Best Blog Product Sourcing

Everything You Need To Know About The Canton Fair and Hong Kong Mega Show

In October 2015 we visited the Hong Kong Mega Show and Canton Fairs for the first time. We went into the experience pretty much completely blind. There wasn’t a lot of information on the Internet about the fairs, but my wife and I are pretty well traveled. Because of that, we decided to wing most of it and just figured a lot of it out as we went. We spent a total of close to three weeks between Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. Looking back at it, we learned a lot that will make our next trip so much easier. In fact, I wish I had read an article like this before going. It would have saved a lot of time, frustration, and generally being unsure of things.

Overview

The Canton Fair is the world’s largest fair spanning over 12,000,000 square feet.  That is not a typo, you are not cross-eyed, that’s 12 million.  Not only that, but the fair is in three phases, so in all it’s over 36,000,000 square feet of exhibition space.  The Canton Fair takes place each April and then October in a city called Guangzhou China, which is about 2 hours northwest of Hong Kong.  Before looking into the Canton Fair, I never even heard of Guangzhou China; it turns out to be a city larger than New York City.

During October, you can also attend the Hong Kong Mega Show, which is geared more towards Western buyers.  The Mega Show is 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).  That is what we did.

Who are the fairs for?  Well, if you are currently purchasing products from China, or thinking about purchasing products from China you can expect to get a lot out of this.  Keep in mind that purchasing products from China typically requires minimum order quantities that reach into the hundreds or thousands.  Some products even require a minimum order of a container load.

Before attending the Canton Fair and Mega Show, we had been purchasing products abroad for about a year.  Our goto place to find manufactures was Alibaba, which was nothing short of a frustrating experience.  We would send an email to a manufacture, 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 manufacture 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.

So, to answer the question of who is this for?  If you are seriously thinking of running an ecommerce business selling white label products or creating your own branded products this is for you!

 

Preparation

VISAs:

Before heading to China the first thing you need to be thinking about is a VISA. As a citizen of The United States of America, and several other countries you need to have a VISA to enter Mainland China. Keep in mind that Hong Kong, while officially part of China, does not have this VISA requirement.

In order to obtain a VISA, you need to visit the closest Chinese Consulate to where you live. We live in the San Diego area, so for us that was Los Angeles.

TIP: You don’t need to go to the Chinese Consulate in person. You can hire an agency to do this for you. That is what we did. It was only $85 extra (total) for me and my wife; we saved ourselves a 2 hour drive in each direction, not to mention not having to wait in line. Totally worth it.

TIP: You can apply for a multi-entry business VISA that is good for 10 years. If you use an agency, you have a much higher chance of getting this type of VISA; they know how to grease the whees so to speak. This is what we ended up getting. Having a 10 year VISA will allow us to come and go from China as many times as we want over the next 10 years. The only stipulation is that we cannot stay longer than 60 days in China (per visit). That won’t be an issue for us.

Keep in mind that it takes a couple of weeks to actually get the VISA, so don’t wait until the last second to apply, otherwise you will have to pay rush fees.

TIP: Before applying for the VISA make sure you have all the necessary paperwork together. One thing that you will need is an invitation letter from the Canton Fair. This is easy to get from their website and free of charge.

China 10 Year Business Multi Entry VISA

China 10 Year Business Multi Entry VISA

TIP: If your VISA outlasts the expiration of your passport, the VISA is still valid. You just need to travel with both passports when going to China.

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 long 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 Fairs.  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

 

 

Unlike the Hong Kong Mega Show, the Canton Fair isn’t in the “middle of all the action”.  While the Canton Fair complex is in the city of Guangzhou, it’s more off the beaten path.  However, it’s right on top of the subway, so it’s fairly easy to get to.

We knew the Canton Fair was going to be big and require a lot of walking.  Our thought process was to stay as close to the Canton Fair as possible, so we could pop back over to our hotel room in the middle of the day if we wanted to.  We realized how silly that was after the first day.  It’s easily a mile walk from any of the local hotels to parts of the Canton Fair, so walking back just to rest your feet isn’t much of an option.  Irregardless, I was still pretty happy to be close to the fair at the end of the day.  Here is the lay of the land around the Canton Fair Complex:

Canton Fair Hotels

Canton Fair Hotels

 

The poorly drawn red line is the footprint of the Canton Fair Complex.  I know it’s hard to get perspective of how big things are by just looking at a map, so I measured it.  The Canton Fair complex is 0.6 x 0.8 miles.  Inside the building, everything is a minimum of 2 floors, with most of it being 3 floors.  So, yeah, it’s BIG.

