This is part of our Visiting China for Trade Shows & Business Portal.

Updated in February 2018 with up to date information regarding visiting Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Mega Show

If you’re an importer, you may have heard of the Canton Fair. But in October, right around the time of the Fall session of the Canton Fair is another fantastic show just a couple of hours away via train, the Hong Kong Mega Show. The Hong Kong Mega Show is geared more towards Western buyers and is an excellent starting point for your sourcing trips into Mainland China.  The Hong Kong Mega Show has two parts and is generally open during the transition days of the Canton Fair.  Since the two cities are only about 2 hours apart, it’s not uncommon for people to travel back and forth during one mega trip to China (sorry for the pun). In this post I’ll give a guide to the Hong Kong Mega Show specifically and traveling to Hong Kong/China in general. You can also read our other guide to visiting the Canton Fair.

Who Should Attend the Hong Kong Mega Show (and China/Hong Kong in General)?

Who are these shows in China and Hong Kong for?  Well, if you are currently purchasing products from China, or thinking about purchasing products from China, you can expect to get a ton out of visiting trade shows in either Mainland China or Hong Kong.

Before my first time attending the Canton Fair or Hong Kong Mega Show, my company had been purchasing products abroad for about a year.  Our go-to place to find manufactures was Alibaba, which was nothing short of a frustrating experience.  We would send an email to a manufacturer, wait a day or two to get a reply and kind of play that game over the next couple of weeks while we were trying to communicate over broken Chinglish.

The most frustrating thing would be trying to communicate quality.  Our company’s philosophy has been to make nothing but the highest quality products.  The manufacturer would say “I understand, we make very high quality products.  You can trust me.”  Then, the products would show up and be total junk.  A total waste of time and money.  This would happen time and time again; we found maybe a 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 success rate.

By going to these fairs we were able to walk into a booth, look at the product, tell it was junk, and walk right back out.  Once we found something that was interesting we would strike up a conversation.  I estimate that we were able to accomplish what would have been 4-6 months of work from the USA, in just under 3 weeks in China.  It was simply amazing.

The Hong Kong Mega Show is tiny compared to the Canton Fair but it is more Western friendly and has more consistent product quality. If you’re going to the Canton Fair you will likely find yourself in Hong Kong at some point no matter what, so visiting the Mega Show as part of a Canton Fair trip is a great idea.

Preparation

VISAs

If you’re visiting Hong Kong only, you will likely not need any type of visa. If you’re visiting China as well then you will almost certainly need a visa. For immigration and customs purposes, Hong Kong and China are entirely different countries with different visa regimes. View our Canton Fair Guide for more information regarding visas.

Flights

We booked our flights about 3.5 months in advance of the Hong Kong Mega Show and Canton Fairs. We typically don’t like to book travel that far in advance, because things can be kind of fluid in our business. However, we used airline miles for this trip and those really aren’t that flexible. We also knew that if we didn’t get the trip booked early it could lead to excuses of why we were too busy to go.

One thing that I can’t stress enough is that these flights are long. We booked with Asiana Airlines because that is what our airline miles allowed for. We departed LAX around noon on the 21st of October and finally arrived in Hong Kong around 10pm on the 22nd. Flying From LAX to Hong Kong is the same as going from LA, to New York, back to LA, and half way back to New York again. IT IS FAR.

If there is any possible way to swing it I would look into business class. We were lucky enough to fly business and I still found the trip almost unbearable. There is no Internet and only so many movies you can watch. I would have needed a tranquilizer in coach.

TIP: One thing that worked out really well for us was landing in Hong Kong later at night. We were just super worn out from traveling all day and by time we got to the hotel, checked in, and unpacked it was just after midnight. Since we were so exhusted, we just crashed right away. I woke up around 7am the next morning and felt generally refreshed. I was able to stay awake until 9pm the following day with no problem and that kind of became the schedule the entire rest of the trip; go to bed at 9pm / 10pm and wake up at 5am / 6am. I’m not used to getting up that early at home, but it worked out quite well in Asia. So, if you can book flights that get you into Hong Kong, or China around bed time that works out great!

Asiana Airlines First Class Seat

Asiana Airlines First Class Seat

Hotels

Keep in mind that you won’t be the only one coming to town for the Hong Kong Mega Show (or the Canton Fair).  In fact, there are over 100,000 people who flock to Hong Kong and Guangzhou during this time.  This means hotel rooms are at a premium and you can expect to pay top dollar to stay in a decent location.

The closest hotel the the Mega Show is the Grand Hyatt, but they wanted something crazy like $600 a night to stay there.  I’m all about convenience, but that is just too much to pay for a room if I’m not on a tropical island vacation.

