With Canton Fair drawing to a close, ODM would like to share some pros and cons of this gigantic fair.   Please fill in your comments on base of this article as sure there are many others that we have left out….


1. Trade Matching Service – allows you to match your requirements or specifications to a suitable supplier which you are looking for. This helps finding booths in a fair like Canton and is extremely helpful if you are just searching for a few narrow product categories.

2. Business Centres & Necessity Stores – 

  • Business Centres take care of all your business needs, fulfilling the slightest details, like printing of business cards or Wi-Fi provider.
  • Necessity Stores, on the other hand, take care of all your personal needs; selling products ranging from beverages, Intl. SIM cards & emergency phone chargers to luggage.

3. Variety of Secondary Services

  • Hotels – whose booths take up one whole row, each promoting their accommodation and service.
  • Translator Service – Having a communication barrier? Well, the translators here (mainly Chinese) knows languages from English to Spanish and even Japanese.
  • Groups responsible for compilation of detailed information of factories – contact details, products range etc. in the form of CD-ROMs or Yellow Pages.
  • Groups Specializing in Quality Control/Inspection like CTI here.

4. Plenty of Resting Stations – an area you will crave after a long day walking and scouring this giant fair. The resting stations consist of chairs and is not too shabby when your feet are screaming for a rest.

Overview of the Walkway; Buggies at the side

5. Free Buggy Service – a vehicle you will definitely need and is thoughtfully provided when the exhibition centre we are talking about is the largest in the world.

6. Personalized Buyer’s Pass – allows buyers like us to feel exclusive and it does make for a fun keepsake / collectible..

7. All in 1 – Canton Fair > HK Electronics Fair + HK Houseware Show + HK Gifts & Premiums + HK Toys Show ; Everything that you might be looking for is right here!


1. Disorganized – One moment I was at a first aid kit booth, the next one was at a booth selling katanas and lightsabers – then the one opposite was a booth selling Santa Clauses. Although grouped into various categories like Furniture, Gifts & Premiums, Household Items etc, the booths are not categorized through type of products by aisles, forcing the attendees to look through everything to find what they want. (perhaps that is the purpose of the disorientation)

2. Absence of an In Depth Guide – Canton Fair did not have a guide/magazine for each category like the China Sourcing Fair which not only looked into the various factories and their specialties but also at the latest market trends.

3. Poor Quality Website – Overcomplicated and difficult to find information

Improvements & the Future :

1. Infrstructure. The Canton Fair has come a long way since we first visited and joked with clients about the only meal we had each day, sitting outside in the dramatically humid weather – cold dogs & warm beer.   Buildings now have ample air-conditioning and are more navigable in general. This will only get better…

2.  Online The China Sourcing Fair has brought out a magazine to help buyers with Global Sourcing to guide buyers.   We feel that Canton Fair is too big to have printed guides and needs to elaborate on its online section

  • Collate factory details along with showcase of products and booth number
  • Discuss topics which increase perceived value of guide for e.g. “Building Trust between Suppliers and Buyers”
  • Include Fair Highlights and the latest market trends (products to look out for).
3. Lack of Niche Categories – The Canton Fair do not have halls catering to niche categories like Eco-Friendly Products/Tech Products/Personal Well-Being Products like HK Gifts & Premiums Show.

Hawking Services at Canton Fair

4. Regulating huge crowds of Chinese outside offering absurd servicesthey may or may not pester you, but the amount of hawking services outside does not leave a great impression.  Services from company registration to translators will be more and more regulated..

5. Hosting series of Enterprise & Brand Showsprove to be an irritant rather than of use as the sound volume was too loud and the Chinese host was rambling away in poor English. 

6. More Segregation – Things have come really far since the early days of this show.  Gone are the days where you could buy a Pencil or a bus in same hall.   I am a big fan of separating this show into 3 distinct phases.  That said, the fair is still just too BIG!

There is always room improvement. These cons that we went through are really just some tweaks that Canton could make to further enhance the buyers’ experience. Otherwise, we feel that the Canton Fair was a pretty complete and successful fair for its scale with almost every detail covered. For more information, please read on the the previous blogs on Canton Fair.

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