The Ultimate Guide to Trade Fairs in China with a Focus on Canton Fair – Free e-Book Tools, Tips & Strategies to get the most out of your Canton Fair Visit

Well it’s finally here. It took me a lot longer than I anticipated but I am glad its done. Yet another session of The Canton Fair started today and to celebrate that I am launching our free eBook on “The Ultimate Guide to Trade Fairs in China”

Click here to download “The Ultimate Guide to Trade Fairs in China With a Focus on the Canton Fair”.

This 130+ Page eBook is designed to help you decide if Canton Fair is right for you and help you prepare and plan for it so that you can maximize your return from a visit to the Canton Fair.

This eBook addresses a lot of the questions that I get via email from clients and visitors to the blog and our website.

Most of these inquiries relate to the same key issues: travelling to the fair, hotels, food, tips on finding the right suppliers, shortlisting suppliers at the fair, etc.


So I thought it was high-time we create one centralized resource that can address most of those questions and concerns.I am glad I have been able to put all this information together in one place. Over the years I learnt several lessons on how to navigate the Canton Fair, and trade fairs in China in general.

The Ultimate Guide to Trade Fairs in China FREE eBook Click To Tweet


More importantly, I learnt how to come across as a serious prospect to suppliers and how to discuss products and pricing in a way that best represents a buyer’s interest.

This eBook is a combination of those experiences and resources. I hope it will cut down the learning curve for new importers & travelers to the trade fairs in China as well as provide experienced importers with some new tools.

A lot of the information shared here can be applied to most trade fairs in China. However, as the Canton Fair is by far the largest trade fair in China, it will be the focus of this book, and a lot of the information shared here will be specific to the Canton Fair only.

In this eBook you will get:

        • A printable ultimate Canton Fair Checklist that you can use as an actual guide before, during & after your visit to the Canton Fair.
        • An extensive list of the popular Trade Fairs in China
        • Tips before actually visiting the fair – Researching and Preparation for China Trade Fairs , Dealing with Visa Issues, Recommendations for Travel & Hotels, Things to carry with you.
        • How- Tos and Tricks at the Canton Fair – At the Canton Fair Venue, Differentiating Traders from Manufacturers, Detecting and Avoiding Scams, Best Places to Eat Out and Enjoy Guangzhou Nightlife, Useful travel Tools & Emergency Numbers.
        • Spicing up Follow up – After visiting the Canton Fair
        • And lots more!


Click here to Download “The Ultimate Guide to Trade Fairs in China”

I am sure after reading this eBook you will still have questions about the Canton Fair that may not have been answered. Please feel free to use the comments section under this post and I will try my best to respond to your questions.

If you found value from this eBook, please spread the love by sharing the post using the share buttons on the left. It helps the blog get found & creates the motivation for me to create useful information for you.

Ashish is the founder of IMEX Sourcing Services, a sourcing & QC company helping people importing from China manage their costs & risks as well as develop new products. Ashish also does consultancy work in the field of International Trade & Import Risk Management & loves to write during his free time.

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  • Hi Jamie,

    Its not common to make payments to suppliers at the Fair itself, although deals are finalised at the Fair (mostly between factories and their existing customers as opposed to new customers). Payments are normally settled after the fair.

    If you are settling small payments with suppliers who do agree to take cash, at the fair or at the wholesale markets in Guangzhou, RMB is definitely preferred.

  • Jamie Johnson

    What is the best method of payment when making a deal with a supplier at the canton fair? If cash, should it be U.S. or china currency?

  • Thanks Saqib.

    The charges for an interpreter can vary quite a bit, depending on their experience (student vs. professional) and their English Level. You can often find student interpreters who speak pretty decent English but they tend to have difficult with Trade Terms and Industry lingo when talking to suppliers and dont really tend to have negotiation skills. Professional ones tend to be better versed with the trade terms. You could pretty hire a student for about 300-500 CNY per day, while a professional interpreter in Guangzhou, may cost anywhere from 500-1200CNY depending on their level. Yes, prices tend to be higher during the fair. If going to the fair, you would also need to pay for their entry fee to the fair, which i believe is around 300CNY at the time of writing this.

    I wouldnt rely on students to do sourcing, QC etc…if you are right on a budget and aren’t looking to work with a professional sourcing company I would instead find an independent agent who knows how the industry works and has some experience.

  • Hello Ashish,

    I read your ebook guide on Canton Fair and I must say it was a tremendous effort putting all that information together. I had been scouting the internet and nowhere could I find so many tips about the fair in one place as your guide.

    Thank you so much for providing such detailed information about the Fair. Appreciate it.

    I had a query and I would appreciate it if you could help me out with this. What are the standard charges for an interpreter in China? Does it vary from city to city? And does the rate go up for Canton fair? And what if we use the same interpreter as a business assistant, in that we use him or her to accompany us to factories, negotiate a deal and then help out with the sourcing? Is there a rule of thumb? Are students standing outside the fair offering these services worth a shot?

