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Beginners Guide to Canton Fair : Part 1 (Introduction)

This Beginners Guide to Canton Fair Trade Shows write up is one we are very excited about. This information is something we wished we had when we first decided to sell online. With the experience we have since gained from attending and dealing with Chinese suppliers, we are happy to share this information with others who are keen to get their online venture started. We sincerely hope that you will benefit from this guide.

When we decided to foray into selling and making money online, we spent lots of time doing research on products. Like everybody else, we did everything we could, to give ourselves the best chance to succeed. Firstly, we followed the advice from the online business ‘Gurus’ on how to deal with suppliers and what product/niche to get into and the rest of the ‘How To’s’


The issue is…


We find that we are always stuck at certain points in dealing with suppliers. While the ‘Stuck Point’ is different for each person, the most common stuck point for us is post-receiving of samples. We are always unhappy with the quality of the products for the price we are paying.

Furthermore, we are also not so keen with the idea of buying and selling the same products hundreds of other people are selling as well. On top of that, Mrs. Smith issues with trusting overseas sellers also tends to be a huge obstacle for us.



The desire to get to know the suppliers better by seeing them face to face had landed us to the trade shows. Not only we are dealing face to face, we are also able to see for ourselves the quality of products they are capable of making. Attending the trade show was a real eye opener for us. As a result we came back to Australia with more understanding of suppliers as well as more ideas and inspiration on how we would like to represent ourselves as a business.

Fast forward several trade shows, we would like to share everything we have learned from attending two of the biggest Trade Shows in Asia. The Canton Fair and The Global Sources Trade Show. So, to kick off with the ultimate guide to these two trade shows, we will start with the Canton Fair Trade Show Guide. Due to the amount of information, this guide will be released as part of several series. It will cover everything you need to know to successfully attend a trade show. Most importantly, we hope this guide can serve as valuable information for people who are going or thinking about going.

Canton Fair / China Import and Export Fair Part 1 – Introduction

What is Canton Fair?

The China Import and Export Fair or also known as the Canton Fair is one of Asia’s largest, industry specific event. This is where suppliers and manufacturers from these industries gather to promote their business and demonstrate their products. The show is attended by potential clients  and buyers. The objective of participating and attending a trade show is to generate leads, find suitable suppliers, grow distribution channels and create a database of contacts

When is Canton Fair?

The Canton Fair are held twice a year during China autumn and spring season. Not surprisingly, the show is held within days of the Global Sources Trade Show. This year, the Canton Fair will be held in April/May and October/November 2018.

Canton Fair Phases

Due to the large scale of the fair. Each trade show season is separated into 3 distinctive phases. This will allow for inclusion or vast amount of industries. The dates and categories of each phase for April 2018 Canton Fair are as follows:

Phase 1 (April 15-19)

  • Electronics and Household Electrical Appliance
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Vehicles and Spare Parts
  • Machinery
  • Hardware and Tools
  • Energy and Resources
  • Chemical Products
  • Building Materials
  • International Pavilion

Phase 2 (April 23-27)

  • Consumer Goods
  • Gifts
  • Home Decorations

Phase 3 (May 1-5)

  • Office Supplies
  • Cases and Bags also Recreation Products
  • Medical Devices and Health Products
  • Food
  • Shoes
  • Textiles and Garments
  • International Pavilion

Who Participates in Canton Fair ?

Trade shows thrives in every industry and trade. The Canton Fair Trade shows are  participated by manufacturing companies, trading companies and distribution agents, as well as other relevant services such as logistics, quality assurance and packaging. While you will find most of the suppliers in here have social presence on Alibaba, the Canton fair is not hosted by Alibaba. In fact, the Canton Fair has been around since 1957.

The fair is hosted by the China’s Ministry of Commerce and the People’s Government of Guangdong Province and organised by China Foreign Trade Centre. The prominence of Alibaba does boost the popularity of the show and made it more Foreign Buyer friendly.

Location of Canton Fair

All exhibition for the Canton Fair show will be located at the New China Import and Export Fair in Pazhou Complex at Haizhu District. The Pazhou Complex is located 45 km away from the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and 20 km away from Guangzhou CBD.

Why Should One Attend the Canton Fair ?

While there are plenty of reason as to why one should go to the Canton Fair Show, it really depends on your personal circumstances. However, having spoken to the suppliers, fellow attendees and through our own experience, we have listed below some of the reasons as to why one should go to the Canton Fair. In addition, we have also previously elaborated on the advantages of attending trade shows. So, if you are one or a few of these, perhaps you should seriously consider attending.

Attend the Canton Fair Show if You :
  • Have some experience in acquiring products from overseas suppliers
  • Have trouble trusting suppliers online and rather a face to face meeting
  • Been invited by your current /prospective suppliers
  • Need ideas and inspiration on what to sell
  • Have a niche and would like to the range available on offer within your niche
  • Have products in mind and need to see a manufacturer to discuss further modifications
  • Need your products custom made/private label
  • Want to find suppliers with Amazon FBA / Export experience
  • Would like huge variety of ANYTHING
  • Are in wholesale business
  • Are looking for suppliers who also dropship
  • Want more information on products that are on offer
  • Are looking for Raw materials
  • Want more face to face experience dealing with oversea’s suppliers
  • Want to deal with suppliers from outside of China
  • Are serious about the quality of your products
  • Are also serious about forging an ongoing relationship with your suppliers
  • Would like to meet many suppliers under one roof at one time
  • Can accommodate manufacturer larger minimum order requirements
  • Have been to a trade show or expo or exhibition before
  • Have been to China before and can at least navigate Chinese city ok
  • Can speak/read Mandarin and/or Cantonese (a plus)
  • Have never been to Guangzhou
  • Are looking for new inventions
  • Are looking for a one stop shop for products/quality assurance/shipping

We will be elaborate these further in other part of this series

Why Choose Canton Fair Show over Other Trade Show?

  • It is huge! The Pazhao Complex extends from one train station to the next.
  • Foreign buyers will require comprehensive pre-registration which will allow preparation  to ensure hassle free attendance
  • Meet with manufacturer ready and willing to do business with you.
  • The trade show support system is not bad
  • Knowing what is trending in situ gives you the competitive advantage over other online/Amazon Sellers. Get results almost right away.
  • Faster turn around than doing it on Alibaba
  • Great informative website giving you all the information you need for the show eg: trending product, supplier’s directory
  • Receive discounts on flights and hotel
  • Participants from other countries
  • English is widely spoken at the show
  • Guangzhou is a great and cheap megacity
  • Guangzhou has great shopping
  • Plenty of things to do in Guangzhou after working hours
  • Most importantly, it’s FUN!

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