• Canton Fair – China’s Biggest Trade Fair for Exporters and Importers

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    The canton fair is held in Guangzhou and China’s biggest, most respectable, and oldest trade fair.

    Foreign exporters and importers visit the fair bi-annually with hopes and dreams to find reliable Chinese suppliers or importers. Previously, many of its visitors attended the fair to search for Chinese suppliers.

    But times are changing. Nowadays, you can find many foreign exporters who visit the fair for export opportunities to the Chinese market. 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.

    Topics covered:

    • When is the Canton Fair held?
    • Flights and VISA regulations
    • Hotels and transportation
    • Booths and costs
    • Requirements to exhibit your products

    When is the Canton Fair held?

    The International Pavilion is divided into two ‘product phases and held on two different occasions each year. The phases are generally as follows:

    Phase 1: April

    • 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

    Canton fair

    Flights and Visa Regulations

    Guangzhou is the fourth-biggest city in China with around 12 million people. You can either fly directly to Guangzhou or head for a popular option: Fly to Hong Kong and travel to Guangzhou by train.

    More flights depart and arrive in Hong Kong, you can find itineraries that suit your time schedule better and saves you money.

    Most Westerners are not obliged to apply for a VISA when traveling to Hong Kong. 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. 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.

    Booths and Costs

    You can choose to set up a booth by yourself and use your own equipment like furniture, 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 rental:RMB 32,700 (Phase one), RMB 30,000 (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

    • 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

    Visiting the fair is not suitable for all companies. But, the process to apply and get accepted is fairly easy. 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.


    Below I have included some frequently asked questions and our replies. Keep in mind that the questions are relevant for both exhibitors and visitors of the fair.

    Is Canton Fair free?

    It’s not free to visit the fair as a visitor or as an exhibitor. Visitors generally have to pay a fee of RMB 200 to attend the fair (excluding costs for flights, hotel nights, transportation, etc).

    Exhibitors, on the other hand, generally have to pay fees in the tens of thousands of RMB. For up-to-date information, I recommend you to check Canton Fair’s website directly.

    Where is Canton Fair China?

    The fair is held at the Guangzhou International Convention & Exhibition Center in Guangzhou. Sometimes, the venue is simply just called Canton Fair Complex.

    Is it worth visiting the Canton Fair?

    It all depends on your needs and current situation. Some smaller firms might believe that it’s a waste of money, but medium and large-sized firms that look for expansion might find the fair useful.

    What kinds of products are displayed at the Canton Fair?

    Canton Fair has virtually all kinds of products on display, including:

    • Electronics & Household Electrical Appliances
    • Lighting Equipment
    • Vehicles & Related Spare Parts
    • Machinery &
    • Hardware & Tools
    • Building & Construction Materials
    • Textiles

    Was Canton Fair held online during the pandemic?

    Yes, Canton Fair sessions 127 and 128 were both held online and with successful results. Millions of visitors and exhibitors attended the fair, which came as a surprise to many people.

    Some ‘visitors’ were even happy that the fair was held online as they could visit more potential partners during the day and find more products.

    Should I hire a Chinese translator when visiting?

    Organizers of Canton Fair have translators that can communicate fluently in Spanish, English, French, Italian, and more. You can book a Chinese/English translator as little as 24 hours before the fair starts.

    The prices differ but you should be prepared to pay around RMB 400-500 per day for a translator. The fee for persons that speak other languages than English is higher, stretching up to around RMB 700-800.

    It can be worthwhile to hire a translator for a day or two if you need it makes your visit more convenient, pleasant, and efficient.

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