If you’re looking for the best place to source products for your business, look no further than the Canton Fair. The trade show is held every autumn and spring in Guangzhou, China and is the largest commercial exhibition fair on the planet with over 25,000 exhibitors and over 190,000 buyers in attendance. What’s more, the exhibition space is equivalent to about 218 football fields (about 1,185,000 square meters), so bring a comfortable pair of shoes and get ready to meet a lot of new faces.

So, When is the 2018 Canton Fair?



The next Canton Fair will take place on October 15th, and consists of three separate phases.

Phase 1: October 15-19, 2018

Focusing on the Machinery, Hardware & Tools, Electronics & Household Electrical Appliances, Lighting Equipment, Vehicles & Spare Parts, Energy Resources, Chemical Products, and Building Materials verticals.

Phase 2: October 23-27, 2018

Consists of Gifts, Home Decorations, and Consumer Goods vendors.

Phase 3: October 31- November 4, 2018

This phase’s vendors include those in Textiles & Garments, Shoes, Office Supplies, Cases & Bags,  Food, Medicines, Medical Devices, Recreational Products, and Health Products.


How can I sign up for the Canton Fair?


canton fair

In order to attend, you must first fill out this registration form. Once it’s done, you should be approved within 3 business days.

Upon receiving your approval email, you’ll then be able to request your IC card and you’ll also receive an invitation letter which you can use to apply for a Chinese visa. Attendance is free, however, if you’re from China there is a 300 RMB entrance fee each day.


What visa should I apply for?


business visa

The most appropriate visa for this trip would be a business visa (M visa). Once you’ve received your invitation letter, you can then go to your country’s Chinese Embassy or Consulate and apply.

Need a help to get a Visa for China? Let us handle it for you hassle-free!

Should I fly to Guangzhou or Hong Kong?


hong kong


While Guangzhou is indeed an international airport, most airlines from Europe and the United States don’t offer any direct flights to Guangzhou. The easiest way to get to the Canton Fair is to book a flight to Hong Kong and then take a train to Guangzhou. You can also fly into Shanghai Pudong International Airport and take a domestic flight to Guangzhou.


Do I need to have a translator or speak Chinese?


guide to canton fair 2018 translator need


Nope, not at all! While you might think having a translator along for the trip would be a must, they’re actually not too necessary. Nearly every vendor and booth will have someone who speaks English. If your budget allows for it, having a translator could be helpful for getting around outside of the trade show, but again, it’s not imperative.

If you really want to get a translator to really get the best out of your Canton Fair and China business trip, take a look at our services page, we offer professional translators and much more.


Some Other Tips and Things to Keep in Mind


guide to canton fair 2018

MOQ, Pricing, Lead Time


Being in the importing or sourcing business, it’s a must to clarify MOQ, pricing and lead time with each vendor you speak with. Make sure to confirm that pricing is calculated in your home currency.  Regarding lead time, many vendors will keep certain products in stock which in turn reduces lead time. If you’re just starting out, it’s often easier to stick with products that are kept in stock.


Make a plan for each day


The Canton Fair is massive. In order to get the most out of your trip, figure out which industry and Phase you need to attend. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck aimlessly wandering and will likely be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the expo.

So, is the Canton Fair worth attending?


If you’re looking to source the best goods from China and don’t want to waste time ordering samples online through Alibaba, then attending the Canton Fair should be a no-brainer. Not only will you get to see the products first hand, you’ll also be building important contacts in-person. Hopefully, this quick guide has been helpful! Also while you’re here, be sure to check out our guide to the Global Sources E-Commerce Summit, especially if you’re involved in online commerce.