Canton Fair 2023 Trade Show Guide (Post-Zero COVID Updated)

The Canton Fair is finally back for 2023 after years of being closed! There's a couple of catches (mostly regarding visas, see below) but otherwise The Canton Fair is back.

For those unaware, The Canton Fair is the mecca for importers, and every year over 180,000 buyers make the pilgrimage to Guangzhou to source products from over 60,000 Suppliers. The Canton Fair happens twice a year and happens over nearly 2 weeks.

Is The Canton Fair Open for Foreigners in 2024?

YES – The Canton Fair is open for business in 2023 (finally).

After years of COVID-hiatus the Canton Fair is back on for April 2023 and foreigners are completely welcome. China is also now recognizing any previous visas you had issued (as long as they're still valid of of course).

Check out our updated 2023 Post-zero COVID China Guide for more information. 

If you're unfamiliar with the Canton Fair, it is the largest trade show in China and has been taking place for over 50 years. For the first time visitor of trade shows in China, the Canton Fair is the best introduction. It has something for almost everyone, no matter your industry, and it is very Western-friendly.

Related Reading: 2023 Visiting China Guide (Post-Zero Covid)
Related Podcast: Episode 97: Asia Trip Review – Global Sources Summit, Canton Fair, and a Visit to our Philippines Team

Overview of the Canton Fair

The Canton Fair is held twice a year in April and October and has been going on for over 50 years.  It's really hard to get your head around how big the Canton Fair complex is. Imagine the largest convention that you've ever been to in your life and then multiply it by three. It's big.

280 Football Fields
The Canton Fair is as big as 280 football fields! (Bring your best pair of shoes!)

Here is a picture of the Canton Fair Complex taken from our hotel room, which was 2 blocks away and 42 stories up.  Look at how small the people are in the picture for reference!

Canton Fair Complex

The show is generally open from 9:30 am – 6:00 pm each day, but check the website as some of the days have slightly different hours.

Canton Fair Dates & Phases

The Canton Fair is spread out over three phases over three weeks (during COVID it was condensed into one phase). The times below are subject to change – check the official website's phase dates here

Canton Fair Dates Spring & Autumn 2023

April 15 – 19, 2024: Electronics, lighting
April 23 – 27, 2024: Consumer goods, ceramics (Probably the one you want to go to)
May 1 – 5, 2024: Textiles, medical products

October 15 – 19, 2024: Electronics, lighting
October 23 – 27, 2024: Consumer goods, ceramics (Probably the one you want to go to)
October 31 to November 4, 2024: Textiles, medical products

You need to be extremely careful to pick the phase most applicable to you. For most people, you'll want to visit Phase 2 which is for consumer goods (think garlic presses and patio furniture). Depending on your niche though, you might be in Phase 1 or Phase 2 (I'm in automotive so Phase 1 is for me). Read Phase Guide below to narrow down on what phase you should be in. Even if you do end up in the wrong phase, you'll probably find something for you, there'll just be not as much for you.

The different sections of the Canton Fair are listed below:

Phase 1

  • Electronics & Household Appliances
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Vehicles and Spare Parts
  • Machinery
  • Hardware & Tools
  • Building Materials
  • Chemical Products
  • Energy Resources
  • International Pavillion

Phase 2

  • Consumer Goods
  • Gifts
  • Home Decorations

Phase 3

  • Textile & Garments
  • Shoes
  • Office Supplies, Cases & Bags & Recreational Products
  • Medicines, Medical Devices & Health Products
  • Food
  • International Pavillion

Who Should and Shouldn't Visit the Canton Fair

Who should go:

  • You should go if you have been finding Suppliers via Alibaba and want to make the next leap
  • You should go if you have current Suppliers who will be exhibiting at the fair (makes it easy to meet and a greet with multiple Suppliers)
  • You should go if you're a first time business visitor to China (the Canton Fair is very Western friendly)
  • You should go if you're importing mass-market consumer commodities

Who Shouldn't Go

  • You shouldn't go if you've visited China before and your industry has better industry-specific trade shows (i.e. if you're importing fishing products and there are Fishing and Hunting trade show in China)
  • You shouldn't go if you have a short amount of time in China and your first priorities are in far away provinces and cities (i.e. Beijing, Shanghai, etc.)