If you check out the map below, I would look for something along the blue line on the map.  The is the Island Line, which runs east to west right along Hong Kong Island.  It’s easy to hop on the Island Line and get off at Wan Chai station, marked with the red pin. From there it’s about a 10 minute walk to the convention center, marked with the red arrow.  The entire walk is above ground in pedestrian paths and it’s very easy to find your way.

I think the best area is near the blue arrow on the map, that is Central station.  Not only is it near a lot of cool things in downtown Hong Kong, but it’s also where the direct airport train dumps you out. When we go back next year, I think we will try to stay as close to Central Station as possible.

We also found taxis to be a good option getting to the show.  On the way out of the show it’s really hard to get a cab though since everyone else is trying to do the same.

Hong Kong Map

Hong Kong Map

 

The Hong Kong Mega Show

The Hong Kong Mega Show takes place once per year in October at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center (HKCEC).  The show is comprised of two phases (Part 1 and Part 2).  The show is open generally from 9:30am – 6:30pm each day, give or take a half hour (check the website for the exact schedule).

As big as the Mega Show is, I estimate it to be about 1/3 of the size of the Canton Fair.

The official Hong Kong Mega Show website can be found here.

TIP: Even though the exhibitors are told not to break their booth down before 6:00pm on the final day, no one listens to that.  We found that during each phase, around lunch time most people started packing up.  This was pretty annoying since we missed day 1 of part one because of travel.  So, the final day was a bit of a wash for us since everyone was packing up.  I’m not sure why people would go all that way to exhibit and pack up early, but that’s exactly what they did.

The venue has a few restaurants  that are a bit pricey, but adequate.  It would be a decent walk to eat off property.  We did our best to eat a nice breakfast each day so we could avoid the lunch crowds and overpriced food.

TIP: If you want to go to the HKCEC via subway, you need to get off at Wan Chai station and just follow the crowds.  It’s about a 10 minute walk from the subway to the convention center.

Overall we found the quality of products to be slightly better at the Mega Show vs the Canton Fair.

TIP: Communication was a bit of a problem in almost every booth.  I strongly advise bringing / hiring a translator to come with you.  I’m very lucky that my wife speaks Chinese and she was a massive help though out the shows. If you don’t have a translator you can still get b but make sure you have Google Translate installed on your phone.

Here is a list of what is at each phase:

Part 1:

The following sections make up Part 1 of the Hong Kong Mega Show:

Asian Gifts & Premiums Show

Advertising Premiums.Souvenirs.Personal Care, Wellness and Toiletries.Aromatic Products.Premiums.Consumer Electronics, Gadgets & IT.Arts and Crafts & Decorative Items.Promotional Gifts.Fashion Accessories and Apparel.Travel and Luggage.Electronic Gifts.Stationery, Office, Paper Products

Asian Giftwrap & Packaging Show

Gift Packaging.Giftwrap.Wrapping paper, Ribbons & Bows.Gift Boxes.Jewellery Boxes.Carrier Bags and Totes.Packaging Tools, Machinery and Equipment

Asian Festive, Christmas & Seasonal Show

Candles & Fragrances.Christmas Decorations.Annual & Seasonal Festive Decorations.Party & Festive.Wrapping paper, Ribbons & Bows.Fireworks, Lanterns & Lighting

Asian Housewares & Home Decor Show

Home Appliances.Household Products.Bathroom.Bedroom.Cleaning Equipment.Pet Care.Storage and Display.Hardware, DIY, House Improvements and Maintenance.Antique Reproductions.Artwork.Decorative Lighting.Ornaments and Interior Accessories.Rugs, Mats and Flooring.Furniture.Soft Furnishings and Home Textiles.Floral Decoration.Garden, Outdoor, Lawn, Patio and Terrace.Wall and Window Décor

Asian Kitchen & Dining Show

Kitchen Appliances, Tools & Gadgets.Bakeware & Cookware.Food Storage.Crockery.Cutlery Products.Kitchen & Dining Textiles.Bar Accessories.China, Crystal & Silver.Dinnerware

Asian Glassware Trends Show

Decorative Glassware.Functional Glassware.Glass Art & Crafts.Glass Vases & Containers.Glass Ornaments & Accessories.Glass Tableware & Wine Glasses

Asian Toys & Games Show

Die Cast/ Mechanical Toys & Action Figures.Electronic Toys.Toy Parts & Accessories.Soft Toys & Dolls.Hobbies, Crafts & Games.Educational Toys & Games.Outdoor & Sporting Items.Ride-on Toys

