How to go to the Canton Fair Expo, China, Guanzghou

The Canton Fair (Guang Jiao Hui, 广交会) in Guangzhou city - is the largest and the most professional trade event in China's commercial life. The exhibition was established in 1957 and in 2015th year the organizer will held the 117th session, but the popularity of this trade event is more and more. When planning the trip to the Canton Fair, a lot of questions arise - how to apply for Chinese visa, where to book a hotel in Guangzhou, how to register at the Canton Expo, and finally how to reach Pazhou Complex?

The Expo is held twice a year in April and October, and is divided in to the three phases.

Every year in Guangzhou arrive more than 200 000 people from all over the world to find a manufacturer, find new business ideas. Every businessman will find at the Expo the required item and supplier, for example in 2014 year the total sum of signed cooperation agreements was more than $ 60 billion.

The greatest advantage of the Canton Fair - a vast variety of the offered goods - over 150 thousand of items are represented at the Canton Fair. All the markets will easily find a supplier - it could be a food supplier or producer of high-tech innovations for power industry. You may download the catalog of the suppliers from the official website of the Canton Fair.

The Canton Fair, or so called Chinese Exhibition of Import and Export Goods, is the perfect option if you plan to settle the production in China, expand the list of suppliers, or just find the new ideas for business.

First of all, you need to define the category of a required items you want, because each phase of the Canton Fair promote the exact goods categories. Each session lasts 5 days, from Monday to Friday, in total there are 3 sessions. 

  1. First phase: electronic goods and appliances, hardware tools, industrial equipment, motor vehicles and automobile parts, construction materials, fittings, chemical products.
  2. Second phase: consumer goods, souvenirs and gifts, furniture, home decor.
  3. Third phase: textile and apparel, footwear and office supplies, outdoor equipment, pharmaceutical items, food and drinks.

On the official website you will find the actual schedule of the Canton Fair phases schedule sessions. In 2015 year the schedule is the following - April 15-19, April 23-27 and May 1-5.

Despite the fact that Guangzhou city is a popular tourist and business destination, foreigners still face some problems to organize the business trip to Guangzhou.

We advice to book a hotel 2 months before the beginning of the Canton Fair, otherwise you may loose a good hotel. To find and book a hotel you may use the most popular service in Asia  - English language is also available. When complete the booking, you should save or print the hotel’s phone number and it’s address in Chinese characters. Chinese language is very difficult for pronunciation, that is why it is better to show to a taxi driver the Chinese characters, otherwise you will be misunderstood and find yourself in the wrong place.

After arrival to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, you need about 40 minutes to get to the city center. The most convenient and comfortable transportation is taxi, you should queue up in a special line at the terminal exits. The cost of trip to the center of Guangzhou cost around 200 Chinese yuan. 

Money exchange is available at Baiyun Airport terminal, or you may use ATM machines to withdraw RMB cash. 

If you want to exchange money in the city, please mind that banks operate till 5 a.m. Also you may use hotel service to exchange money, but you should pay commission.

When exit airport you should pay attention to the official airport signs, as in Guangzhou a lot of people willing to get some extra money from tourists, so do not agree to take «black taxi», that waiting outside of the official taxi stop. 

If you are not sure where to find an official taxi, ask for help at the information desk.

If not hurry, take a bus or subway which are also comfortable and fast ways to go to Guangzhou. 

Checking-in at the hotel, don’t hesitate to ask about shuttle buses to the Canton Fair Pazhou Complex (Pazhou) - most of the big hotels provide free shuttle service for the period of the Expo.

If there is no free transfer, book a taxi in advance (use guest service at the hotel). If you drive to the Expo Pazhou Complex by taxi, you may get stuck in a traffic jam, so to avoid Guangzhou morning traffic jam you may take Guangzhou subway. Pazhou Expo Center is located at Yuejiang Zhong Lu 380 (广州 市 海珠区 阅 江 中路 380 号), subway station Pazhou station / 琶洲 站, line 8.


To enter the exhibition, you must have an individual badge (IC-badge) of a Buyer. To register at the Canton Fair you need the printed coupon from the Canton Fair official website, than you can exchange this coupon at the registration desk and get the ID. Also you should have your photos and business cards. 

Some hotels cooperate with the Canton Fair and can issue the badge for you, just find the suitable hotel among the affiliated hotels. 

Thus you will save your time and avoid hours of standing in a queue to the registration office of the Canton Fair Expo. 

For those who come to the Expo from Hong Kong, may apply to Hong Kong Canton Fair Office.

Keep the badge if you plan come back to the Fair next years, as this ID-card is valid 10 years.

When register at the website, you may also apply for the invitation which is needed for Chinese business visa.

There are thousands of suppliers who participate in the Canton Fair, and if visit this Expo the first time, you should plan your time in details, because 5 days is not enough for a new-comer. Even experienced buyers pay big attention to the planning before the start of the Canton Fair - they check the approved list of suppliers, trading companies, agents to list the top-priority partners. 

Checking the suppliers catalogs you may decide which goods you are interested in, so that when you meet them at the Canton Fair, directly start the discussion of prices and cooperation terms.

The Expo starts at 9:30 and closes at 18:00, but you should know that the last days many suppliers close their booth earlier.

Get ready to walk a lot - the total area of ​​the Expo center is 1.16 million sqm, Pazhou Complex is divided into the three large pavilions and 16 theme zones.

Despite this, that is hard to get lost - the organizers provide maps, informations desks and electric cars to reach the furthest areas of the Expo center.

Each hall has a seating area with restaurants where you can relax and check the visit plan of the Canton Fair.

You may download the developed mobile app «Canton Fair», and find there useful information about the schedule, mapping and others.

Preparing to the Canton Fair you should print business cards - the necessary thing at any trade expo. You will need about 2 business cards per booth - each booth is promoted by 2 managers at least. During that days suppliers have a lot of new contacts, so if you provide 2 business cards, that would be more efficient, otherwise the information about the client may be lost.

When give a business card to a Chinese supplier you should pass it with two hands - that is Chinese polite tradition to show one’s respectfulness. The supplier will be pleased with your awareness of local Chinese traditions, and maybe it will help you to get the better cooperation terms.

Be sure to take the supplier’s catalog, in the printed catalog you may note the prices, selected items, and purchase terms. For easier handling of the Canton fair materials, attach the business name card to the catalog, take some photos of the supplier’s booth.  Booth photos will help you to keep the impressions of the company and their managers. 

To keep all the paper materials take a small suitcase to roll the kilograms of documents and samples. 

To return to Guangzhou take the free shuttle bus - the Expo organizers provide 4 routes that will deliver you to central districts of Guangzhou.


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