The 3 blue boxes are the hotels in the area.  The blue box directly below the fair complex is the Westin.  We spent quite a bit of time there, because they had a nice buffet, lounge area, and fast internet.  However, everything there was astronomically expensive.  The buffet was about $70USD per person for dinner.  A cup of tea was about $9USD.  They can charge these crazy prices because there isn’t much else around.  Their internet was free, so that made up for it – a bit.

The next blue box, directly to the east of the Westin is the Hee Fun Apartment hotel.  This is where we actually stayed.  We picked this place because they had nice sized rooms, it was reasonably priced, and most importantly they had a washer / dryer in the room.  We came on this trip with nothing but carry on luggage, so laundry was a necessity.

The top right square is the Shangri-La Hotel, which we never made it to.  it’s actually pretty hard to get from the south side of the complex area to the north side because the road that cuts through it doesn’t have any walkways across.

There are some restaurants in the underground below Pazhou Station, but besides that there isn’t much to do or eat in this area.

Next year I think we are going to stay at a place is directly on the light blue line, but more in the middle of the action.  The subway here comes every few minutes and I think it would be easy to get back and forth.

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.

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.  Links are included to the HKMS site for more information about each section.

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

 

The Canton Fair

The Canton Fair is held twice a year in April and October and has been going on for over 50 years.  It’s really hard to get your head around how big the Canton Fair complex is.  It’s easily 2x -3x the size of the largest convention centers I’ve been to (Las Vegas, Chicago, San Diego).

Here is a picture of the Canton Fair Complex taken from our hotel room, which was 2 blocks away and 42 stories up.  Look at how small the people are in the picture for reference!

Canton Fair Complex

Canton Fair Complex

Not only is the footprint massive, it takes 3 phases to get all the exhibitors in.  The show is generally open from 9:30am – 6:00pm each day, but check the website as some of the days have slightly different hours.

There is a food hall in the lower level of each of the Canton Fair buildings.  On the busy days it’s a total madhouse down there.  Try to eat lunch before 11am or after 2pm to miss the massive crowds.

The official Canton Fair website can be found here.

TIP: Be sure to register for the fair in advance!

The Phases Of The Canton Fair:

We attended Phase 2 and Phase 3 because we were trying to stay away from anything with electronics in it.  The different sections of the Canton Fair are listed below.  Just pick the Phases that make the most sense for your business and attend those.

Phase 1

Phase 2

Consumer Goods    |    Home Decorations   |    Gifts

Phase 3

Random Pictures From The Canton Fair

IMG_6884 IMG_6883 IMG_6866 IMG_6865 IMG_6861 IMG_6669 IMG_6667 IMG_6664 IMG_6663 IMG_6655 IMG_6651 IMG_6650 IMG_6647 Canton1

 

From Hong Kong To Guangzhou

As I mentioned towards the top of this post, my wife and I kind of went into this 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.

IMG_6614 IMG_6635 IMG_6671 IMG_6763 IMG_6827 IMG_6835 IMG_6836 IMG_6872 IMG_6920 IMG_6921 IMG_6922 IMG_6923 IMG_6924

As we were walking back from a restaurant we ate at in Guangzhou 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.  Here are some pictures from the market.
IMG_6840 IMG_6841 IMG_6842 IMG_6843 IMG_6844 IMG_6845 IMG_6846 IMG_6847 IMG_6848

The Internet

If you are going to the Canton Fair / Mainland China at any point during your trip, we need to talk about the Internet.   Guess what, China blocks about 30% of the Internet and throttles anything outside the country / not on a .com.cn address to a crawl.  Be prepared for this!  If you want to access any Google services while there, you will need a VPN.  I use Google Apps For Business for all my email, so a VPN was a completely necessary!  DO NOT WAIT UNITL YOU ARE IN CHINA TO DO THIS.  You need to have your VPN setup ahead of time.  I went with Express VPN, which was like $9.99 for a month and installed on my phone, ipad, and MacBook very easily.  The VPN can’t help with the speed, but at least it can help you stay connected to your email and do Google searches.

Mike’s Random 20 Tips For The Hong Kong Mega Show and Canton Fairs

  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. Bring a translator with you, or hire one in China.  It’s hard to communicate only in English.
  7. Pack a foldable duffel bag.  You are going to accumulate a lot of catalogs and samples.  You’ll need a place to put them.
  8. Hong Kong and Guangzhou are in a subtropical climate.  It will be very humid.  Dress / pack appropriately.
  9. You will need a good bit of cash during your day.  Things such as taxis, trains, and food are mostly cash.  Just use the ATMs to get cash out.  It’s much cheaper than the money exchanges.
  10. Taxis are a cheap way to get around.  The exception is leaving the Canton Fair.  All the taxi drives there will fleece you on the way out of the fair.  Try to use the subway if you can.
  11. Be prepared for what an eastern toilet looks like.  Nothing more than a hole in the ground.  IE: Be prepared to squat for #2.
  12. Do not drink the water from the tap in Mainland China.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Mainland China blocks a lot of the Internet. Use gmail?  Good luck.  You’ll need a VPN ahead of time to get / stay connected.  I used ExpressVPN and it worked great.
  19. The Internet is VERY SLOW in Mainland China.  The country throttles everything coming in and out.  Don’t plan on getting a lot done via the Internet while you are in Mainland China.  It’s awful.
  20. 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.

