Where can you see thousands of brand-new bisiness ideas in one place? Of course, at the Canton Fair exhibition, which takes place in Guangzhou city, which is considered to be a personification of trade traditions of the Celestial empire. The event lasts several weeks and gathers at one roof leading manufacurers, who demonstrate samples of their own production. We prepare a specific instruction for use, which helps you to visit exhibition and does not let you get lost in endless streets of ancient Canton.
What is Canton Fair
Canton Fair is a world community which gathers manufacturers and buyers from all over the globe. The event is held ltwice a year (in spring and autumn) since 1957. Dozens of exhibitions of different directions take place in China every day, but Canton is considered to be the largest and the most reputable. Manufacturers try to demonstrate the best innovations and engineerings, buyers try to sign profitable contracts.
The number of Canton Fair exhibitors are measured in tens of thousands. You can’t visit all pavilions of the complex for sure within one day. Professional buyers come to the exhibition with travel bags on wheels where they put business cards and other printing material. Transportation companies are situated in central hall and help immediately send production samples and other material in head office.
Time at the exhibition flies by invisibly, you are managed to pass 10-15 km during several hours. Meanwhile, you understand that you don’t go around half of the stands. The abundance of offered products is like an embarrassment of riches. It’s hard to believe that all these are made in China.
The exhibition lasts the whole month and is divided into several stages. For example, you’ll see household equipment and automobile electronics at first session, and find yourself in the world of cooking and drinks at third stage. During autumn you can see plenty of goods for New Year’s Day celebration, in spring – accessories for outdoor activities and sports.
Entrance to the exhibition is paid and moreover you need to complete a certain procedure of registration. You need to take a photo (30¥) and fill the questionnaire. Don’t forget to take a passport and business cards with you. If you don’t have business cards, order a couple of hundreds in foreign language, they will be useful. Write QR-code of your account in WeChat directly on business cards, so it’ll be easier to deal with representatives of companies.
Pass-badge making costs 100¥. It may seem expensive at first sight, but this badge is termless and you can use it even in a year. Never give your pass to another person, a special entrance system compares visual appearance with the photo in data base.
China is closer than it seems
As a rule, dates of the Canton Fair exhibition are always known in advance. Therefore, don’t put off purchase of airplane tickets indefinitely, the closer event, the higher price of tickets. It’s no need to land right in Guangzhou, view tickets to neighbouring cities. For example, you can land in Shenzhen, and get to Guangzhou in 30 minutes by high-speed train.
Visa-free entry to China is opened for citizens of the most countries for a month or longer. But if you make plans to visit the Celestial empire regularly and build business relations with local manufacturers you have to take care about obtaining a business visa.
I guess, you’ll plan to book a hotel room as closer to the complex where Canton Fair is located as possible. Yes, I’ve made the same mistake, when I went to the exhibition for the first time. First of all, price tag on the hotel rooms and apartments will be fairly high and secondly the exhibition would be located not as close as it’s shown on the map.
Primarily, I rented apartments, what was a few kilometers away from the expocentre, plus the entrance to the metro was very close. But I didn’t consider the fact that it takes an hour and a half with three transfers through the most overloaded lines to get to Canton Fair. Finally, I made a decision to move to a hotel which is situated to the neighboring city, worthing a penny, but I could take a subway train from it and it took also an hour an a half to get to the exhibition.
When you rent an apartment or book a room in the local hotel be ready that you won’t live alone in it. With high probability disgusting cockroaches’ll come to you. And it doesn’t matter what floor will you live on. That’s why always choose network european hotels only, there will be no insects and it’s possible to find something eatable for breakfast.
Difficulties of translation
You may totally forget English and don’t even try to learn Chinese before travelling to China. The thing is that there are a great number of dialects in China, even if you learn pekingese for all your life (this dialect is more often taught in institutions of a higher education) no one understands you in Guangzhou. Don’t try to make any phrases with the help of electronic translators, Chinee will laugh out loud when they read them.
You can hire an interpreter for a work at Canton Fair, as a rule it costs 100$ per one day. From the other side, knowledge of English will be enough to take catalogue of products, refine price and haggle a little. In streets and public transport you need to communicate with the help of gestures and a calculator. Don’t hesitate to haggle, it’ll be enough to type a required price on a calculator and show it to a seller.
It’s necessary to install a few important applications before visiting China: WeChat, VPN Master, DiDi taxi and Maps.me navigation. The last one helps you to get directions (including subway and buses) in big cities but it doesn’t work in China suburbs. iPhone owners are the luckiest, built-in navigation knows schedule of local transport and is able to specify the path to the specified point, but it doesn’t work in offline mode.
