Trade Fairs in China & Hong Kong

There are hundreds of trade fairs held annually in China – primarily in the southern Guangdong province, and Hong Kong. However, in terms of scale and quality of the attending suppliers, the number that really matter to overseas buyers can be counted on one hand. Trade fairs are not permanent, but held on specific dates, and focus on one or more selected industries. Keep reading to learn which Trade Shows, in Mainland China and Hong Kong S.A.R , that you should visit during Autumn 2015.

#1 China Sourcing Fair (Global Sources)

The China Sourcing Fair, arranged by the American B2B media giant, Global Sources, is held in October. While these fairs are not as big as the Canton Fair, the quality of attending suppliers is high. Another reason to visit a Global Sources fair is that they offer much more than just fair booths.

Here, you can attend numerous, hour long, conferences covering the latest in sourcing, product development, IP, fraud prevention and logistics. If you’re really lucky, you might even run into us.

Getting here is easy. First of all, most nationalities don’t need a visa to enter Hong Kong. Thus, you don’t need to bother getting an invitation letter. The China Sourcing Fairs are held in AsiaWorld Expo, which is only 10 minutes by shuttle train from the Hong Kong International Airport. Jump on the MTR Airport Express (HK$50) and you’ll be there in a moment. It couldn’t be easier.

Location: Hong Kong S.A.R
Visa required: No
Airport: Hong Kong International Airport
Venue: AsiaWorld Expo
Address: Cheong Wing Rd, Chek Lap Kok, Lantau Island (Google Map)
Getting there: Take the MTR Airport Express from the airport directly to the AsiaWorld Expo.
Website: Click here

#2 Canton Fair

In terms of scale, nothing beats the Canton Fair. Held in Guangzhou in Mainland China, the Canton Fair is attended by more than 24,000 Chinese manufacturers and trading companies, according to official numbers. The fair is held in three phases during from October to early November. Click here to read more about the Canton Fair.

Location: Guangzhou, China
Visa required: Yes (Visa exemptions for Japanese and Singaporean citizens)
Airport: Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport or Hong Kong International Airport
Venue: China Import and Export Fair Complex
Address: No. 380, Yuejiang Zhong Road, Guangzhou (Google Map)
Getting there: The Canton Fair is located in Haizhu District in central Guangzhou. If you fly directly to Guangzhou, the easiest way to get here is by taxi. However, flying first to neighboring Hong Kong, and go to Guangzhou by train, is often more convenient – in terms of available flights.
Website: Click here

Overview

Phase 1 (October 15-19, 2015)

Electronics & Household Electrical Appliances
Lighting Equipment
Vehicles & Spare Parts
Machinery
Hardware & Tools
Energy Resources
Chemical Products
Building Materials

Phase 2 (October 23-27, 2015)

Kitchenware & Tableware
Ceramics
Household Items
Personal Care Products
Toiletries
Pet Products & Food
Clocks, Watches & Optical Instruments
Toys
Festival Products
Furniture
Gardening Products
Home Decorations
Gifts

Phase 3 (October 31 – November 4, 2015)

Office Supplies
Cases & Bags
Food
Medicines
Medical Devices
Health Products
Textiles & Garments
Shoes

#3 HKTDC Fairs

Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a Hong Kong Government organization arranging several trade fairs. I’ve attended a few of them myself and consider HKTDC to offer both a wide product selection and high quality suppliers. It’s also a very good place to meet traders and manufacturers based in Hong Kong. The HKTDC fairs are held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, located in Wanchai.

Location: Hong Kong S.A.R
Visa required: No
Airport: Hong Kong International Airport
Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC)
Address: 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai (Google Map)
Getting there: Take the MTR Airport Express from the airport directly central (final stop) and then change to the Island line (blue), which takes you to Wanchai, where the HKCEC is located.
Website: Click here

Overview

HKTDC Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair September, 8-12, 2015
HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition), October 13-16, 2015
electronicAsia, October 13-16, 2015
HKTDC Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Autumn Edition), October 27-30, 2015
HKTDC Hong Kong International Building and Hardware Fair, October 28 – 31, 2015
World of Outdoor Lighting & Lighting Accessories, 28-31 Oct 2015
HKTDC Hong Kong Optical Fair, November 4-6, 2015

How to Get an Invitation Letter

While Hong Kong is part of the Peoples Republic of China, it’s legal status is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) that is largely independent, financially and politically. Most nationalities are, unlike Mainland China, not required to obtain a visa prior to entry in Hong Kong. Thus, making it easier attend fairs there.

However, If you intend to visit the Canton Fair, or any other trade fair in Mainland China, you must obtain a business visa. While you can (technically) visit the Canton Fair on a tourist visa, Chinese regulations requires business visitors to obtain an M-visa. In order to obtain an M-visa, you need to apply for an invitation letter from relevant trade fair authorities. If you intend to attend the Canton Fair this year, follow this link for online application.

The invitation letter can then be used to apply for an M-visa, through the Chinese embassy or consulate in your country or residence. That said, they may also request further documents such as flight tickets and a hotel booking confirmation. The required documentation varies between different countries.

Visitor Registration

Attending a Trade fair is usually free of charge, for buyers. At most, you will be requested to pay a small fee ranging between US$10 to US$25. That being said, some trade fairs require buyers to pre-register online. Once you arrive, all you need to do is to sign in and share basic information about your company, including visitor’s name, nationality and company name. If you attend a trade fair in Mainland China, you may also be requested to show your passport before entering the venue.

Additional Preparations Before Attending a Trade Show

Visiting a trade fair is a very efficient way to meet a large number of manufacturers under the same roof. However, if you don’t come well prepared, chances there are that you might not get much in return from your visit. The purpose of visiting a trade fair is not to place orders on site. Instead, it’s a first step towards finding reliable manufacturing partners, and begin the RFQ process – and later, product development. Below follows a summary of what you need to prepare before boarding the flight:

Confirm applicable regulations in your market (i.e., REACH or CPSIA): The first thing you should ask every supplier is whether they can ensure compliance with the applicable regulations and standards. Don’t be surprised if the majority is not only unable to, but entirely unaware of overseas standards and regulations. Why waste your time discussing prices with those that can’t?
Draft a list of quality requirements and technical specifications: All suppliers are not created equal, and a Trade Fair is the best chance you get to receive quality feedback on your design requirements and specs. Don’t expect the suppliers to tell you a story. They expect you to do most of the talking.