 

Finally if you have any questions about my trip, 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 on the post below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Mike and Grant

Learn How we Built Multiple  Seven Figure Stores in Two Years

Two years ago, we barely knew how to run an ecommerce business. Today, we have four stores with triple digit growth!

Join our newsletter to get an unprecedented look into our real-life operations on how we're successfully growing our online stores. 

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

You Might Also Like

25 Comments

  • Reply
    Grant Chen
    November 15, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Fantastic post Mike! I had personal obligations that kept me around this time, but this is a great write up for anyone looking to source from China for the first time. Definitely look forward to a joint trip next year to lock down some suppliers.

    • Reply
      Michael Jackness
      November 16, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      Thanks Grant. It was a pretty epic trip, but it would have been better if you could have tagged along. You had a pretty good excuse though.

      I’m sure we can tag-team in 2016!

  • Reply
    Candace Jensen
    March 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    What phase would you say Car Air Fresheners would be in? This is my first year going to the Canton fair. Can you buy products at the fair and bring them back with you?

    • Reply
      Michael Jackness
      March 15, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Candace,

      Here is the link to the official Canton Fair website. It lists all the phases and products at each phone. Some products can be found in more than one section or phase. I would say phase 2 and 3 are your best bet:

      http://www.cantonfair.org.cn/en/

      Mike

  • Reply
    Patrick
    May 31, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the tips!! I am thinking of doing the same thing this coming October. However I’m still thinking of focusing either on Hong Kong Megashow or Canton Fair. Apart from the quality product, how did you find the pricing from the two fairs? Obviously I would love to just go Megashow for the very obvious reason that HK is a better place to move around especially considering the Hotel pricing is nearly the same between the two cities.

    Regards,
    Patrick Wong

    • Reply
      Michael Jackness
      June 1, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Patrick,

      I think the pricing is pretty much the same at both fairs, but the thing is that most of the manufacture’s do not exhibit at both fairs. There are some rare exceptions, but most do one or the other. I would highly recommend going to both while you are there. Yes, it’s a pain going back and forth, but you should experience both fairs to make a determination of which fair is better for you. For me, they are both important, so each trip we hop back and forth on the train from HK to GZ.

      Mike

  • Reply
    Jason
    August 2, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Hi Mike,
    Great post! Extremely helpful details about traveling to both shows. I’m curious — which agency did you use for the China travel visa arrangements? I live in San Diego too, so I’m sure your same agency would work for me.
    Thanks!
    Jason

    • Reply
      Grant Chen
      August 2, 2016 at 11:42 am

      I think I use Traveldocs, which have been good to me. Mike may have gone the Embassy route if I’m not mistaken.

  • Reply
    Louise
    August 9, 2016 at 3:41 am

    Hi Mike

    Thank you for all the info. How many days would you recommend for each show? would 1 day be enough? or do you really need to allocate 2 days per Fair.
    Thanks

    • Reply
      Grant Chen
      August 9, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Louise, this is one of those “you gotta be there to understand” type situations, but 2 days is absolutely, bottom line minimum for each fair. Mike will probably put in his input too, but unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, I would say you should target 4-5 days.

      Mike and I are both in decent shape and know what we wanted. We walked about ~7 miles each day in the Canton Fair alone and didn’t get done in 4 days. We also have a lot of products we are looking for though.

    • Reply
      Michael Jackness
      August 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      There is absolutely no way to get the Canton Fair done in 1 day unless you are looking for one very specific item. Even that, that would have to be an item that is more niche and therefore covers less floor space. Let’s say that you were looking for someone to make a suitcase for you… just as an example. You could easily spend 3-5 days there just going though the floor space for that niche. The biggest cost of the fair is getting there, don’t skimp out on an extra night or two of hotel – you will regret it.

      I normally spend a minimum of 2 weeks per trip for the Canton Fair. I think our next trip will be for an entire month.

  • Reply
    Ami R
    September 12, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Hi Mike. Great post. The tips are all noted.
    I am interested in attending the fair Next Year 2017 in Spring. Main focus is on machinery. Can you give some advice as to what to expect? I am looking for an exact list of machines that the fair would have online but only getting generic categories. Any further help from you regarding the canton fair would be really helpful.

