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Top 10 tips for visiting the Canton Fair as a business owner

Are you looking for a way to take your Kiwi retail business to new heights? One of the best ways to do so is by attending the Canton Fair, one of the world's largest tradeshows. Thousands of exhibitors and buyers come together in Guangzhou every year to network, find products, and build relationships - all while sampling delicious Chinese cuisine.

Canton fair 2023

Are you looking for a way to take your Kiwi retail business to new heights? One of the best ways to do so is by attending the Canton Fair, one of the world's largest tradeshows. Thousands of exhibitors and buyers come together in Guangzhou every year to network, find products, and build relationships - all while sampling delicious Chinese cuisine. But while attending this yearly affair might sound glamorous, it can quickly become overwhelming if you don't know what you're doing. Don't worry though; with these top 10 tips for visiting the Canton Fair, you'll be sure to make the most out of your time at the fair.

What is the Canton Fair

The Canton Fair is an iconic event held in Guangzhou, China since 1957. Providing a platform for exhibitors and buyers alike, this biannual fair is not only a great place to discover the latest products made in China, but also gives businesses the chance to make valuable connections to keep them ahead of their competitors.

When it comes to the Canton Fair, size really does matter – just ask one of the tens of thousands of attendees that flock to Guangzhou each year. Boasting an astounding 200,000 buyers from more than 210 countries and regions, the fair has become one heck of a popular event on the Chinese calendar. If you close your eyes, you'd swear you were in some kind of futuristic market place - with such a diverse crowd from across the globe, it's almost like time-travelling!

Though it may sound exciting, you'd better wear your most comfortable shoes if you plan on attending – this fair covers over 1.18 million square meters and features 58,817 booths. Now wouldn't that be one heck of a shopping spree?

Why your business should attend the canton fair

Like we mentioned, the Canton Fair is the world's longest-running trade show. That right there should be enough to convince anyone of the value in visiting! For businesses, it's a great place to learn about new trends and technologies as well as get out ahead of your competitors.

The sheer breadth of options featured at the fair means it's an excellent place to source products and materials from vendors both domestically and internationally.

You'll also get to connect face-to-face with manufacturers and suppliers, creating opportunities for long term partnerships that could be mutually beneficial.

Additionally, the Canton Fair offers a variety of seminars and activities, such as industry forums and product launches, that help businesses gain insight into the latest trends in their sector.

Canton Fair Business Opportunities at a Glance:

• Access to a huge variety of products from manufacturers and suppliers from around the globe

• Previews of the latest products from leading manufacturers

• Meet top vendors face-to-face

• Networking opportunities

• Land better deals than buying online

Top 10 tips for visiting the Canton Fair

Are you a Kiwi business planning to attend the 2023 Canton Fair? Get ready to enjoy the trip of a lifetime. Here we will provide you with 10 essential tips to help make the journey as enjoyable and successful as possible.

Tip #1 – Do Your Research:

Before attending the fair, it is important to do your research on the fair itself and what products are being showcased. Knowing which exhibitors are exhibiting and what types of products they offer will give you an edge when it comes time to negotiating prices and terms. Additionally, researching trends in the industry can help you identify potential opportunities that may be available at the show.

Tip #2 – Bring Business Cards:

When speaking with potential vendors or customers, having a business card is always a must. Having business cards readily available will ensure that you have something tangible to leave behind with those you meet during your visit. Plus, it’s just polite!

Tip #3 – Download Apps before You Go:

Speaking of apps, make sure to download them before arriving at the fairgrounds. Many apps related to travel and attending conferences exist for both iOS and Android devices, offering features such as translations (especially helpful if Chinese isn't your native language), maps of the fairgrounds, listings of exhibitors and more. Downloading these apps ahead of time will help make sure that you have what you need once onsite.  