The Canton Fair is the absolute ideal starting point for people who have done a few imports through sites like Alibaba and want to make the next leap in their business.

Visiting Factory in China
Take the time to visit your supplier's Factory when you go to the Canton Fair. Meeting with your Suppliers in person builds rapport and shows you’re a serious buyer.

Why is visiting trade shows in China so valuable?

  1. Visiting trade shows will help you find Suppliers not advertising on the internet (and thereby eliminating a good percentage of your competition).
  2. You can meet your Suppliers in person which builds rapport and shows you're a serious buyer (ever have an email ignored by an Alibaba Supplier? This almost never happens when you email someone you meet at the Canton Fair).

The Canton Fair has something for everyone. However, if you're in a very specialized niche like medical supplies or fishing, a Chinese trade show specific to that niche will have more selection. Check out for a list of most trade shows in China.

Around Metro lines you may even find Western volunteers to help you find your way to the Canton Fair.

The Canton Fair waters are also warm for Western buyers taking a dip into the world of China for the first time.

Around Canton Fair time hordes of university students eager to practice their English surround airports and metro lines to help Western visitors. Hong Kong is still a much easier introduction to China but the Canton Fair is about as easy as it gets when it comes to travel in Mainland China.

Related Reading: How to Import from China Quickly, Safely and Cheaply (Mega Guide)

When to Go to the Canton Fair

Both the Spring and Fall session of the Canton Fair are nearly identical. The Spring session is ideal for finding products for Christmas. The Fall session is ideal for finding products for the next calendar year.

In terms of weather, October and April are very similar. Comfortably warm but not suffocating. Always humid – expect to shower multiple times per day.

Average guangzhou climate

Don’t make the mistake I made the first time and plan to go to the wrong phase of the show, so read the description of the phases very carefully (or post in the comments below what products you’re looking for and we’ll help you decide what phase to go to).

How to Get to the Canton Fair and Where to Stay

The fair is in Guangzhou, one of the three main cities of China (the other two being Shanghai and Beijing).  It’s located very near to Hong Kong. With the high-speed rail it is less than 1 hour from Kowloon (central Hong Kong) to Guangzhou.

The easiest way to see the train schedules is on (also check out our guide on booking China travel, including rail tickets, on

Remember, Hong Kong is essentially a separate country with different visa regulations and customs formalities. The biggest implication is to ensure you have a multiple entry visa for China, which most Westerners now receive with 10-year visas BUT make sure you have one. Most Westerners will not need a visa to visit Hong Kong.

If you're flying into Hong Kong you can also take a 2 hour ferry directly from the airport to Guangzhou Pazhou ferry terminal from directly within Hong Kong's airport (you never even clear Hong Kong customs). I've taken this and it's super convenient if you're flying in (it's a better option than the train which requires you to clear Hong Kong customs and transit from the airport to the train station).

Hong Kong's Sky Pier ferry terminal directly within Hong Kong International Airport allows easy ferry access to Guangzhou and the Canton Fair.

Xingang Dong Station and Pazhou Station on Line 8 are the nearest metro stations to the fair.

It's possible to commute back and forth between Hong Kong and Guangzhou every day but not recommended as it makes for a lot of commuting time, especially when dealing with customs.

Guangzhou is a city with over 10 million people and there’s no shortage of rooms in the city, even for last-minute travelers. The best value rooms in the most popular hotels will sell out though so you’re best to book 3 or 4 weeks in advance if you can.

There are only a few hotels close to the actual Canton Fair complex. Expect to pay well over $300 per night (and often well over $500).

Canton Fair Map with Hotels
In red is the Canton Fair. And in Blue are the closest (and most expensive) hotels.

The poorly drawn red line is the footprint of the Canton Fair Complex.  The Canton Fair complex is 0.6 x 0.8 miles.  It's BIG.

The 3 blue boxes are the hotels in the area.  The blue box directly below the fair complex is the Westin Pazhou.  Rooms are expensive as well as food and drinks. The buffet is about $70USD per person for dinner.  A cup of tea is about $9USD. They can charge these crazy prices because there isn't much else around.  Their internet is free and normally uncensored – a big bonus.

westin pazhou
The Westin Pazhou is the most convenient hotel for Canton Fair but also one of the priciest.