You can leave your bank cards at home, China has its own pay system – UnionPay. That’s why you need to pay cash in shops and public transport. Issue a debet card in advance, which allows you to withdraw money abroad without additional fees.
A little bit about local customs
Foremost, remember that there is no pedestrian priority in China. No one yield you to a pedestrian crossing, like in most countries. When walking on a sidewalk be ready that suddenly a moped or a motorbike will start to go on you. If it runs over you, the driver will be right. In general, get used to two-wheeled transport, in China it’s everywhere.
At the bus entrance stands a special box where you need to put money for passage. Ticket price is shown on а screen or a special sticker. As a rule, a passage costs 2 or 4 ¥. Prepare a required amount in advance, no change will be given. In subway you have to point the station you want to get to and then buy a jetton. You should know that you can’t go to another station with this jetton. Don’t forget that a part of public transport stop running at 19.30, and after 22.00 all facilities are closed (including railway stations and airports).
Now let’s discuss the most complicated theme – local food. If anyone after visiting chinese resort argue foaming at the mouth that loves chinese food to madness you may laugh in his face. In chinese restaurants and resorts which are situated in Russia and Europe cook one kind of food, the Chinese themselves eat different meal. At least, dumplings with unknown and very smelly filling, sweet sausages and mushrooms of an obscure origin will be served. The smells deserve a separate discussion – unfortunately, photos and videos don’t convey them.
Even breakfast in european hotel consists of 90 percent of chinese food, which is inedible for Europeans. At the best, you’ll make toasts, eat a couple of eggs and drink coffee. It’s impossible to find real dairy products in China – organism of local citizens doesn’t tolerate lactose. My advice to you: order seafood, fruits and rice with vegetables at the restaurants.
At first sight China impresses you with the freedom – people are allowed to drink alcohol in public places. You can meet people who smoke at the centre of grocery store. Such a freedom and permissiveness stupefies head, but don’t forget about total surveillance and severe chinese laws. Just touch someone with your finger or break something, police officers appear immediately, then either write a fine and deport or put in a local prison.
Don’t think that in China anything may go unnoticed. Cameras are met even in slums, which are prepared for demolition. In an ordinary bus I counted 8 dashboard cameras, which are directed in different sides. A special system scans your face and knows about every step you make. Every visited website and all communication in WeChat are totally controlled. On arrival to China you have to hand over fingerprints, which are stored in a database.
Running the business with China properly
Don’t be surprised if you notice a well-known product at Canton Fair without familiar logotype. This is not a fake, but so-called OEM-production. You can refer to the manufacturer and sign contract for bulk suppies of any gadget. For example, it may be multicookers, car DVRs, mobile phones, clothes or food. Manufacturer’ll print your brand on the product, pack in boxes and send them to your storage facilities.
Regular business with China is built in the following way: choose the trade niche, develop the brand, order goods. It’s no need to waste high resources for the product development itself and productive process organization. You may also forget about benefits package for the employees of the plant. Chinee’ll take all over. The more important thing is to mature marketing and how will goods be promoted in the market.
If you find something really unique at Canton Fair you should know that you have 2-3 months to become first. Then business rivals’ll adopt your idea. So happened with multicookers, electric bycicles and plenty of other goods. Don’t worry too much, the exhibition is held twice a year, so you can constantly get new business ideas.
It’s normal in China to ask manufacturer to take you to the manufacture and show how products are made. Factory representatives’ll ensure the transfer, serve delicious meal and show the entire production cycle. Thus, you don’t buy a pig in a poke, but watch demonstrably how your order’ll be executed.
Making up a conclusion
If you want to know how various goods show up in the market and look for the new business ideas, buy a ticket to Guangzhou at once. Having visited Canton Fair you totally change your mind about chinese goods. The most common stereotype about goods quality, produced in the Celestial empire has been brought in my head long ago. Moreover, the exhibition is considered to be a global forum, where you may find out market tends and standards.
Who knows, probably having visited Canton Fair you find something exclusive and become first in the world. Because you don’t even have to create anything, expressing outsight and signing the contract in time is enough. Don’t forget that the great Silk Way took its rise just from China.
What you need to visit Canton Fair
1. Buy airplane tickets in advance
2. Choose reasonably priced european network hotel, which is treated from insects.
3. Install needed applications on the mobile phone
4. Order a bank card, which allows to withdraw cash from foreign ATMs without a fee.
5. Find a person who renders interpreter services (russian-english-chinese)
6. Print some business cards
7. Get a passing badge to the exhibition. In order not to stand in a queue, you may pass the early registration on the Canton Fair website.