Canton Fair – China’s biggest trade fair for exporters and importers

Canton fair

The canton fair, located in the city of Guangzhou, is China’s biggest and most famous trade fair. Foreign business owners visit the fair on bi-annual basis, with hopes and dreams to find reliable Chinese suppliers or importers. Previously, a great majority of the visitors attended the fair to search for Chinese suppliers. But times are changing and nowadays you can find a decent amount of foreign exporters who visit the fair.

In 2007, the organizers created the international pavilion where foreigners can exhibit and promote their products. In this guide, I present the international pavilion and explain how you can exhibit your products there. If you plan for sales expansion in Asia, I recommend you to visit the canton fair and to continue reading this guide.

Dates and product phases

Importers and exporters of various industries have opportunities to exhibit their products at the international pavilion. It’s divided into two product phases and held on two different occasions each year. You can find more information below:

Phase 1: April 15-19th, 2014

Machinery and equipment
Small vehicles and spare parts
Electronics, IT Products and household electrical appliances
Hardware and tools
Building materials and sanitary equipment
Raw material

Phase 2: October 31th- November 4th, 2014

Foodstuffs and agricultural
Medical equipment and medical products
Personal care products
Consumer goods
Decoration and gifts
Textiles, clothing and footwear

Flights and VISA regulations

Guangzhou is the fourth biggest city in China and resides around 12 million people. Still, many foreigners know less or nothing about this city. You can arrive directly in Guangzhou by plane, but you can also head for a more common options: Fly to Hong Kong first and travel to Guangzhou by train.

More flights depart and arrive in Hong Kong, you can find itineraries that suits your time schedule better and saves you money. One drawback is the additional money you must pay for your train ticket to Guangzhou. But it won’t cost you more than around 35 USD, a price that is negligible in my opinion.

Most Westerners are not obliged to apply for a VISA when traveling to Hong Kong. But don’t forget to apply for a Chinese VISA, as the canton fair is located in Mainland China. You can apply for a Chinese VISA while in Hong Kong, but you better spend that time at the trade fair.

In general, you need to wait three to five days before you can collect your Chinese VISA at your local embassy or consulate. But the time can be extended due to various reasons like holidays. I recommend you to apply for your VISA one month prior to departure to have a safe margin.

Hotels and transportation

You shall plan and book your trip well in advance. Flight and hotel prices increase rapidly prior to big events like the canton fair. You can stay at a hostel, but the standard is not as good in comparison with the hotels. After a long day of networking I bet you want an accommodation with good standard.

In general, people from Guangzhou has limited English skills in comparison with people from Hong Kong. Don’t forget to bring a map, some business cards from the hotel and scribble down the address to the international pavilion. You will have problems to communicate with people on the streets or with bus drivers, a better mean of transportation is to go by cab.

It’s convenient and the prices ridiculously low in comparison with the West. Just scribble down the address of the international pavilion or show a business card from the hotel to the taxi driver. They can take you back quickly and you won’t need to exchange a single word.

Booths and costs

You can chose to set up a booth by yourself and use your own equipment like furnitures, walls, TV-screens, tables and chairs. You can also rent a booth space that includes all necessary equipment. This option costs a little bit more. Below I listed the two options with more details:

Standard booth

Booth space:3X3=9Sqm
Booth rental:32,700 RMB (Phase one), 30,000 RMB (Phase three)
Booth equipment: Three-side walls, shelves, four spotlights, one F/L light, one aluminum table, four chairs, one carpet, one rubbish bin (Power socket is not included).

Raw Space

Booth space:3X3=9Sqm
Space Rental: 29,700 RMB (Phase one), 27,000 RMB (Phase three)
Booth equipment:No equipment. The equipment and decoration to be brought by the exporter.

Requirements to exhibit your products

You can exhibit at the international pavilion if you meet the following requirements:

  • Your company has been legally registered in any region or country other than Mainland China for over three years. You shall provide a company registration certificate (including company stamp) or other valid certificates.
  • Exhibits can’t be produced in Mainland China. You must submit a certificate of origin that proves your products are not made in China.
  • Before you enter the exhibition hall, you shall present original documents and submit copies of ATA-certificates and customs clearance. On-site management staff will review the documents.
  • Intermediaries are not allowed to set up a booth in the international pavilion.

Contact details

You can visit their website or contact the following persons if you have questions concerning the international pavilion:

Ms. Sandy Li
Telephone: 86-591-88520522

Mr. Mark Lin
Telephone: 86-591-88018428

Ms. Charlotte Lin
Telephone: 86-591-87275075

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