Canton Fair China: The Ultimate Guide to the Canton Fair 2017 in China

Canton Fair China: The Ultimate Guide to the Canton Fair 2018 in China

In one of our previous articles, we discussed how you can source products from Alibaba while planning to import from China. You must have noticed how time-consuming and tedious this process is after dealing with suppliers on Alibaba several times. One very useful way of getting around this is to attend the Canton Fair China. 

You will gain access to thousands of vendors who are all congregating at the same place. This article will offer all the important information about attending the event.

The Canton Fair, also known as China Import and Export Fair, was established in 1957. It’s been co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of PRC and the People’s Government of Guangdong Province. The fair is organized by China Foreign Trade Centre and is being held every spring and autumn in Guangzhou, China.

The fair is a comprehensive international trading event that has the largest scale, the most detailed exhibit variety with the largest buyer attendance, the largest distribution of buyers’ source country as well as the greatest business turnover in China. The Canton Fair also has the longest history as an international trading event.

After sixty years of its establishment, the Canton Fair has encountered several challenges without been interrupted. The Fair promotes trade connection between China and the world, thereby propelling China’s image and achievements of development. Chinese enterprises use it to explore the international market. It’s usually referred to as the symbol of China’s opening up.

As the Canton Fair 2018 approaches, it is important to know how to get to the host city and to also know some basic things about the fair. These are what will be accomplished in this article.

Location of Canton Fair

Location of Canton Fair China

Note: You can take line 8 to Pazhou station

The Canton Fair takes place in the spring and autumn seasons each year in Canton, Guangzhou, China. Elites of business moguls visit Guangzhou to transact and communicate in diverse ways and also provide a great deal of chances of commerce.

The fair also deals with the import trade, economic and technological cooperation and exchanges and commodity inspection, insurance, transportation, advertising as well as consultation amongst others.

Schedule of Canton Fair 2018

The Canton Fair 2018 (which is the 123st and 124nd China Import and Export Fair) will take place during 15th-19th April, 23rd-27th April, and 1st-5th May 2018 at China Import and Export Fair Pazhou Complex, Guangzhou. It is organized by CFTC - China Foreign Trade Centre (Group). Highlighted below are the schedules for the fair:

  • Phase 1 (15th-19th April; 15th-19th October2018)

Electronics and Household Electrical Appliances, Lighting equipment , vehicles and spare parts, machinery hardware and tools, energy resources, chemical products, building materials and international pavilion.

  • Phase 2 (23rd-27th April; 23th-27th October2018)

Consumer Goods, Gifts, Home Decorations

  • Phase 3 (1st-5th May; 31stOctober- 4th November 2018)

Office supplies, cases and bags, and recreation products, medical devices and health products, food, shoes, textiles, garments and international pavilion.

How to Get To Guangzhou

Since the Canton Fair will be held in Guangzhou, it is important to explain how you can get to the city. Thus, I will discuss how you can get to Guangzhou from Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

1.Shenzhen to Guangzhou

It is very easy to move between Shenzhen and Guangzhou. There are two main options of public transportation namely train and buses. The travel time via train is 1 hour or 1½ hours while it’s 2½ hours via bus.

  • Via Train
High speed train in China

We’ve discussed how you can get to Shenzhen from Guangzhou in one of our previous articles. If you are in Shenzhen Railway Station, you can take train to Guangzhou Station or Guangzhou East Station.

Note that Guangzhou East station is closer to the Canton Fair (Pazhou subway station). The Shenzhen railway station is just down the block from the Hong Kong LoWu Border thereby making it a quick 5 minutes walk if coming from Hong Kong.

A ticket office is on the left side of the building on the ground level. Tickets are sold for 79.5 RMB for each way. The trains often leave every 10 to 15 minutes to Guangzhou East Station (there are less frequent trains to Guangzhou station). Since Guangzhou East is a bit far, you can wait for the next train from Guangzhou instead of going to Guangzhou East (depending on your final destination).

The high speed trains are new, quiet and also very fast. You don’t need to buy tickets in advance except if it’s a major holiday like Chinese New Year or National Week. It is the easiest, stress free way to get to Guangzhou from Shenzhen.

  • Via Buses

Buses leave Shenzhen from the border terminals with Hong Kong. They cost between 65 to 75 RMB.

The Shenzhen terminals include:

  • Luohu Coach Station
  • Futian Coach Station
  • ​Shenzhen Huanggang Border
  • Nanshan Bus Station

The Guangzhou terminals include:

  • LiuhuaCoach Station (Next to Guangzhou Train Station)
  • Guangzhou Province Coach Station (Next to Guangzhou Train Station)
  • Tianhe Coach Terminal Station (Next to subway station)

Please note both bus stations are far from Canton Fair. The fastest and easiest way I would recommend you to take is the train.

