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Beginners Guide to Canton Fair Part 2 : Registration & Visa Application Tips

Read Part 1 of this guide HERE

So you have decided to attend the Canton Fair. Now let’s get into the fun part. Guarantee your attendance to the fair as an oversea buyer to be hassle free by correctly completing the required administrative process. These steps are crucial to enable entry into mainland China as well as entry into the fair. By completing these process, you will be a step closer to a successful Canton Fair trip.

canton fair


Step 1: Pick a Phase to Attend

Firstly, pick a phase you would like to attend. Even if you are unsure of your products . Why is this important? Having an idea on when you are going will allow provision and access to the right information.

The norm is to attend a single phase. However, if time permits attending all 3 phases is not unheard of. So, when making your decisions, it is beneficial to ask yourselves these questions:

1.What type of industry/niche am I looking to get into?

2.Does Canton Fair include these niches?

3.Am I looking to stay in mainland China only during my time there or am I looking to  travel to autonomous region/territory such as Hong Kong or Macau?

4.Will I be attending both Canton Fair this year (April and October)?

5.Will I be flying back and forth to mainland China, thus will conduct multiple entries to China?

6.Am I also attending the Global Sources Trade Show in Hong Kong which runs back to back with Canton Fair?


Step 2: Registration Online (Pre-Applied Buyers)

Start your Canton Fair journey and create an account on the Canton Fair Website .The Fair site are available in 12 languages. Once registration is complete and validated, login to enter the site. Focus on the Buyer’s section.

Here, you will basically find everything you will need to know about the registration process and the fair. The Buyer E-Service Tool  is where the online registration will take place. There will be 2 sections to complete. First is the online pre-application of buyer’s badge. Submit personal information, company information and upload your photo, copy of your ID (passport) and a copy of your business card. Remember, at this stage it is still an expression of interest. You will only physically obtain your Buyer’s Badge once you are in China.

Once approved, you can proceed to apply for an invitation letters. The invitation letter is required for your Visa and to obtain your actual Buyer’s Badge.

  • The registration section can be a little confusing to navigate. To be able to know if you have properly completed your information, each stages will have progress status notification . The 3 progress status notification are 1. Degree of completeness 2. Verification Pending 3. Verification Completed. The target is to have verification completed. If they require additional information, they will sending you a request message.
  • Don’t worry if you haven’t got a Company Name. Pick a Business name you would like to identify yourself as and stick to it. Make sure it is reflected in your business card.  If you haven’t got a business card yet as part of the registration requirement, create a digital one for free. You can make one from Biz Card Maker
  • We used a photo taken using our phone on a white wall background and it was sufficient. Ensure it is similar to a passport photo and resized accordingly. However, bear in mind that this may be a case by case basis. Be prepared in case your digital photo gets rejected and you must submit an actual passport photo.
  • The Invite will be for all phases of Canton Fair

Step 3: Application for a Chinese Visa (for Australians and Malaysian Passport holder)

As we both hold Australian and Malaysian passport, this information will be relevant to such passport holders only.  Once you have received an Invitation Letter, you are good to start applying for a Visa. Application are done by post or in person at the Chinese Visa Service Centre. It is recommended that you apply at least 1 month in advance, just to be safe.

For the most accurate information on visa application, visit Visa for China and follow the step by step guidance for application. Prompts and instruction on how to apply for Visa, the required documents and Visa category are provided. You can also access visa application forms and check your application status on this website. Having answers to question 3 to 6 in from Step 1 will definitely assist in making the right visa choice.

  • Pay attention to the visa application photo requirements. Failure to adhere to the requirements may result in you having to produce photo that meets the requirement, which is a pain.
  • Save time by making an appointment to have your application submitted

Step 4: Registering for an actual Buyer’s Badge


Now you are in Guangzhou and ready to attend the show. Not just yet! To receive your actual buyer’s badge, you must register in person. In this registration, you repeat the information you have provided online , on paper. You fill in forms, provide your photos, a few of your business cards, your invitation letter and copies of your passport. The buyer’s badge are processed and released on the spot

Registration in person are available in 3 places:

  • Canton Fair Pazhou Complex – You can register onsite at the Oversea’s Buyer Registration Offices (in 4 separate locations) on fair day. The offices are packed, humid and uncomfortable! If you chose this route, make sure to arrive early or you will miss hours of precious booth visitation time.
  • Canton Fair Hong Kong Representative Office – Happen to be in Hong Kong? Want to pick up your badge from here? It is doable. The Canton Fair Hong Kong Representative Office & China Foreign Trade Centre (Group) Asia Pacific Liaison Office is located in Convention Plaza , Wanchai.
  • Selected participating hotel – This would probably be the easiest and most comfortable method of picking up your Buyer’s Badge. You don’t have to travel anywhere, just the hotel where you are staying. However, you must make sure that the hotel is in the list of participating hotels for that Canton Fair session.
  • While you don’t have to stay at the hotel to get your registration done, it certainly helps in terms of convenience.
  • Obtain your badge from the hotel as soon as you check in to get it out of the way so you can start enjoying yourself and the trip!
  • It helps to have all your important documents in a folder, so you wont have to scramble to complete the forms.

Step 5:  Receive and start using the Buyers Badge

canton fair

Once received, this will be your official ID for the Canton Fair. You must bring them to the fair to grant entry and also show this badge for any fair related matters. Do not lose this badge as reapplication will set you back 200 rmb (AUD 40). You are not good to go!

  • The Buyer’s Badge allows multiple entries to all the phases of Canton fair

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