Tip #4 – Network Effectively:

The Canton Fair is also a great opportunity for networking with potential customers or vendors from all over the world. Make sure to take advantage of this chance by introducing yourself in a professional manner and bringing up topics related to mutual interests or experiences wherever possible. Also remember to exchange contact information—you never know who may become a valuable contact down the road!  

Tip #5 – Take Notes:

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the activity going on around you at any given time at such a large event like the Canton Fair—which makes taking notes all that more important! Whether using a physical notebook or digital notepad app like Evernote, jotting down ideas quickly after meetings can help ensure that nothing slips through cracks later on and helps jog memories should follow-up conversations arise further down the line.

Tip #6 – Dress Appropriately:

As with any professional event where lots of face-to-face conversations are likely taking place between attendees from different cultures, dressing appropriately for each occasion is key—even when visiting China from New Zealand. In general opt for clothing styles that are professional yet comfortable—nothing too flashy but also nothing too casual either—and don’t forget comfortable shoes!

Tip #7 – Have Fun:

While attending events like this one can be stressful there is no reason why fun shouldn't be had along the way too! Making connections with people from other countries who share similar interests provides unique opportunities to learn about new cultures firsthand while also getting some much needed rest (and relaxation!) during downtime away from meetings and presentations too!

Tip #8 – Be Prepared For Anything:

With so many people coming together under one roof anything can happen so make sure you come prepared for anything by packing things like an extra set of clothes (in case something spills!), snacks (for long days) medications (just incase!) as well as cash (for unexpected purchases).  


Tip #9 Bring Enough Cash for Emergencies:

China is currently transitioning towards becoming a cashless society, but not all businesses have adopted this yet. As such, it’s important to bring enough cash with you just in case you need it. It’s also recommended that you use an ATM card linked to a major international bank when withdrawing money from ATMs while abroad.  


Tip #10 Learn Some Basic Chinese Greetings and Phrases:

Although English is widely spoken by vendors at the Canton Fair, it’s still useful to learn some basic Chinese greetings and phrases before attending the fair. This will help break down barriers between yourself and potential clients or partners, which can only benefit your business relationship in the long run.

Bonus tip: Visit the Canton Fair with a local sourcing agent

Visiting the Canton Fair with a local sourcing agent is a great way to maximize efficiency, especially when you're in unknown territory. Instead of running around aimlessly trying to find the right people and products, having a local sourcing agent guide you can take all the guesswork out of your experience. It's like having your own personal sherpa - they've got all the inside knowledge and contacts you need, so you can avoid any missteps along the way.

Plus, it's both cost and time effective: you'll get the most bang for your buck without any unnecessary delays. With an experienced local sourcing agent by your side, you can easily navigate the crowds to find exactly what you're looking for - and maybe even some surprises!


With these 10 tips, you can master the Canton Fair like a pro– and have a great time while doing it!  Whether it is setting up solid connections with local vendors or finding your next best-selling product, the Canton Fair can help your business grow and succeed in many ways. Want to make the most of the fair? Contact Epic today!

Make the most of the Canton Fair 2023 with Epic Sourcing

Attending the Canton fair with an expert sourcing agent, like Epic Sourcing, will help you maximise those opportunities.

There are a few ways we can help:

Need expert support at the Canton Fair?

We'll give you a translator and a sourcing specialist to guide you through the Fair.

Post-fair support

We'll help you organise factory visits, negotiate contracts, and get samples sent back to your office in Australia.

We'll attend the Fair for you!

Send us a wish list and we'll connect with suppliers on your behalf and create a report about what's hot in your industry.

Get in touch for details!

Our services extend well beyond the Canton Fair.

We can be the bridge that connects you to all of China's premier expos and trade fairs

Get an insider's scoop into the most exciting expos and trade fairs China has to offer in 2023.

Download a full calendar of our upcoming expos

If you want to get ahead of the curve in your industry, attending an expo is a great way to connect with top-tier suppliers and discover the newest products for your business. Get ready - it's time to spot those game changers!

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