Asian Baby & Nursery World Show

Baby & Toddlers Cots, Cradles & Bedding.Baby Strollers, Prams & Carriers.Baby & Childrens Furniture.Baby & Toddlers Toys, Activity & Educational Products.Baby Gift Sets.Maternity & Baby Care Healthcare Products.Babywear & Footwear

Design Studio Hall

Design-led Products.Original & Creative Products.Ready-to-launch New Products.Products with Innovative Functions & Features.Innovative Product Design & Tech Applications.Branded & Licensed Products.Designer Collections Design Services

Part 2

Asian Giftware

Advertising Premiums.Souvenirs.Personal Care, Wellness and Toiletries.Aromatic Products.Premiums.Consumer Electronics, Gadgets & IT.Arts and Crafts & Decorative Items.Promotional Gifts.Fashion Accessories and Apparel.Travel and Luggage.Electronic Gifts.Stationery, Office, Paper Products

Asian Home Decor & Outdoor Living

Antique Reproductions.Artwork.Decorative Lighting.Ornaments and Interior Accessories.Rugs, Mats and Flooring.Furniture.Soft Furnishings and Home Textiles.Floral Decoration.Garden, Outdoor, Lawn, Patio and Terrace.Wall and Window Décor

Asian Stationery

General Stationery.Desk & Home Office Products.Children’s Stationery & Pre-School Education.Promotional & Gifts Stationery.Pens.Paper Products.Office Accessories.Computer Peripherals & Accessories.Artist Supplies.Painting Materials

Asian Housewares & Home Textiles

Blinds, Shades & Shutters.Rugs, Mats and Flooring.Carpets.Tapestries.Cushions.Cushion Cases.Table Cloths.Chair Covers.Table Decoration Items.Kitchen Linens.Bed Linens.Bathroom Accessories (Textiles).Household Products.Cleaning Equipment.Storage and Display.Hardware, DIY, House Improvements and Maintenance.Bathroom.Bedroom

Random Mega Show Pictures

Just as you might imagine, it would be just about impossible to capture pictures that give you a sense of the size and scope of the fair.  Below are just a few random shots we took during Part 1 and Part 2 of the show.  Enjoy.

HKCEC

IMG_6506

IMG_6559 IMG_6552 IMG_6551
IMG_6512 IMG_6511
IMG_6508 IMG_6509

IMG_6546

 

From Hong Kong To Guangzhou

The first time we visited Hong Kong and China my wife and I kind of went into our trip somewhat blind.  We knew we would be going back and forth from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, but we weren’t exactly sure how it would work.  After making the trip back and forth several times we learned a lot about it.  We have several tips below as well as maps to show you exactly how to make the trip.

There are two main ways to get from Hong Kong to Guangzhou.

  1. Take the train from Luohu Port in Shenzhen
  2. Take the Inter City Through Train from Hung Hom Station in Hong Kong.

TIP: If you have no reason to go to Shenzhen, then you are going to want to book the Intercity Through Train from Hung Hom.  The Intercity train is direct from Hong Kong to Guangzhou East station.  It saves about 90 minutes vs going through Luohu Port.  It’s a few dollars more, but not much more.  Clearing customs is also much easier on the Inter City train.  There are way fewer people clearing customs at the Trough Train station.  This is the way to get back and forth.

TIP: The Intercity Through train will sell out.  There are 1000’s of people going back and forth from the Mega Show to the Canton Fair; they all have the same idea.  You will want to book your tickets days in advance to make sure you get a seat.  The train leaves about once an hour during peak times and every 2 hours on off peak times.

TIP: Bring cash with you to purchase train tickets.  We couldn’t find machines that would accept our credit cards for some strange reason.

Hung Hom Station Hong Kong

Hung Hom Station Hong Kong

The blue arrow on this map is where the HKCEC is.  The red arrow is Hung Hom Station.  The easiest way to get to Hong Hom Station in our opinion is to just take a taxi.  It won’t cost you more than a few buck and it’s easier than dragging your luggage through the subway.

 

Luohu Port

Luohu Port

If you need to goto Shenzhen for some reason, or the Intercity Through Train is sold out then you will need to cross the border at Luohu Port.  There is a subway that goes directly from Hung Hom Station up to the port.  The journey will take about 1 hour, so plan ahead.  The subway train leaves every few minutes.  Once you get to Luohu Port just follow the signs for Mainland China.  First you will clear Hong Kong customs, then you will walk some more and finally clear China customs.  Then just like that… you’re in Mainland China.

