Spring has sprung, and apart from blossoms and sunny weather in Hong Kong, it also means something else: that the city of Guangzhou will, once again, be transformed into a mecca for importers worldwide, as it has been doing for over half a century. That’s because it is time for the China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Canton Fair, it is the largest and longest-running trade show in China – 2019 marks its 62ndconsecutive year. Held twice annually (in spring and autumn), it has something for almost everyone, regardless of industry.
The aim of the Canton Fair
Lasting for nearly three weeks, the main aim of the Canton Fair is to enhance trade connection between China and the rest of the world. As a massive gathering of exhibitors, suppliers, traders and buyers, it is the perfect opportunity for networking and meeting as many manufacturers as possible.
The Canton Fair is co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of PRC and the People’s Government of Guangdong Province and organized by China Foreign Trade Centre.
Fact: The Canton Fair was first established in 1957.
Where is the Canton Fair?
The city:It is always held in the city of Guangzhou, in China’s Guangdong province, which was called Canton by the first European explorers. Guangzhou is about 145 km (90 miles) north of the China Sea at the head of the Pearl River (Zhujiang).
Fact: Guangzhou used to be the historic focal point of trade and commerce back when travelling was mostly done by water.
The venue: “Massive” would be one word to describe the China Import and Export Complex. Also known as the Canton Fair Complex, this venue is on Pazhou Island and is known as the largest modernised exhibition centre in Asia: its total construction area is 1,100,000 m², with an indoor exhibition area of 338,000 m²and an outdoor one of 43,600 m².
Fact: The Canton Fair Complex is as big as 208 football fields!
To make it simpler, the centre is divided into three exhibition areas:
- Area A’s indoor exhibition space is 130,000 m²and the outdoor one 30,000 m²;
- Area B’s indoor exhibition area is 128,000 m²and its outdoor area 13,600 m²;
- Area C only has an indoor exhibition space totalling 80,000 m².
Fortunately, the organisers have made it easier for visitors to navigate the enormous Canton Fair by splitting it up into three phases:
- Phase 1 showcases electrical- and electronic products, vehicles, building materials, and industrial products;
- Phase 2 focuses on consumer goods and household items, toys, gifts, home decorations and furniture;
- Phase 3 is dedicated to stationery, food, medicines and health products / equipment, and clothing and fashion accessories such as footwear and bags.
Visiting Ecico at the Canton Fair
Fashion industry, listen up: Ecico will also be at the spring Canton Fair 2019!
Ecico has been active in the development, production, and delivery of high-quality fashion apparel to brands and retailers across the globe. Our company will be sharing its over forty years’ experience and expertise by exhibiting during phase 3, from 1 – 5 May 2019, in Hall 4.1 booth # G01.02.
But don’t wait until phase 3 of the fair to see what Ecico accomplishes on a daily basis, how we provide peace of minds to our clientele, or what some of our most popular products (including outerwear, sportswear, fashion essentials, and more) look like.
Attending the 2019 Canton Fair
To make the most of your time at the Canton Fair, start prepping before the event!
What you will need before the fair
- Pre-registration for your visitor’s pass is vital for getting in. This is free for international visitors and cuts down on hours of waiting in line. Be sure to hold on to it, as the visitor’s pass is valid for multiple Canton fair dates.
- Decide what products you’re looking for before the event starts by researching potential suppliers at the Canton Fair website.
- Meeting suppliers in person builds rapport and shows you’re serious about buying. So, jot down the names and booth numbers of the suppliers and manufacturers you’d like to visit and email them before the event starts.
- Guangzhou is an enormous city with more than 10 million people. And even though there will be no shortage of rooms, the best-value ones are booked out way before the Canton Fair starts. Keep in mind that hotel fees also increase for this massive event, which is why it’s best to book at least three to four weeks in advance.
- You’ll want to cut down on travelling time as best you can, so aim for a hotel within walking distance from the venue or the Guangzhou Metro Station. Although it’s possible to commute back and forth between Hong Kong and Guangzhou every day, this will take up a lot of time, especially when dealing with customs.
- If you want to visit Hong Kong or anywhere else in mainland China in-between the fair, you will need a multiple-entry Visa to China.
Fact: Hold on to your visitor’s pass for great discounts, especially at restaurants along Guangzhou’s Party Pier.
What to bring to the fair
- Always take your badge and / or registration approval wherever you go.
- Guangzhou is very humid and you’ll be walking a lot (through metro stations, to hotels, from one booth to another, etc.). Thus, sports shoes or comfortable business shoes are recommended, plus breathable and comfortable clothing.
- A trolley bag or four-wheel stroller is great for carrying all the materials like catalogues, brochures, maybe even gift bags from suppliers. And it’ll make walking around much easier.
- Be sure to set up a WeChat account to share your QR code or add other WeChat users through their QR codes. It also includes a built-in translation app in case of language barriers. Make sure you get this right before the event in order not to waste time while visiting exhibitors.
- A water bottle: You don’t want to be concerned about staying hydrated while walking and networking.
- As Gmail, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are banned, a VPN is vital to use social media networks while in China.
- Pre-formatted enquiry sheets can help you keep track on exhibitors’ info, such as the countries they traditionally export with, if they perform private labelling, whether they are a factory or trading company, etc.
- Lots of business cards! If possible, have one side printed in Chinese to make for easier communication with vendors. And use an email address which won’t mind lots of spam.
- Your mobile phone and portable charger. Although charging stations will be available, you’re going to be taking a tonne of pictures at the event, so best make sure your phone is fully charged.