The next blue box, directly to the east of the Westin is the Hee Fun Apartment hotel. It's reasonably priced, and most importantly they have a washer and dryer which is great if you're travelling light.

The top right square is the Shangri-La Hotel, It's actually pretty hard to get from the south side of the complex area to the north side because the road that cuts through it doesn't have any walkways across.

There are some restaurants in the underground below Pazhou Station, but besides that, there isn't much to do or eat in this area.

If you don't stay at one of the pricy local hotels then pick a hotel near a Metro ideally near Metro Line 8 where the fair is located.

How to Get a Chinese Visa

2023 Update: China is again recognizing all previous visas that were issued, as long as they're valid 

Citizens of most countries require a visa to enter Mainland China although China has been issuing a lot more visas on a arrival for certain nationalities as well as giving lengthy transit visas to even more. (citizens of most Western countries do not need a visa to enter Hong Kong, however). I won't even try to give update visa advice here as it changes so frequently. If you do need a visa beforehand though you'll need to either visit the closest Chinese Consulate to where you live or use a visa agency (i.e. a travel agent). . 

Keep in mind that it takes a couple of weeks to actually get the VISA, so don't wait until the last second to apply, otherwise, you will have to pay rush fees. China issues most visas as ten years visas now meaning you'll never have to worry about it again for a long time. You should officially get a business visa which requires an invitation form (easy and free) from the Canton Fair. Non-officially, many people simply visit on a tourist visa.

China 10 Year Business Multi Entry VISA

TIP: If your VISA outlasts the expiration of your passport, the VISA is still valid. You just need to travel with both passports when going to China.

Your Badge/Invitation

You should register for the fair beforehand, although you do not need to. If you choose to register at the fair it will cost you 100 RMB (about $20USD). You should register beforehand simply to save the $20 it costs to register at the show.
Like all Chinese websites, the registration website is terrible. Someone will actually review and approve your badge (check your spam folder). Once approved you will still have to pick up your actual badge at the show. In years after, they will send you a badge during each phase via postal mail for at least a year.

If you don't pre-register for whatever reason, don’t stress out – just do it at the show and pay the $20 or so in fees.

Registration for your badge is sane and orderly and if you get to the show the day before, lines are virtually non-existent.

If you register beforehand, make sure you bring a passport photo and a paper copy of your badge registration. If you forget (like the thousands of other people) you can do it at the show, although be prepared to pay another $5 for the photos and wait in line.

You can get your badge at the show the day before a particular phase opens. If you’re in town and close by to the fair, you can avoid all the lines and get your badge then. Otherwise, the show staff is fairly efficient at dispensing badges but expect to wait 20-30 minutes (your pre-approval for a badge saves you 100RMB, not time).

If you have an existing badge from a previous Canton Fair session you can use it for any Canton Fair session (and DO NOT throw it away after the show). I'm still using my badge from 2015 nearly ten years later.  

Packing List for Visiting China/Canton Fair

Here's the top 10 things I bring with me to the Canton Fair/China:

  1. Chinese currency RMB (assume your cards will not work in China)
  2. Prepurchased Hong Kong Sim purchased off eBay
  3. Gifts for Suppliers
  4. Samples of competitor products
  5. My ‘real' business cards and my ‘China trade shows' (with burner email account) business cards
  6. Prepurchased and installed proxy service like Panda Pow
  7. Photographs of my first night's hotel name in Chinese and a phone number
  8. My old Canton Fair badge
  9. Chinese Travel Adapter OR remove the Third ‘Ground' Plug Off My 3-Pronged Items
  10. Passport complete with 10 year visa

Getting Ready for the Show

To have the most successful buying experience at the show, you should do a lot of work beforehand. Here are some tips:

  • Determine what products you're looking for beforehand (don't go there hoping to find products)
  • Research potential Suppliers beforehand using the Canton Fair website

Like any trade show, you should be doing hours of research beforehand on the Suppliers and vendors who will be there. The Canton Fair website isn’t great unfortunately and you'll have to rely on the Canton Fair’s crappy search functionality which also isn't great.  I always like to generate a list of 20-30 Suppliers beforehand (along with their booth numbers) that I plan to visit.

