGGIE RESTAURANT catering to the vegetarians.

If you have a Chinese friend to accompany you to the Fair, I strongly recommend you to try the local delicacies listed in the following link:
http://www.dianping.com/mylist/15929

As new buyer, how to register?

For foreign buyers to enter the Fair venue, a buyer’s badge (IC card) is needed.

To apply for a buyer badge, the following materials are needed:
Passport ( visa within the validity period )
Business Card
Two 2 -inch color mug shots

Cost: If you have an invitation to the Fair, applying for a Buyer badge for the first time is for free. Without Fair invitation, the fee for applying for the buyer badge is 100RMB for the first time. .

Applying for an invitation to the Fair, please see:
http://invitation.cantonfair.org.cn/en/

If the buyer badge is lost, the fee for applying the badge for the second time is 200 RMB.

After attending the Fair, it is advisable to keep the buyer badge for it is can be reused next time when attending the Fair.

Chinese passport holders can not apply for buyer badge. In order to get into the venue, they can apply for a translator certificate as foreign buyer’s translators.

Buyer badge can be applied for both in the entrance of the Canton Fair and in 30 designated hotel of the Fair, which includes the following: Garden Hotel Guangzhou, Dong Fang Hotel, Chimelong Hotel, Baiyun Hotel, China Hotel By Marriott Guangzhou, Jianguo Hotel Guangzhou, Chateau Star River Hotel, Grand International Hotel, Foshan Hotel, The Royal Mediterranean Hotel, The Westin Guangzhou, Shangri-La Hotel,Guangzhou, Phoenix Hotel Guangzhou, Regal Palace Hotel, The Westin Pazhou, Grand Royal Hotel, Soluxe Hotel Guangzhou, Crowne Plaza Guangzhou City Centre, etc.

However, these hotels are relatively expensive, and during the Fair the prices may even be raised for several folds. Therefore, there is no need to stay in these hotels just for applying for the buyer’s badge. It will be equally convenient for you to apply for it at the entrance of the Fair.

Translation Services
Almost all the exhibitors have English speaking staff, so if you speak English, there is no need to hire a translator. But please note that most of the exhibitors’ mastery of English is barely sufficient. Therefore, if you are very demanding in the quality of the goods, a good translator is necessary in case there are deviations during communication.

Apart from English, the majority of exhibitors rarely understand Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic and other languages, so if you come from a non- English speaking country and can speak neither English nor Chinese, it is necessary to get a minor language translator.

At the Canton there are many English translators, most of whom are university students in Guangzhou. The price for their service is relatively low, usually 50 – 80 dollars a day. There are also Spanish and French translators, but generally they are less in numbers and in high demand. So please prepare in advance if you ever need one.

Ticket Services
Airline tickets, train tickets and other ticketing services are provided in the Canton Fair Venue, But unless it is a last resort, do not buy tickets there: the price is almost double the price online.

And buying tickets from the hotel’s ticketing service will also cost you more.

Your best choice is to purchase the tickets online, for instance, through
http://english.ctrip.com/

Should I attend the Canton Fair or other comprehensive exhibitions? such as East China Fair ?
Canton Fair is China’s largest and most comprehensive exhibition. For each fair there are 3 phases, and a total of more than 60,000 exhibitors. Apart from Canton Fair, there are also other large-scale comprehensive exhibitions in China, such as East China Fair and China Yiwu International Commodities Fair. But the scale, impact and quality of exhibitors of these exhibitions are of no comparison to the Canton Fair. So if you want to participate in a comprehensive exhibition, Canton Fair is the best choice.

Should I attend the Canton Fair or professional exhibitions, such as Shanghai International Furniture Fair ?
For buyers in the furniture industry who hesitates between the choice of attending comprehensive exhibitions like Canton Fair and attending the professional exhibitions such as Shanghai Furniture Fair, one thing should be noted is that Overall, from a certain industry-specific perspectives ( such as furniture ), there will be far more furniture attending the Shanghai Furniture Fair than the Canton Fair.

Those furniture enterprises at the Canton Fair tend to be more matured and well developed; therefore the price for the products will be higher. While those furniture exhibitors at the Shanghai Furniture Fair, their price may be lower, but the export experience is much less – much like diamonds in the rough, waiting to be excavated and polished.

Some exhibitors may choose one of these two Fairs to promote their products. Buyers could go to both the Fairs in searching for an ideal supplier.

4 responses to “A ultimate guide to Canton Fair, Guangzhou, China”

  1. John says:

    Looking to connect with others from the U.S. going to the Canton Fair..

  2. ruksana says:

    Would like to know about fabrics fairs in China. I’m looking for elastic, sequined fabrics to make gowns. Appreciate if someone could help out.

  3. Giyas says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am an Indian and would like to start new business that is import small electrical equipment like Air Compressors,Motors ,cleaning equipment,beauty parlor equipment. So please guide me to start import items from china to indian markets.

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