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An Overview of Canton Fair (China Import and Export Fair)

The Canton Fair, officially known as the China Import and Export Fair, is a comprehensive international trading event held biannually in Guangzhou, China. It is one of the largest trade fairs in the world and serves as a platform for promoting Chinese products and facilitating global trade.

Here’s an overview of the Canton Fair:

  • History: The Canton Fair was established in 1957 and has since grown into a prestigious event in the global trading calendar. It was initially held in Guangzhou’s Liuhua Complex but has expanded to include the Pazhou Complex as well.
  • Frequency: The fair is held twice a year, typically in April and October, with each session lasting around three weeks.
  • Venue: The fair is hosted at the China Import and Export Fair Complex, which spans over 1.18 million square meters and is located in Pazhou Island, Guangzhou. It is one of the largest exhibition centers in Asia.
  • Phases: The Canton Fair is divided into three phases, each focusing on different product categories:
    • Phase 1: Electronics & Household Electrical Appliances, Lighting Equipment, Vehicles & Spare Parts, Machinery, Hardware & Tools
    • Phase 2: Consumer Goods, Gifts, Home Decorations
    • Phase 3: Textiles & Garments, Shoes, Office Supplies, Cases & Bags, Recreation Products, Medicines, Medical Devices, Health Products
  • Exhibitors and Visitors: The fair attracts thousands of exhibitors from various industries, including manufacturers, trading companies, and service providers, both from China and abroad. Similarly, it draws in tens of thousands of visitors from around the world, including buyers, traders, and professionals seeking sourcing opportunities.
  • Product Showcase: Exhibitors at the Canton Fair showcase a wide range of products, including electronics, machinery, textiles, garments, home appliances, hardware, and more. It provides a comprehensive platform for buyers to explore diverse product offerings and establish business connections.
  • Trade Opportunities: The fair serves as a vital platform for promoting international trade and facilitating business collaborations. It offers opportunities for companies to showcase their products, negotiate deals, and forge partnerships with global counterparts.
  • Services and Facilities: The Canton Fair provides various services and facilities to enhance the experience for exhibitors and visitors, including interpretation services, business matchmaking, transportation assistance, and onsite amenities such as restaurants, hotels, and banking services.

Overall, the Canton Fair plays a crucial role in promoting China’s foreign trade and fostering global economic cooperation by connecting businesses from around the world and facilitating trade exchanges.

How big is the Fair?

It is like a giant shopping extravaganza! Picture this: it’s held in Guangzhou, China, at a place that’s as huge as 1,180 football fields put together. That’s right, it’s massive! This fair isn’t just big in size, it’s big in importance too.

The Scale of the Canton Fair Complex

The Canton Fair Complex is massive. Here are some stats to help you comprehend its scale:

It is possibly the largest convention center in the world, boasting a total construction area of 1.1 million square meters (12,174,000 sq ft).

It also houses the world’s largest exhibition hall, which covers an area of 1,700,000.5 sq ft (157,935.21 m2). To put that into perspective, that’s about the size of 30 American football fields!


Imagine the enormity of a place that can hold multiple trade fairs simultaneously, with thousands of exhibitors and attendees from all over the world. That’s the Canton Fair Complex for you.

How many Days Will it Last?

The Canton Fair is not just a one-time event, it’s a series of trade fairs divided into 3 phases, each lasting 5 days. In total, depending on the phase you’re interested in, the fair can last for 15 days.

For example, the 135th Canton Fair is scheduled to be opened on April 15th, 2024:

The onsite exhibition:

  • Phase 1: April 15th to 19th
  • Phase 2: April 23rd to 27th
  • Phase 3: May 1st to 5th 

Time for booth dismantling and setup: April 20th to 22nd 2024, April 28th to 30th, 2024. (Source)

Which Products Can I Find in the Fair?