The Canton Fair attracts nearly 200,000 visitors for each phase.

Before you attend the show, determine what types of products you are looking for. Do not go to the show to blindly look for products.

Research your products well beforehand including doing competitor research on Amazon. Prepare a list of questions to ask suppliers about your desired products. Good questions to ask suppliers include:

  • What are the exact specifications of this product (hopefully you know the important specifications)
  • Can I make it in xyz color/size and if so, how much does it cost?
  • What are the package dimensions? How many items per box?
  • Where is the Supplier based? Who are their main customers? What is a typical order trial order size for them?

You may find some products at the show you never even imagined about but, for the most part, you want to have a predetermined hit list of products to look for.

How Long Should You Visit the Canton Fair?

Most people want two days during each phase they intend to visit. You do not need the full the five days of each phase.

During the first day of the show, talk to as many suppliers as possible and generate a short list of suppliers you want to follow up with the next day. On day two, follow up with these suppliers that you’re really interested in and ask some more in-depth questions including about pricing.

There are dozens of halls each with hundreds of Suppliers.


There's a lot of value in using the Canton Fair as a common meeting ground for current and potential Suppliers. Aside from arranging breakfasts/dinners with current and potential Suppliers, many Suppliers rent hotel rooms that are mini showrooms where the real business is discussed. Allow for an extra day or two of meetings in Guangzhou.

How to Dress and Bring to the Canton Fair

What to bring with you to the show:

  • Comfortable shoes and breathable clothing
  • A rolly bag or backpack to carry all of the materials you'll accumulate
  • A LOT of business cards (ideally with an email address you don't mind getting spammed to death)
  • Your badge and/or registration approval
  • A full charged cell phone for photo purposes, ideally with backup power supply

Dress comfortably for the show. You're going to be doing a lot of walking (including through Metro stations, in queues, and around the show) and Guangzhou is incredibly humid so wearing dress shoes and a suit isn't exactly practical. Dress in a pair of nice slacks/shorts and a nice polo.

canton fair rolly bag

During the show, you're going to accumulate a ton of material and catalogues from Suppliers. If you're there during the first few hours of a particular phase, Suppliers may even give you rather large gifts (i.e. tea sets). Bring a large backpack or, preferably, a rolly bag to carry everything in.

Bring a ton of business cards but make sure you have a secondary email address on them unless you don't care about having your email put onto a million Chinese mailing lists.

You're going to be taking a ton of pictures of products and booths so make sure your phone is fully charged. Better, bring a backup power supply as finding power outlets is difficult.

At the Show: Pricing, MOQs, Samples, and Communication

Prices in China are much more fixed than they were previously. Expect some negotiation but the days of suppliers arbitrarily doubling prices for foreigners is over.

Meeting with Suppliers at the Canton Fair
Meeting with Suppliers at the Canton Fair

At the fair, some suppliers are hesitant to give out price lists for fear of competitors getting their hands on them. Many will ask you to email after the show. This is normal.

MOQs are the much bigger negotiation point. Suppliers at the Canton Fair seem to always quote very large MOQs. There is often more negotiation on MOQs than on prices. Ask suppliers if they accept smaller trial orders.

Very few Suppliers are going to give out any free samples unless you visit their factory. The exception is in the last couple of hours on the final day of the show when Suppliers are packing up when many will be happy to give you their samples.

Many readers ask if they need an interpreter for the show. You can book an interpreter at the show (or beforehand) for around 500-800RMB or ($100-150US). However, 80-90% of the booths will have someone who can speak very reasonable English. If they don't have someone at the show who can speak reasonable English, how are you going to communicate with them after the show and/or when something goes wrong with your order?

Photos from the Canton Fair

What Other Events Are Going On?

Coronavirus Update: Most of the events below have been impacted and/or cancelled due to COVID. 

FBA4U Meetup: This free networking event for importers is hosted by our good friend Chris Davey.
Global Sources Summit: This Amazon focus conference happens in Hong Kong next to the Global Sources trade show
Hong Kong Mega Show: A good show for housewares/gifts/etc… Only happens in the fall. Check out our guide here.

