China Canton Fair complex

How To Participate In Canton Fair - A Comprehensive Guide

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Obikoya Jeremiah

The Canton fair is one trade fair you don’t want to miss in China, and participating in it is possible with a few straightforward steps covered in this article.

We have seen many businesses face certain issues when trying to attend the canton fair, so we decided to write this to ensure the process is seamless for you.

Steps To Take To Attend the Canton Fair?

Participating in the canton fair means travelling down to China from your home country, and there are steps you need to take to achieve this.

1. Obtain a Valid Passport:

Do you have an international passport?

If not, then this is the first thing you want to get in order to participate in the Canton Fair.

Note: If you have a passport right now, check if it will still be valid for at least six months from the month of the Canton Fair. Without a six-month validity period, you will face immediate deportation upon arrival in China.

In this case, ensure you apply for passport renewal as soon as possible to avoid delays when it’s time for the Canton Fair.

Applying for a new passport takes an average of 6 weeks, and renewing one takes an average of 3 weeks. Plan ahead of time.

2. Register for the Canton Fair:

Isn’t getting a visa the next step?

No, there are things you need to do before heading to the embassy to get a business M Visa to China. One of them is registering for the Canton Fair on the official website.
the registration page for canton fair
Open the canton fair registration page and select the overseas buyer. You will then be asked if you have a Buyer Badge. As a first-time participant in the canton fair, you don't have this badge.
Follow the registration process carefully by filling out the necessary form on the website and verifying your email address. Once this is completed, you will be directed to the login page. Enter your email and password, and follow the next step below.

3. Apply for the Canton Fair Entry Badge:

You need a Canton Fair buyer badge to enter the Canton Fair site. The organiser uses this badge to identify those registering for the Canton Fair.

Although you are given the badge upon arrival at the venue, you must pre-register for the buyer badge.
the pre-registration of canton fair badges
After logging in to your Canton Fair account, select pre-registration. This will prompt you to “Create A Company” profile page, where you will fill in your company information (in the Company information tab) and edit your personal information (in the Associate management tab). Carefully fill out the form on the pages, as what you fill in here will be on your badge. 

Once you complete this, head to the home page and click on pre-registration again. This time, you will be directed to the page to get the badge. First, search for your profile by filling in the top section and clicking query, then select your profile, fill in all other sections, and submit the form.

At this point, your request for the badge has been received, and they will send you an email when it is approved.

4. Apply for Invitation letter:

The invitation letter is an important document to have when applying for a business visa to attend the Canton Fair. 

After completing the steps to pre-register for your badge, go to the Cantor Fair home page, and this time, select “Apply for invitation letter” to get your invitation letter.
applying for canton fair invitation letter
Note that you can’t apply for the invitation letter if you haven't pre-register for the badge.

Carefully fill out the form to get the invitation letter and submit it. Then click “browse” on the next page, and you will find your invitation letter to the Cantor Fair there.

5. Plan Your Travel Dates:

This is an essential step in your preparation to attend the Canton Fair. The Canton Fair has three phases, each lasting five days.

Each phase is associated with different product categories, so you need to check for the phase where your product of interest will be displayed and plan your journey for these days.

Visit the canton fair buyer’s guide page to find a list of the phases and the products available and displayed in each phase.

6. Arrange Accommodation:

Are you planning to attend the fair for more than a day? Then, you need to settle your accommodation for the period you plan to stay in China.

You can contact us, and our expert can help you find the best accommodation that fits your budget.

7. Book Flights (round trip):

In most countries, to complete the visa application form to China, you need to enter your flight schedule details and provide the document for this.

This is why we advise you to book your flight now that you have planned the dates you want to attend the fair before going to apply for the visa.

8. Apply for a Chinese Visa:

If you have followed all the previous steps in this article, then you have almost all the information you need to apply for a business M visa to the trade fair.
The major documents you will need for this include:
  • Visa application form
  • Passport
  • Canton Fair Invitation letter
  • Original Birth Certificate
  • Bank statement for the past 6 months
  • Police character certificate
  • Foreigners' physical examination form
It is important to note that these documents may vary between countries. Contact our professionals for more detailed information on the document required in your country.

9. Attend the Canton Fair:

Finally, you are ready to participate in the Canton Fair. 

With your passport set, visa ready, buyer badge pre-registered, and other important things sorted out, you can now travel to China for the Canton Fair and enjoy the many benefits the fair offers businesses globally.

How To Make the Most of Your Time at the Canton Fair

Attending the Canton  Fair is great, but it is vital that you achieve your goal at the fair and make the most of the time you spend at the fair. 

Here are some advice we give business owners and individuals going to the Canton Fair:

1. Have a clear goal:

  • What category of goods are more crucial for your business? 
  • What product specification are you looking for?
  • Which manufacturer are you looking for?
You need to be clear on what you want before you get to the fair so you don't get there and end up spending time checking out products that don’t align with your business goals.

2. Familiarize yourself with the Canton Fair Complex Layout:

If it is your first time at the fair, you need to get familiar with the Canton Fair complex and know where different products or manufacturers are.

The complex covers about 1.18 million square meters and is divided into 4 major areas (A, B, C, and D). On arrival at the venue, head to the Information Booth and get a copy of the Buyer’s Guide. 

It contains a map of the whole canton fair structure and information on the location of products and manufacturers. This saves you the hassle of wandering aimlessly and trying to find your way around.

3. Have honest conversations with the manufacturers:

One benefit of going to the Canton Fair is that you have the opportunity to speak with the manufacturer of the goods directly and see the products physically. Take advantage of this fully.

Ask questions and get clarity on everything about the company, its factory, the product, its minimum order quantity (MOQ), and other important details.

4. Take notes:

You need to have a notepad with you (physical or digital) while at the Canton Fair. This is important to ensure that no important information is forgotten after the fair.

You can use this notepad to write down the following:
  • The manufacturer’s name
  • Their contact information.
  • Their factory location, in cases where inspection is necessary.
  • Their booth number at the canton fair complex, in case you need to go back for further discussion.
  • Other important information.
Note: Get the manufacturer's business card if any is available.

Can I attend the Canton Fair online?

Yes, you can participate in the Canton Fair virtually.

While registering for the Canton Fair on the website, you will be asked if you would like to attend on-site or online. 
attending canton fair online or onsite
Select online and carefully follow the other steps to join the trade fair online.

Post-Fair Follow-up? (What to do when the fair is over)

After the canton fair, you must have gotten a list of suppliers you can work with to procure your business needs and run an effective supply chain.

But that is only one step in the procurement process. You still need to inspect the manufacturer’s factory, decide how you will ship the goods from China to your country, and many more.

You can outsource all these post-fair activities to our team at SARA. We help you inspect the various factories, provide quality assurance, ship and deliver, make payments in Chinese Yuan (CNY) or Renminbi (RMB), and much more.

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Obikoya Jeremiah

Jeremiah Obikoya is a dedicated content writer at SARA, where he engages in daily research and development to craft innovative solutions for the procurement challenges you encounter.


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