At the Canton Fair, you can find a diverse range of products spanning almost every imaginable category. Here’s a glimpse of what you might encounter:

  • Electronics and Household Electrical Appliances: From the latest smartphones and laptops to home appliances like refrigerators and washing machines, this section showcases cutting-edge technology and innovative gadgets.
  • Home Decor and Consumer Goods: Explore a plethora of home decor items, including furniture, kitchenware, decorative pieces, and household essentials to spruce up your living space.
  • Textiles and Garments: Fashion enthusiasts will delight in the vast array of clothing, textiles, accessories, and footwear options available, showcasing the latest trends and designs from around the world.
  • Machinery and Hardware: Industrialists and entrepreneurs can browse through machinery, equipment, tools, and hardware solutions catering to various industries, from construction to manufacturing.
  • Gifts and Toys: Discover unique and creative gift ideas, toys, games, and novelty items suitable for all ages and occasions, perfect for retailers and wholesalers seeking new products for their shelves.
  • Vehicles and Spare Parts: Automobile enthusiasts and industry professionals can explore a wide selection of vehicles, automotive parts, and accessories, ranging from cars and motorcycles to tires and engines.
  • Lighting Equipment: Illuminate your surroundings with an assortment of lighting fixtures, bulbs, lamps, and lighting solutions designed for residential, commercial, and industrial applications.
  • Fashion Accessories and Jewelry: Adorn yourself with exquisite jewelry pieces, watches, handbags, sunglasses, and other fashion accessories crafted with precision and style.
  • Office Supplies and Stationery: Stock up on essential office supplies, stationery items, writing instruments, and organizational products to keep your workspace efficient and productive.
  • Health and Medical Products: Explore a variety of health and wellness products, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare solutions designed to enhance well-being and quality of life.

These are just a few examples of the extensive range of products showcased at the Canton Fair. Whether you’re a buyer, importer, distributor, or enthusiast, there’s something for everyone at this renowned international trade event.

How many Buyers Will Come?

The exact number of countries with buyers attending the Canton Fair isn’t officially available, but based on the latest data from the 134th Canton Fair (October 2023), there were buyers from an impressive 229 countries and regions. This statistic highlights the global scale of the event, attracting attendees from all corners of the world.

That’s a lot of languages to navigate! That’s where Jinyu translation comes in. At the last Canton Fair, Jinyu Translation was proud to bridge the language gap for people from 12 different countries! We can help you too, so you can focus on making the most of your Canton Fair experience.

Useful Tips

Are you coming here for the first time? Here are some useful tips.

How to Get to Canton Fair from Hong Kong?

Getting to the Canton Fair from Hong Kong is relatively straightforward, and there are several transportation options available:

  • By Train: One of the most convenient ways to travel from Hong Kong to Guangzhou is by high-speed train. The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link connects Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Station to Guangzhou South Railway Station. The journey takes approximately 1 to 2 hours, depending on the type of train, and offers comfortable and efficient travel.
  • By Bus: Several bus companies operate direct bus services between Hong Kong and Guangzhou. These buses typically depart from various locations in Hong Kong, such as Hong Kong International Airport, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Mong Kok, and arrive at various points in Guangzhou, including major hotels and transportation hubs. The journey duration can vary depending on traffic conditions and the specific bus route.
  • By Ferry: Another option is to take a ferry from Hong Kong to Guangzhou. There are ferry services available from Hong Kong’s China Ferry Terminal or Hong Kong International Airport to various ports in Guangzhou, such as Lianhuashan Port or Nansha Port. The ferry journey usually takes around 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on the route and sea conditions.
  • By Air: If you prefer to fly, you can take a direct flight from Hong Kong International Airport to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. Multiple airlines operate frequent flights between the two cities, with flight durations typically ranging from 1 to 1.5 hours.

Once you arrive in Guangzhou, you can easily reach the Canton Fair Complex by taxi, metro, or shuttle bus. The fairgrounds are well-connected to the city’s transportation network, making it convenient for visitors to access the venue from various parts of Guangzhou.