Hong Kong To Guangzhou

Hong Kong To Guangzhou

If you crossed the border at Luohu Port, then you will exit the building and follow the signs for “Guangzhou Trains”.  These trains leave about every 10-15 minutes and don’t sell out.  Be sure to go to Guangzhou East and not Guangzhou Central.  The East Station is much closer to the Canton Fair Complex.  If you leave from Hung Hom on the Intercity Train, this will give you perspective of the journey.  It takes about 2 hours on the Through Train from Hung Hom.

Guanghou East Station

Guangzhou East Station

Once you arrive At Guangzhou East station you can either take the subway or taxi to your hotel or directly to the Canton Fair complex.  It’s about a 15 minute taxi ride and about 25 minutes on the subway (you need to change lines).

The Food

A lot of people have asked me what the food is like in Hong Kong and Mainland China.  I’m the type of person who is willing to eat just about anything, or try just about anything.  So, it wasn’t weird for me having a large selection of international type food.  In Hong Kong you could find American style food like hamburgers, bacon & eggs, and other “reminds me of home” stuff fairly easily… if you looked around.  In Mainland China that task was much more difficult.  You would have to stick to a hotel, or something like that to find “American Food”.  However, if you are into Asian food, especially dumplings, then you are in for a real treat.  I couldn’t complete this blog post without at least a few random food pictures.

TIP: The hot water they give you at the start of the meal is not to drink.  It’s to wash your chopsticks and bowl with.  You then dump that water out into the bigger bowl in the middle of the table.

TIP: It’s hard to get anything besides hot tea to drink.  Just roll with it… that’s their custom.

TIP: Don’t use your hands to eat ever… that’s looked down on in China.  They don’t even have napkins.

If you’re making your way to Mainland China, the food here is a much different story. After the Canton Fair one night we stumbled across a random Chinese Market.  Alligator, scorpions, and snakes were just a few of the things on the menu.  I said I would eat just about anything right?  Well, I draw the line as scorpions.  That goes in the OMG NO category.  At the end of the gallery below are some pictures from this market.

The Internet

While you are in Hong Kong the internet is fast, uncensored, and meets or exceeds Western standards. Mainland China is a whole different story and if you’re heading there you need to be prepared. Check out our Canton Fair guide for more information.

Mike’s Random Tips For The Hong Kong Mega Show Visiting Trade Shows

  1. There are higher quality products at the Mega Show, but the higher quality stuff does exist at the Canton Fair… you just have to look harder.
  2. Travel light… bring as little luggage as possible.  It’s hard to get around the subway and train station with a lot of luggage.  A lot of stations have nothing but stairs.
  3. Bring a journal with you and staple business cards in the journal, then take notes on that page.  It’s easy to stay organized this way.
  4. Bring VERY comfortable shoes.  You will be standing all day and walking a minimum of 5 miles each day.
  5. The dress code is pretty casual at the fairs.  Jeans and a polo is more than enough.
  6. Pack a foldable duffel bag.  You are going to accumulate a lot of catalogs and samples.  You’ll need a place to put them.
  7. Hong Kong (and Guangzhou) are in a subtropical climate.  It will be very humid.  Dress / pack appropriately.
  8. You will need a good bit of cash during your day.  Things such as taxis, trains, and food are often cash or WeChat pay (which is difficult for a foreigner to setup).  Just use the ATMs to get cash out.  It’s much cheaper than the money exchanges.
  9. The last day of each phase booths like to pack up by 1pm or 2pm.  Don’t plan on getting much done the afternoon of the final day.
  10. If you want samples the best day to get them is on the last day.  We took notes of what samples we wanted and went back to those booths on the final day to get them.
  11. Hong Kong, while officially apart of China, it’s treated as a different country in every way.  You will need to clear customs each time you cross the border and it’s a different currency in each country.  There are ATMs in the train stations as soon as you arrive.
  12. You can get a SIM card at the airport that is much cheaper for data and calls.  If your phone is locked you can rent a 3G hotspot. You can also use your local cell phone package if you have a cheap roaming package.
  13. When you arrive at the Hong Kong airport, you want to take the Airport Express train to get downtown. It’s 24 minutes and by far the fastest / cheapest way to get to downtown Hong Kong.  Remember Central Station above?  That’s where it takes you.
  14. If you are interested in products in a booth ask if they are the actual manufacture. About 30% or more of the booths there are trading companies that actually buy the goods from someone else first.

Conclusion

The Hong Kong Mega Show is a great show to check out if you have an extra day or two before or after visiting the Canton Fair or other events in the area during the time. If you have any questions about visiting the show or you are thinking about going yourself and don’t know where to start… I would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below.