Twice a year in south china there is what many people call “trade show season.” During this time that largest international trade shows are held and all the international buyers are in town to meet current suppliers and find new ones. There is the Canton Fairs in Guangzhou and then the China Sourcing Fairs, HKTDC Fairs in Hong Kong.
I like to call this time of year the “Trade show season” since not only are these shows going on but many others. Its also the time of year when everyone is here and hotels and bars are full of new people. This happens once in October/November for the fall shows and then againï¿½ in April/March. It’s pretty exciting so see all the new faces when I go to the show and get to hear peoples thoughts on their adventures in China. Its also interested to see the different people at the shows, the last shows I was at definatly had a lot less American’s then previous ones. Anyway, here is a quick rundown of the shows and my thoughts.
China Sourcing Fairs
This show is put on my Global Sources and is located in the Asia World Expo near the airport in Hong Kong. Although it is a little far they do provide a lot of buses and free airport express for buyers to the show which is the way I recommend going. I’ve spent the most time at these shows and find them to generally have good products and great suppliers. This is a good starting point if you’re just getting started with buying in China. All the suppliers speak English and the show is very well organized. Its also the lager venue in Hong Kong so you’ll find more products there.
These shows are put together by the HKTDC and are held downtown in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. There are buses to get to the shows all over Hong Kong but I would recommend taking the MTR or the Star ferry as its faster since you can get stuck in traffic on a bus. These are similar to the China Sourcing Fairs in that they are well organized and all the suppliers speak English. They do tend to be a little more narrow in the catagories which can be helpful to find the right products. They also are a little smaller (though not much) then the CSF.
This show is located in Guangzhou and is by far the largest. Its also located in China so you will need to get a visa to be able to get to the show. I find that the suppliers here can be a little “lower” quality in their booths but that doesn’t mean the products are worse. It is easier to get to this show since no Visa is required for the local employees and the overall cost would be less for the suppliers and I imagine that’s why you get so many more here. This show is not as well organized and getting to the show can be an experience in itself as there are so many people trying to get in and trying to offer services around the show. Not all the suppliers speak as good English as you get at the Hong Kong shows. Overall this show is a little more hectic, but you can still get the right suppliers here if you know what you are looking for.
All the shows
All the shows are split up into different sessions so you need to make sure you got to the right one for your product. They also all seem to align with each other so its possible to see all the shows during your trip and I would recommend doing that if you’re planning to go to any.