How to Register for Canton Fair?

There are two main categories of attendees at the Canton Fair –  Overseas Buyersand Exhibitors. The registration process differs depending on which category you fall under. Here’s a breakdown for both:

For Overseas Buyers (Individuals attending to purchase products):

1. Head to the Canton Fair website:

2. Choose the “Overseas Buyers” option.

3. Registration Type:

    New Attendee: If this is your first time, select “I don’t have a buyer badge” and complete the online registration form.

    Returning Attendee: If you’ve been before, select “I have a buyer badge” and log in to your existing account.

4. Apply for a Buyer Badge: This is free and grants you entry to the fair. During registration, you’ll have the option to pre-apply for the badge.

5. Invitation Letter (Optional): While registering, you can also apply for an invitation letter. This can be helpful when applying for a business visa to enter China. You’ll need to submit your personal details, passport copy, and business card.

For Exhibitors (Companies showcasing products):

The application process for exhibitors is more complex and involves contacting the Canton Fair directly. Here are some resources to get you started:

1. Canton Fair website – Exhibitors Section:[]( (Look for the “Exhibitors” tab)

2. Contact Canton Fair directly: You can find contact information for different departments on the Canton Fair website.

Additional Tips:

Register online beforehand to save time at the fair.

 Make sure to check the specific dates for the phase you’re interested in attending (there are 3 phases).

Consider accommodation options near the fairgrounds –  Guangzhou.

We hope this helps.

How to Get a Visa for Canton Fair?

To obtain a visa for attending the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, China, follow these general steps:

1. Determine Visa Type: Depending on your nationality and the purpose of your visit, you may need to apply for a tourist visa (L visa) or a business visa (M visa). Since attending the Canton Fair is for business purposes, the M visa is usually appropriate.

2. Prepare Required Documents: Typical documents required for a Chinese visa application include:

   – Passport: Must be valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in China.

   – Visa Application Form: Obtain and complete the appropriate visa application form from the Chinese embassy or consulate website.

   – Passport Photo: Provide recent passport-sized photos according to the embassy’s specifications.

   – Invitation Letter: Obtain an invitation letter from the Canton Fair organizers or your Chinese business partner. This letter should include information about the fair, your participation, and your intended duration of stay in China.

   – Other Supporting Documents: Depending on your nationality and circumstances, additional documents such as flight itinerary, hotel reservation, and proof of financial means may be required.

3. Submit Application: Once you have gathered all necessary documents, submit your visa application to the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate in your country of residence. You may need to schedule an appointment for an interview or submit your application through a visa processing center, depending on local procedures.

4. Pay Fees: Pay the required visa application fees, which vary depending on your nationality and the type of visa you are applying for. Fees are typically non-refundable, even if your visa application is denied.

5. Attend Interview (if required): Some Chinese embassies or consulates may require you to attend an interview as part of the visa application process. Be prepared to answer questions about your intended visit to China and provide any additional information requested by the consular officer.

6. Wait for Processing: Visa processing times vary depending on the embassy or consulate and your nationality. It’s advisable to apply for your visa well in advance of your planned travel dates to allow for any delays in processing.

7. Collect Visa: Once your visa application has been processed and approved, collect your passport with the visa stamped inside from the embassy or consulate. Verify that all information on the visa is correct before traveling to China.

Remember to check the specific requirements and procedures of the Chinese embassy or consulate in your country, as they may vary slightly. Additionally, it’s essential to comply with all Chinese immigration regulations and ensure that your visa is valid for the duration of your stay in China, including the dates of the Canton Fair.

Where to Stay for Canton Fair?