The Canton Fair Entrance

The Other Canton Fair Entrance

Booths at the Canton Fair

The Canton Fair is Large

More booths from the Canton Fair

The other booths from the Canton Fair

The Canton Fair Lobby

Walkway to the Canton Fair

Canton Fair Necotiation


For anyone importing from China, you should at some point in your life visit the Canton Fair. Giving a sense of the scale of the fair through a blog post can't begin to do it justice. It's truly huge. It will open your eyes to the scale of Chinese manufacturing and possibilities you had never even considered before.

Have you visited the Canton Fair before? Or are you planning to go to one of the upcoming sessions? If so, share your experiences below or any questions you may have.

Dave Bryant

Dave Bryant has been importing from China for over 10 years and has started numerous product brands. He sold his multi-million dollar ecommerce business in 2016 and create another 7-figure business within 18 months. He's also a former Amazon warehouse employee of one week.

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  1. Hi,
    I was wondering, if you go to the fair as a journalist, what kind of accreditation do you need? Is it a buyer one also, or is there another one? I can’t find any informations about it, and also about the specifics of the buyer’s accreditation.

    Thanks a lot for your help!

  2. Hi there, we are a craft business. Looking to import ribbons, stickers and other craft items from china. If we attend the canton fair at some point which phase will we need to attend?


  3. I am going to the canton fair in hopes to find a supplier for a new brand I am tryin to build. We are looking for sport goods (ie: hiking poles, etc…). Would it be better to attend phase 2 or phase 3?

  4. Great article, very helpful for me. I just got back from the recent show and revisited your page to send to a friend as they are interested next year. I noticed that you didn’t list the Langham as an option to stay at. We had a truly lovely experience there and found that we could enter the show just across the road with minimal queues and then walk freely/catch the shuttle bus very easily. It would be worth adding that as an option as I think they had a lot of choices for prices depending on budget and access to the show is super easy.

  5. Hi Dave, I’m planning on visiting phase 2 this April. Will yourself and the team be visiting and having a meet-up? It would be great to meet other importers and network.

    1. Hi Ryan – I’ll be over there in March unfortunately and will miss the Canton Fair :(

  6. Great article, Dave!
    I have imported couple of products through Alibaba and now planning to go to Canton fair myself. This article gives great insights to someone like me.

    1. Hey, Ashraf! We’re happy to hear it was helpful. We wish you the best of luck with your ecommerce journey :)

  7. Hello Dave,
    I am looking for a company that can build large fiberglass auto parts for my business. Do you think this show is where I should start? I am having a very hard time finding any suppliers on Alibaba or anywhere else on the internet for that matter

  8. hi
    i want some information about the fair this october, because im planing travel to the fair for bussines

    ingecon ltda.
    Andres zambrano.

  9. Hi Dave
    I have been trying through Alibaba to locate a supplier in China that can manufacture metal components and powder coat them. The components are mainly made from 25 x 25mm Square tube steel. Could you let me know if the Canton Fair would be a good starting place for me to find fabricators that manufacture to our specifications?

    1. The canton fair normally isn’t great for raw materials like this. You never know though.

  10. Hey Dave, nice article! I’m looking at going in May 2020, do you know which phase would sell Mobile Phone Cases & Accessories? I’m a bit confused, I’m not sure if it would be under electronics or fashion? Do you know if Canton has an email I can contact to find out? Thank you

  11. Hi David!
    Can I qualify and attend the Canton Fair if I have not set up a company yet? Who cannot attend?

  12. Hello there firstly, thank you for this guide I am preparing to attend the upcoming show in October. Can you tell me which phrase is great for backpacks, t shirt printing machine and customized apparel ?

    Thank you

    1. Probably phase 2 but double check to make sure. Could be 1 as well for the commercial products.

  13. Hi, after registration on Canton fair website do I need to apply for the “Buyers Badge”? It’s super confussing, lol

  14. Hi Dave,
    Which trade show and phase is best for IPLlaser machines? (Hair Removal) and other personal beauty devices. Thanks for all your articles they are very informative.

  15. Hi Dave, thanks for sharing all this info for first time visitor like me. I plan to go to the 1st phase that starts this april 15, and the thing is that my wife is whom can speak and read chinese, but we are also traveling with my 1 1/2 year old daughter, are baby stroller allowed in the canton fair?