  • Reply
    Mike Williams
    September 21, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Hi Mike
    I have travelled to Hong Kong, Shantou, Yiwu and Shanghai on buying trips before and will check out the Mega Show and Canton fair for the first time in October 2016. I really enjoyed your instructions on the best ways to get back and forth between the 2 shows. That will be most helpful. Overall I have to say I agree entirely with your general assessments and recommendations while travelling in China. My 2 cents worth of advice to anyone going is don’t chince out on Hotels. Hotels in mainland China are cheap and if you are use to North American standards you will get a lot of value for your money. In China I stay in 5 star places always. An added bonus is that they almost always have a buffet for breakfast and supper…that way you get to see what you are eating as opposed to ordering off a menu. Unlike you, I’m not a “foodsie” and ordering off a menu in China scares me….LOTS. Great article, thanks for taking the time to share your experience!

  • Reply
    Yuriy
    October 14, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Hey Man excellent guide. I been to both fairs multiple times but have never attended the Mega Show. Can you compare the other two, to the Mega Show? Which did you like more and which did you find to have better products?

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Michael Jackness
      October 14, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      I like attending the Mega Show more for a few reason:

      1) I like Hong Kong way way way way more than China

      2) The HKCC has A/C and Western toilets.

      3) The quality of the products at the Mega Show seem to be slightly higher

      4) There is more room in the aisles in general, which makes things less congested.

      The downside is there is much less to see at the Mega Show.

  • Reply
    Henry
    October 27, 2016 at 12:36 am

    How much revenue were you doing before deciding going to the fair? Have you found new products at the fair? Or only to look for new supplier on existing products?

  • Reply
    esther
    January 3, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Love this article, thanks.

    Can I put a link on my website that hyperlink to this article?

  • Reply
    John Isbell
    January 18, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    FANTASTIC article. One quick question. Is it required to have a business visa to attend the show? Or is the visa primarily just needed to get into China I already have a tourist visa good for 10 years… not really sure if they are one in the same.

    • Reply
      Michael Jackness
      January 19, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      You do not need a business VISA to attend the show. You just need a VISA to get into the country. They will accept any VISA at the Canton Fair.

  • Reply
    Nadeem Ahamed
    March 25, 2017 at 7:14 am

    I just received my visa yesterday so will be in HK and Canton Fairs and see what they are about. Hotel prices are of the roof so got some cheap deals at Airbnb.

    I travel to China every year since 2013. My supplier who goes with me all the time says its a complete waste of time. I am just intrigued to see what actually is it all about.

    Question: Where can I get these 3G network Hotspot devices?

    • Reply
      Michael Jackness
      March 30, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      You can get the hotspots at the airport…

      I don’t think it’s a complete waste of time at all!

  • Reply
    Peter Khoury
    April 7, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Hi Mike, great post! Lots of useful information! I will be attending the Canton fair for the first time and I was wondering if it’s worth going to the Hong Kong fair too. From what you saw, will most of the products found in the Hong Kong fair be at the Canton Fair?

    • Reply
      Michael Jackness
      April 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      I went to the Hong Kong fair in April last year and wasn’t as impressed as the Mega Show HK fair in Oct. This year I’m going to Global Sources in HK and from what I hear it’s quite worth while. Have an awesome trip Peter! Send me an email if you want to meet up.

      • Reply
        John
        May 2, 2017 at 10:35 am

        Hey Michael, I just got back last week from attending the Global Sources and Canton home and kitchen fairs.

        I was extremely disappointed with the Global Sources fair. Very small, poor selection.

        Luckily, the shuttle from the downtown train station to my Hong Kong Hotel made a stop at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center and I saw that they had the Hong Kong Houseware Fair going on the same time. This other fair was just a 10 minute walk from my hotel, so I skipped the last two days at Global sources and attended the HK Houseware fair instead. Tons of quality products and sellers compared to Global Sources.

        I then traveled up to the Canton Fair which is huge with a bigger selection but lower quality sellers overall.

        I ended up finding both my new suppliers at the Hong Kong Houseware Fair.

        One thing your article did not mention is the Canton fair is only for Chinese sellers. The HKHF had sellers from multiple countries (India, Japan, Indonesian, China etc…). One of my new suppliers if from India and the other from Indonesia.

        I plan on going back again next year, but really debating the Canton Fair part of the trip. Hong Kong has a lot to offer besides the fair, it is easy to get around and plenty of English speakers. China, on the other hand was fairly miserable. I do agree to not skimp on hotels in China. At least that way you can be comfortable where you are staying.

    Leave a Reply

    Mike and Grant Built Four Successful Ecommerce Stores. What's Our Secret?

    Mike and Grant Built Four Successful Ecommerce Stores. What's Our Secret?

    The biggest mistake a store owner can make is going at it alone. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to learn how we boot strapped seven figure businesses.

    You have Successfully Subscribed!