    Now I know you said in the ebook that an interpreter is not necessary if the scale of your business is nothing to write home about. Still I would like to know the dynamics of hiring an interpreter/business assistant because that is something you didn’t delve in detail in your ebook.

    I’m really impressed by Imex. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to utilize Imex services for now. Reason being I’m a small-time importer importing goods for the first time from China, and either the scale of my order won’t interest you, or I won’t be able to afford your commission. You know how it is with us South Asians. We are always trying to cut costs to fit our meager budget.

    I do intend to become a FBA seller, and I believe Imex would be a great help then. In any case, since I’m already coming to the Fair, it would be nice to meet up and get to know each other.

  • Hi Alex,

    The biggest change is that, technologically has taken over. Canton Fair is supplemented by the e-canton fair website and a lot of other tools at the fair that make finding suppliers a breeze so you can get the most out of your limited there.

    For whether you really need to go to the Canton Fair, check out this post

  • Hi Jenna,

    Money or the size of a buyers order is indeed an important factor, however there is a lot more that goes into relationship building with a supplier. In China, when working with factories, the concept of work-life segregation doesn’t really exist. Its important to spend time with suppliers, go to dinners with them, get to know them on a personal level. On the business side, it is also important to understand the challenges factories face (for e.g. in many industries the margins are wafer-thin), be good with your payments, etc. All these things go a long way in building a solid relationship with a supplier in China.

  • Hi Matt,

    Great points there and an excellent question.

    I guess the learning curve is steep but the journey is exciting. Once you are in China and dealing with the various aspects of running an internal business operation and working with products across industries, the exposure that you to get different scenarios and situations is unbelievable.

    There are a few different sides to the learning curve:
    * Learning to deal with the factories, especially the cultural challenges.
    * Learning about the local laws & the international trade processes (compliance, customs regulations in different countries, etc.)
    * The Quality control aspect, i.e. getting factories to raise their standards on one-end and trying to educate new buyers about the challenges of importing from China on the other.

  • Ashish Monga

    Good question Nikki, I touch on this in quite a few placed in the book, but to find some suppliers who make products that are of “good quality” and “compliant” in your market, it is important, you define “good quality” in as much detail as possible (i.e. specs, standards, etc.) & have a good understanding of the compliance requirements for your market. You can ask key questions about these two issues at the fair and then with the suppliers that you like, you can follow-up with a more detailed email after the fair.

  • Alex

    I’ve never really had the chance to visit most recent sessions of the Canton Fair. My last visit was in 2009, how is Canton Fair different from then to now? I mean, I know that products are more interesting because of the advent of technology but in different aspects, are there any differences that you can point out that will convince someone who is skeptical like me to visit the Canton Fair again? I know that many entrepreneurs treat the Canton Fair as an annual pilgrimage but with the annual decrease in numbers when it comes to deals closed, visitors, etc do you think it’s still worth to visit the Canton fair or Chinese trade fairs in general?

  • Jenna

    What are buyer-supplier relationships built on these days? Does Chinese suppliers all really care about is the money involved?

  • Matt

    Great resource! Building relationships between Chinese suppliers is very critical, but it takes years to build not in one-way visit. Suppliers from China or in general are always willing to deal with QC issues, order prioritization, negotiation power, best payment terms etc mainly being weighed by order value.

    I’ve read and listened to numerous books and/or podcasts that tells you that importing from China and dealing factory direct is very easy, but the reality is that nothing really beats when you have someone who will represent your interest first-hand smoothly.

    My question would be, since you have been living in China for how many years now and is very much experienced in the many aspects of importation, what is your point of view of the learning curve required for someone who wants to do what you do.

  • Nikki A.

    I am visiting the Canton Fair and most of the products that I am interested to import from China would be in the second phase, and I would not want to waste time on suppliers that will not be able to or will not be really capable to manufacture our goods which complies to safety standards in the long run. What I am trying to say is that is there some obvious signs that this supplier is not able to produce the goods that are compliant in our target market? Are we suppose to ask the each and every suppliers compliance documents?

  • Tom

    This is just perfect how I wish I have gotten my hands on this sooner before I have even visited the Canton Fair. The pre-visit tips are just great! Furthermore, entrepreneurs who want to import from China or who are already importing from China can get value from the book.

  • Lenka Arlelt

    WOW! This is such a great find.. All of the ‘need-to-know’s and essentials to visiting Chinese trade fairs are summed up and condensed here! Great job!

  • Eva

    I am from the UK and will be heading down to the Canton Fair on Phase 3 this year, and I find the hotel recommendations section especially helpful. Any one willing to share travel expenses? :p