    1. I’m not sure, but people bring huge wheely suitcases so I don’t think a stroller will be an issue.

  16. Great article! Thank you! Can you confirm what phase covers fashion Jewellery suppliers and factories? I mean suppliers of earrings, necklace and all types of fashion Jewellery.

    1. Hi – I actually can’t tell strictly from the Canton Fair phase list but I would think it’s phase 3. There’s also a very good jewellery show in Hong Kong around that time.

    2. Hi Vivian
      As Dave mentioned, Phase 3 is where most of the fashion product factories are represented. That being said, it really depends on the types of jewelry you are looking for. Guangzhou (where the Fair is held) has a wholesale jewelry district so if you are in town, you may want to check that out. Suppliers who do sterling silver, stainless steel as well as more niche types of jewelry can be found there.

  17. Hi!
    Thanks a lot for all the incredibly useful info. I am looking for a supplier for travel pillows (U Shaped neck pillows). It seems like Phase 2 of Canton Fair is the one I should visit. Could you please advise if I’m correct in my assumption.

    1. I am 90% certain that’s where you would find it but review the vendors list just to make sure there’s some suppliers there that fit that description.

  18. Great article, as always! I am currently sourcing from China, and would be interested to see some more information about other countries, like India and Pakistan.
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Christian – we have a lot of people requesting this. Perhaps in the future!

  19. Dave,
    As always, excellent article full of useful information needed for sellers to make good decisions, whether it is buying or traveling. We currently have our products made in China and we are currently looking to expand production to Vietnam. We would love to find a good team, like you and Mike, that have this much knowledge to share about Vietnam. That said, you guys are still the best!

  20. Hi David, many thanks for this really informative article! I am very new to the amazon seller business and believe it will be a great benefit for me visit the Canton fair this year. Your article gives me the tools that I need to get the most out of my visit. Thanks!

  21. Hey Guys,

    Are you going to the Canton Fair this year? If so, are there any Ecom Crew meet ups scheduled? Also, in one of your posts (it think it might have been Mike that stated this) you mentioned preferring to stay in downtown Guangzhou as there was more to do (nightlife/dining options). What is your preferred hotel when you are in Guangzhou? Thanks for all of the awesome work!!

    1. Hi Bill,

      We most likely are some time around the 24-27 of April. We’ve actually been rotating between hotels the last several times (sometimes close to fair, sometimes close to train station, sometimes close to airport) so there’s no consistent one choice. Any of the major Western brand hotels are fine though no matter where in the city.

  22. Hi Dave,

    Very helpful!
    I’ll be in Canton Fair this November 2018. As your suggestion about jeans, is it really strictly not allowed to use jeans?

    1. Hi Anna – you can wear spandex if you want :) The jeans are just uncomfortable and not very breathable. Better to wear slacks.

  23. Actually how many do we really need to take a decent tour for CantonFair. Is it three days is good enough or just two days should be enough? Also how many days we need globalsources trade show happening in hongkong? this information will be helpful for staying for right amount of time. It is pure business purpose so no personal tour planned. please let me know.

    1. 2 days for the Canton and 2 for Global sources is enough as long as you know what you’re looking for.

  24. Thanks a lot for this info. I want to source a roll forming machine from china so I can set up a roofing factory, so I’ve decided to attend the Canton Fair. What phase would that be ? And do you think that being a one-time importer of the machinery it’s a good thing to attend the fair?


    1. Hi Willy- I’m not entirely sure but I would think Phase 1. Yes, you’ll still get lots of value because the Face to Face contact and rapport building can’t be replicated through email.


  26. Hey guys! Thanks for all you do! I am considering going this year (2018), but I’m not terribly sure what category my product fits into. The product is the Urban Worm Bag, essentially a textile bag that is suspended from an iron frame with plastic connectors. It is unique and would NOT be something on the shelf at the Canton Fair. My MOQ is 1000-3000.

    1) Is Canton still a good place to find a supplier for this?
    2) Based on what I described, would this be a Phase 3 item for sure?

    I’m planning to take one or several of the Bags if I go, but I am afraid of getting blank stares by the vendors.

