Pros and Cons of Canton Fair – China’s Largest Trade Fair

China Import and Export Fair or Canton Fair is the largest and oldest trade fair in China. The fair has been organized in the autumn and spring seasons every year since 1957 in the Guangdong province of China. It is organized by China Foreign Trade Centre and hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China along with Guangdong’s provincial government. Every year, the canton fair is organized at China Import and Export Fair Complex, 380 Yuejiangzhong Road, Haizhu, Guangzhou, China.

Guangdong Province of China

As a symbol and epitome of China’s global trade cooperation, the trade fair has survived various challenges, and 131 sessions have been organized since its inception. The Canton fair has successfully established trade relations with over 220 countries and regions around the world. The trade fair has also managed to accumulate a trading volume of more than $1.5 trillion with more than 9 million buyers from across the globe.

It has been successful in developing a strong trade connection between buyers from across the world and Chinese manufacturers and exporters. Over 25,000 foreign trade companies of China with good financial ability and credibility along with more than 500 overseas organizations take part in the trade fair.

The event is organized in three different phases per session, and each phase lasts for five days. Each phase is dedicated to different industries:

If you are a business owner who is looking to attend the Canton fair to source products from China and build relations with suppliers in the country, here are some pros and cons of this enormous event organized bi-annually in China:

Pros of Canton Fair

  1. It is a massive trade fair

The event is held at the Canton fair complex in Guangzhou, China. The complex is India’s largest exhibition center spread across an area of 1,100,000 square meters with an outdoor exhibition area of 436,000 square meters and an indoor exhibition area of 338,000 square meters. This total construction area is equivalent to 218 football fields. During each session, more than 25,000 exhibitors and over 200,000 visitors participate in the trade fair.

With a wide range of exhibitors, the enormous area is still not enough for all exhibitors. Hence, the event is divided into three different phases with each phase exhibiting different types of products. Given the wide range of products and exhibitors, the fair has something for everyone. If you are looking for a specific type of product, you should check the event schedule to know when the suppliers of those products will exhibit during the fair.

  1. It is a foreigner-friendly trade fair

Canton fair is export-oriented and highly foreigner-friendly. As there is a huge number of foreign buyers attending the fair, the hosts make sure to keep things easy for the foreign visitors. English-speaking volunteers and English signposts are provided to guide foreign visitors throughout the event complex. To eliminate communication barriers between suppliers and buyers, most booths at the event have English-speaking representatives. Moreover, you can also get an interpreter at the show that can help foreigners communicate effectively with the local exhibitors. All of this will make the event a convenient mode to source high-quality products from China and build a relationship with new suppliers.

  1. The fair is a great way to build a relationship with suppliers

Many businesses that source products from other countries believe that email or digital communication would be enough to build a relationship with Chinese suppliers and manufacturers. It is very difficult to build a personal relationship with business partners, and meeting them in person can be the best way to establish a strong rapport with them. Building a personal rapport plays an important role in cost negotiation, delivery timeline, and quality of products.

Many western businesses that source products from China experienced a sharp decline in the number of defective products delivered from the supplier/manufacturer after meeting them in person. The Canton fair provides a great opportunity for buyers to meet their suppliers and build a rapport with them. The event also provides a chance to personally meet several exhibitors, negotiate prices and delivery terms, take a look at their work samples and pay a visit to the manufacturing unit before closing the deal.

Cons of Canton Fair

  1. No detailed guide/magazine

Being the biggest trade fair in China, there is no in-depth guide or magazine for each category of industry or list of exhibitors for the fair. Moreover, the official website of the trade fair is also very complicated and difficult to navigate, making it hard for visitors to find information.

  1. Unorganized

Although the booths in the fair are grouped into different categories like electronics, furniture, lighting, household items, etc., booths in these categories are not allotted according to the type of products, making the visitors walk around the whole area to find the products they are looking for.

  1. Too many buyers

The Canton trade fair attracts thousands of buyers from across the world, and your competitors in the local market might also be looking for the same suppliers. If the supplier that you picked is also supplying products to your competitors, it can impact your profits. Moreover, exhibitors in the trade fair will be targeting several buyers throughout the fair. Their attention might be divided among multiple buyers, and you may become just another business card for them.

Canton fair can be a goldmine for buyers and importers looking to source new products from China. If you are already sourcing products from China and looking to build a rapport with your supplier, you can attend this event and meet your supplier or manufacturer.

Many suppliers and manufacturers from around the country see it as an opportunity to launch new products. If you are looking to source new products in your niche, the trade fair can be a great way to find new products and get an early advantage. 

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