2.Hong Kong to Guangzhou

  • Via Train

The easiest means of travelling between Hong Kong and Guangzhou is through trains. All trains run from Hung HomStation in Kowloon, Hong Kong and arrive at Guangzhou East station in Guangzhou.

Although there are is no direct link between Hong Kong and the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, there are shuttle buses from the station. There are twelve trains daily between the two cities with a travel time that’s around two hours.

The first train departs Hung Hom at 07:25 and the last train is at 19:24. Also, the first train departs Guangzhou at 08:19 and the last train is at 21:32.

Hong Kong to Guangzhou Train Schedule Ticket Bookingg

The tickets are priced at a standard HK$210 one-way. The tickets can be bought up to twenty minutes before departing from Hong Kong. It should however be known that you must buy your tickets six hours before departure in Guangzhou.

You also need to allow time for border formalities. You can buy tickets either at the station or via the tele ticketing hotline on (852) 2947 7888. If you buy your tickets on the hotline can be, you can collect them at the station.

How to Find a Hotel for the Canton Fair

Booking a hotel in advance will make your travelling arrangement easier. It is also wise to stay in a hotel that is near the Canton Fair or or Pazhou area. Please note hotels around in Pazhou is quite expensive. If you are not so busy you could take 30 minutes subway to Pazhou after you select a cheaper and nice hotel with

It is important to save on your Canton Fair, but don’t save on the things that you deserve- convenience, amenities, qualified service and city guide amongst others. Hotels can be your trusted local friends and can also assist you by arranging a worry-free Canton Fair trip for you. This is why I prefer hotels to hostels (although hostels may be cheaper).

Ensure that you always have your hotel business card or ask reception with address and the name of your hotel in Chinese before you leave. Also ask reference price from your hotel to canton fair in case the taxi driver took you to a far way to charge you higher.

Important Things That You Need To Know Before Attending the Canton Fair China

Attending Canton Fair can be overwhelming due to the hundreds of suppliers in the same industry that you will come across. You however need to know that suppliers are not created equal. This section will guide you on how you can find a supplier that is reliable (in terms of quality and compliance with regulations).

In order to avoid wasting your time with the wrong suppliers, you need to make the right preparations. The steps below will help save your time once you’re in Guangzhou for the Canton Fair.

1.Canton Fair China: Application

The link above shows how you can apply for Canton Fair invitation and visa as well as how to get entry badge amongst others.

2.Need Translator?

You need a local translator to asssist you during the fair. It will be helpful but not necessarily recommended unless you can not speaking English.

3.Using Wechat

As a matter of fact, everybody in China make use of Wechat to communicate. It is a useful and convenient platform to connect with suppliers.

4.Take Business Card and Note Book

You need a note book to write down the details you’ve confirmed with suppliers and also staple it with their business card.

5.Visiting Time.

It’ll be disheartening if you deal with someone that cannot attend to you. You know how stressful it is when you have to attend to hundreds of clients every day. I have attend a few fairs as an exhibitor before where I stood throughout the day with a smiling face and I was exhausted every night.

To save yourself from this stress, I recommend you attend the Canton fair very early in the morning. During this period, the sales representatives will be very active and will also be willing to answer your question quick and right to the point. Also, there are few crowds in the morning.

6.Asking Suppliers to Provide Product Standards and Regulations In Your Market

  • To avoid wasting time with suppliers that cannot manufacture goods that you can sell in your market, it is important to adhere to the procedure below before you invest your time at any fair booth.
  • Request for buyer references in your market.
  • ​Confirm the applicable safety regulations for your product in your local market
  • Ask the supplier for compliance documents on site. These documents can include test reports, declaration of conformity and technical files.

7.List All Specifications to Compare With Other Suppliers

  • Design
  • Dimensions
  • Weight
  • Colors
  • ​Material Specifications
  • ​Components
  • Product Packaging (Innerand outer packaging and how many products are in 20 feet contai
  • Functions

8.Request for Reference Pricesand Payment methods.

Ask the supplier for a unit price quote during your first meeting, and ask the pricing with different quantity. This should not be considered as the final price but a reference price because it comprises updated quotes from materials, components subcontractors and internal calculations.

Ask the supplier their payment methods. Most of Chinese suppliers prefer 30% deposit and balance 70% before delivery. If you insist on working with L/C payment you should, however, make this known at the beginning.

9.Follow the Suppliers Up

It could be very challenging to remember all suppliers after your visit. As a result, you need to follow up suppliers with your note book and ask questions about the following:

  • Confirm their MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity)
  • The Final price with payment method
  • Leading time
  • Samples
  • Confirm their company location to evaluate the mainland transportation charges to the exporting port you’d prefer.


The Canton Trade Fair is an avenue for you to have a one-on-one interaction with suppliers. It is the right platform for you to bypass the hassle of finding the right supplier via Alibaba. Use the tips discussed in this article to have a swift interaction with suppliers at the Canton Fair.

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