There are many hotels to choose from near the Canton Fair Complex, depending on your budget and preferences. Here are a few options:

Luxury Hotels:

If you’re looking for a luxurious stay, there are several 5-star hotels located near the fairgrounds. These hotels offer all the amenities you could ask for, such as spas, fitness centers, and swimming pools. Some examples include:

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou: This luxurious hotel is located directly across the street from the Canton Fair Complex. It offers stunning views of the Pearl River and has a variety of restaurants and bars on-site.
  • The Westin Pazhou: This modern hotel is located within walking distance of the fairgrounds. It offers a variety of restaurants, a spa, and a rooftop pool.
  • Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou: This high-end hotel is located just a short drive from the fairgrounds. It offers a variety of restaurants, a spa, and a health club with pools and a rooftop tennis court.
Mid-Range Hotels:

There are also many mid-range hotels located near the Canton Fair Complex. These hotels offer a good balance of price and amenities. Some examples include:

  • InterContinental Guangzhou Exhibition Center: This polished hotel offers quarters in an upscale hotel offering 4 restaurants, a spa & event space, plus river views. It’s located next to the fairground. [Image of InterContinental Guangzhou Exhibition Center]
  • Langham Place, Guangzhou: This hotel features polished rooms & suites in a dramatic hotel featuring upscale dining, an indoor pool & a spa. It’s a 10-minute drive from the fairground. [Image of Langham Place, Guangzhou hotel]
  • Guangzhou Huangpu Jinlong International Hotel: This hotel offers comfortable accommodations and a variety of amenities, including a spa, a fitness center, and a swimming pool. It’s a 15-minute drive from the fairground.
Budget Hotels:

If you’re on a tight budget, there are a few budget hotels located near the Canton Fair Complex. These hotels offer basic accommodations at a low price. However, keep in mind that they may not be located as close to the fairgrounds as the other options.

Here are some additional tips for choosing a hotel for the Canton Fair:

  • Consider your budget: Hotels near the Canton Fair Complex can range in price from budget-friendly to luxury. Decide how much you’re willing to spend on a hotel before you start your search.
  • Think about your location: If you want to be within walking distance of the fairgrounds, you’ll need to choose a hotel located in the Haizhu District. However, there are also many hotels located in other parts of Guangzhou that are a short taxi ride away.
  • Look for amenities: Some hotels offer amenities that may be important to you, such as a spa, fitness center, or swimming pool. Decide which amenities are important to you and choose a hotel that offers them.
  • Read reviews: Before you book a hotel, be sure to read reviews from other guests. This can help you get a sense of the hotel’s atmosphere and amenities.

How Jinyu Can Help

As Jinyu Translation, we offer a range of services to assist you before, during, and after your visit to the Canton Fair:

  • Interpretation Services: Our team of professional interpreters is proficient in multiple languages, ensuring effective communication with exhibitors, suppliers, and business partners at the fair. Whether you need consecutive or simultaneous interpretation, we’ll ensure smooth communication to facilitate successful business interactions.
  • Translation Services: We provide high-quality translation services for a variety of documents, including contracts, product specifications, marketing materials, and business correspondence. Our translations are accurate, reliable, and culturally appropriate, helping you navigate language barriers and communicate effectively with international partners.
  • Business Assistance: We offer comprehensive business assistance to help you make the most of your visit to the Canton Fair. From itinerary planning and scheduling meetings to negotiation support and market research, we’ll tailor our services to meet your specific needs and objectives. Our experienced team will ensure that your time at the fair is productive and successful.
  • Cultural Consultation: Doing business in a foreign country can present cultural challenges. Our team can provide cultural consultation and guidance to help you navigate cultural nuances, etiquette, and customs, ensuring that you approach business interactions with sensitivity and respect.
  • Logistical Support: We can assist with various logistical aspects of your trip, including airport transfers, hotel bookings, transportation arrangements, and on-the-ground support during your stay in Guangzhou. Our goal is to ensure that your experience at the Canton Fair is seamless and stress-free.

By leveraging our interpretation and business assistance services, you can maximize your opportunities at the Canton Fair, establish valuable connections, and achieve your business objectives effectively. Let us handle the language and logistical aspects so that you can focus on exploring opportunities and expanding your business network at this prestigious international trade event.

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