Attending Canton Fair shouldn’t be just about sourcing products and finding the right suppliers only. It is a great opportunity for business owners to do other business-related tasks that would be helpful to you. This is especially for beginners and people who want to optimise their trip to Guangzhou.
We find it useful to list processes within the business that will be done from China (apart from manufacturing). Once the list is done, the next step is to lay the foundation. Do this by personally finding out about these items while we are in China. This way, we know more about how the process works, rather than reading replies in an email.
Here are 6 business related things we do during Canton Fair which has helped us save money and time.
Source Shipping Companies
Now you are importing goods from China, it is important for you to find reliable shipping companies. One who with the capacity to cart your goods to your intended destination safely, on time and within reasonable cost. At Canton Fair, several shipping companies have booths set up with representatives to assist you with your shipping query. If you would like to meet with more companies, contact them prior to leaving China to arrange a meeting. However, this is probably a waste of time if you are unsure about what you are carting yet.
When speaking with shipping representative, ensure to get quotes from other ports outside of Guangzhou as well. You may end up working with manufacturers from Ningbo instead. Furthermore, if you are shipping directly to Amazon FBA, find out if the freight company has experience with FBA packaging and shipment requirement. This is imperative to ensure your shipment won’t get rejected by Amazon.
On top of that, get price indications for various shopping methods (Air, Sea) with different incoterms (FOB, EXW, DDP) as well as duty and insurances. Your circumstances may change over time and you want to be able to get an idea on your shipping cost.
Source 3rd Party Quality Inspectors
Most Chinese suppliers do their best to produce products that meet your initial standard and requirement. However sometimes, the final products may have defects, does not meet your specification or worse, failed to meet the safety requirement. When shipping products directly to Amazon FBA, you won’t get to inspect these products. Or, if you inspect once the products arrived , you will pay a lot of money to ship the products back. Plus, since you have paid them for the products, it does not give these suppliers any incentive to do the right thing.
A 3rd party inspection services will conduct a detailed product and shipment inspection on your behalf to ensure you get what you have asked for. You can find inspection services companies setting up booths at the Canton Fair. Speak to them to find out what type of inspections your product will require.
If you have been invited by your existing suppliers to visit their factory, take the opportunity to do it. Visiting factories will let you see for yourself – real factory with actual people working. It gives you a peace of mind that it is not a scam. If your products are already being produced during visitation time, you can watch the manufacturing process, review any samples and work towards any improvement face to face with the manufacturers.
Visit Wholesale Markets
Guangzhou city is well known for its wholesale markets. There are wholesale markets for everything, clothing, electronics, jewelry, shoes, fabrics and many more. These markets are filled with ready to go stocks which you can directly purchase right away. All you need to do is let them know what and how much you want and bargain away. If you are buying these products to resell, make sure that they comply with your country’s labeling, importing and safety requirements.
The wholesale market is excellent for business related items. This is the main reason for us to visit wholesale markets. We purchase items like stationery, marketing related items, packaging and shipping bits and pieces from here to reduce costs.
Observe Trending Products
Taking the time to visit the shopping areas and wholesale district in Guangzhou gives you an idea of what is new and currently selling. Not just that, if you are doing private labels or are in niches such as beauty, personal care or electronics this will be particularly helpful. You can learn and gain inspiration out of the packaging and branding of competitive products or products similar to yours.
Attend Other Exhibition/Trade Shows
In the time we spent in China attending Canton Fair, there are always 3 or 4 other exhibitions and fairs running at the same time or within days of Canton Fair. Some of them might be industry related to your niche, so it is worth a look. A great example is the Global Sources Trade shows in Hong Kong. This trade show isheld normally a few days before each Canton Fair phase. The show has the same phase as each Canton Fair, so you are looking at the same niche. It never hurts to get to know more suppliers or products.
By doing any or all of the above, your visit to China and Canton Fair will definitely be a busy and worthwhile exercise.