    Thanks Dave! Great article.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Sorry for the late reply. I know you emailed this privately through Premium but I’ll respond here for people as well.

      1) Yes, the Canton Fair is a great starting point, it just takes some navigating through the weeds.
      2) I believe so, althoguh I’m not in the gardening niche so I’d have to do a deep dive of the exhibitor list to be sure.

  27. Very nice article on the Canton fair and it can help almost every small business to grow with help of different suppliers from every part of the world. One must publish their own business cards to help let suppliers know about their businesses.

  28. Great article! I’m planning to attend the fair for my first time for spring 2018 session 3. Quick question – I live in Missouri, but I’ll be in Washington DC for a few days. Do you know if I can apply for my visa at the Embassy in DC, or do I have to go through the Consulate in Chicago (the one that covers my state)? Thanks!

    1. Normally you can apply for a visa at ANY consulate or embassy, whether it is in Washington or Timbuktu.

  29. Hi Dave and Bryan
    I will be at the Canton Fair in April also. Phase 1 and part of Phase 2. I just got the visa at the Chinese Embassy in DC and it was $140. I listen to you and Mike and have learned a lot. Would love to meet up with you guys in China at some point if you have time. We are newer sellers (since fall 2017) and have 5 products now. Hoping to find many more in China and meet our current suppliers. If you want to connect, let’s exchange contact info. Sue

  30. Hi Dave,
    Great article, thank you.
    I am visiting the Canton Fair for the 3rd time in April (phase 1) Getting a visa for China seems to have skyrocketed in price… do you have a reliable resource that can provide me with this service at a reasonable cost?
    If you are going to be going to phase 1 would be great to meet. Please let me know
    And thanks again for the great info in the article.

    1. Hi Bryan,

      I’m not sure what the cost is now, but if it did increase it might have to do with the fact it’s now a 10 year visa so it’s one and done type of thing. Last time I applied 2 years ago it was around $150. I used a local chinese travel agency so I can’t refer you to anyone. Me and Mike will both be at the Global Sources Summit in Hong Kong in between Phase 1/2 speaking so we can definitely connect there (use coupon code 6DB100 to save $100 if you go)

  31. Hi there! Thanks for the information! Just wondering, if I arrive a couple of days into phase 1 of the October fair (2017), for example, the 17th of October, am I allowed to pick up my buyers card on the 17th of October? Or do I have to do it on the first and second day (15 Oct and 16 Oct) of Phase 1?

  32. This article was exactly what I needed David! Thanks for the details on how to dress, how to prepare and the valuable links.

    I want to go for the consumer good product category but am eager to see what is going to be shown in the electronics category the first Phase.

    Do you know people who go to all 3 phases?


    1. Lots of people go to two phases, but going to all three phases will put you in Guangzhou from at least April 19-May 1, which is a long time. Most people find a couple days per phase is more than adequate. If you want to go to all 3 phases I would break up the trip in between, probably with a short trip to Hong Kong/Macao.

  33. Hi David, I’m new to your business … planning to order your course – still navigating all the great information your present. I’m not sure if this is the place to ask, but are you in China? the reason I ask is that my life is similar to yours (but two sons, 4 and 7), and I live in China. I’ve done a variety of things here, but seriously considering assisting westerners with sourcing, QC, even managing a branch of their office here in China – North Qingdao. Shandong is a mecca of factories, as you probably know. If I can assist you or your customers – kindly let me know.
    PS. but my main focus now is getting Chinese products shipped to and sold in the US, while I stay here.

    1. Hi John,

      No, Vancouver is normally home for me. IMO, I’ve known a few people trying to do go the route of helping westerners source products and it normally doesn’t work out. Most small companies want to do it themselves and the bigger companies want to work with a more established QC firm. There’s a ton of opportunities you can make yourself as a Westerner living in China, but this isn’t one I would personally pursue. Just my two cents though.

  34. David, I am looking for an agent in China that can source solid wood furniture and accessories and all the relevant data on such. Do you provide such services or could you identify someone who can? Thank you! Mike

    1. Hi Michael,

      Unfortunately I don’t provide any sourcing services, but there’s a ton of companies out there who do.

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