By Startup Living China
April is one of the busiest months in southern China for entrepreneurs and business persons involved in e-commerce, imports and exports, wholesale, private label, or retail goods: It’s trade fair season.
The electronics category, in particular, makes up a large component of the trade fairs in southern China. Electronics are not only a large source of trade volume, but many suppliers and manufacturers are also based nearby.
New electronics technologies and trends emerge constantly, so it is important to stay on top of these developments at trade fairs if you are currently involved in the industry or thinking about getting in the game.
Here are some of the biggest electronics trade fairs happening in April in southern China and Hong Kong:
- Global Sources Electronics Trade Fairs (Hong Kong)
- Canton Fair, Phase 1 (Guangzhou, China)
- HKTDC Electronics (Hong Kong)
Note: If you are planning to travel from overseas to one of the trade fairs, you can also consider attending the others in the same trip since they are all located relatively close to one another. Combining a trip to check out the electronics markets in nearby Shenzhen or supplier factories in China is also always worthwhile.
Global Sources Electronics trade fair (April 11th -14th 2018 and April 18th – 21st , 2018)
The Global Sources Electronics trade fair is the world’s largest electronics sourcing trade fair, featuring 6,600 trade booths showcasing suppliers from China, South Korea, and other Asian countries. It takes place at AsiaWorld-Expo, a massive 70,000 square meter exhibition venue, in Hong Kong, in April and October, 2018. The AsiaWorld-Expo building is conveniently located next to Hong Kong International Airport and can be accessed by train for free by trade fair attendees.
The electronics trade fair is split into two phases:
Consumer Electronics (April 11th -14th, 2018)
- Home electronics
- Outdoor electronics
- Auto electronics
- Computer components
- Smart living products
Mobile Electronics (April 18th – 21st , 2018)
- Mobile devices
- Mobile accessories
- VR/AR Summit, Experience Zone and Pavilion
The products featured at Global Sources Electronics showcase some of the most innovative technologies. From personal transportation, drones, robotics, AR and VR, smart speakers, smart home security, automation, to wearables, there will be no shortage of ideas for businesses looking to source next generation products.
The Global Sources Electronics trade fair is expected draw 60,000+ buyers from over 150 countries, including many large retail business and industrial corporations. However, the trade fair is also great for smaller businesses and startups. Over 900 exhibitors at the fair will accept small MOQ orders — a huge benefit. There will also be services and seminars specifically aimed at online e-commerce and Amazon sellers. Thinking of building your next seven-figure electronic gadget e-commerce business? Definitely check out this trade fair.
Online pre-registration for the Global Sources Electronics Trade Fair is free and very easy. You can also show up to the fair without registering beforehand, however you will need to pay a $50 HKD fee.
Tip: Attendees will need to bring at least three copies of their business card.
Note: Global Sources also holds two other trade fairs at the same location in April. The fairs are focussed on Gifts & Home and Fashion categories. They are also both free to attend with pre-registration. The dates for these trade fairs are listed below:
Global Sources Gifts and Home (April 18th – 21st, 2018)
Global Sources Fashion (April 27th – 30th , 2018)
Canton Fair, Phase 1 (April 15th -19th, 2018)
The Canton Fair is a large trade fair that takes place in the city of Guangzhou, China. The trade show focuses on mostly on export, showcasing a vast array of goods and services of over 24,000 suppliers, logistics, and trade service companies in China as well as international pavilions.
The fair takes place in the Guangzhou’s Pazhou building complex. In 2017, the fair saw over 60,000 booths fill the 1,000,000+ square meter exhibition space. Nearly 200,000 overseas buyers visited the fair resulting in over 30 billion dollars USD in business turnover. Note: Entry to China requires a travel visa for most foreign passports.
The Canton Fair is split into three phases, each featuring multiple different product categories. Electronics takes places during Phase 1 alongside some other industrial related categories:
Phase 1: April 15th -19th, 2018
- Electronics & Household Appliances
- Vehicles & Spare Parts
- Hardware & Tools
- Building Materials
- Chemical Products
- Energy Resources
Entry to the Canton Fair requires a Buyer Card / badge. One helpful tip: You can get in for free if you receive an invitation from a supplier that you have communicated with and agree to visit their booth during the fair. Alternatively, you can pre-register online or register the day of the event for a fee.
HKTDC Trade Fairs Electronics Fair (April 13th – 16th, 2018)
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Electronics Fair takes place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai, Hong Kong. In 2017, the fair showcased nearly 3,000 exhibitors and attracted over 60,000 buyers from all over the world.
The upcoming HKTDC Electronics Fair will feature a number of major product categories such as 3D printing, connected home devices, healthcare electronics, robotics, and virtual reality just to name a few.
Pre-registration for the HKTDC Fair is free online. You also register in person the day of the fair, however a $100 HKD fee will be required.
Note: HKTDC also has a number of other trade fairs in other product categories in April that may also be of interest.
Are trade fairs still worth going to in 2018?
It’s 2018 – almost everything is online. Many of the suppliers found at trade fairs can also be found online. So, is it really worth attending a trade fair?
In a word: YES! You should definitely attend at least once to experience a trade fair – it could play an important factor in your business success. In a survey conducted by webretailer.com, multimillion dollar Amazon sellers were found to be twice as likely to attend trade shows.
Trade fairs are useful to various businesses in different ways. If you are a startup and you are looking for your first product, trade fairs are a must go. In the span of a couple of days, you will see a multitude of potential products that you might not think to search for online. Trade fairs are also a great way to get a feel for emerging trends and network with industry players.
Attending trade fairs can be advantageous when it comes to the negotiation process. The supplier has no place to run and hide and they will have to discuss directly with you, face-to-face. You can also check samples on the spot with your own eyes and hands (though, without any customization) and also sign contracts right there in the exhibit booth.
Additionally, suppliers will be more willing to give you discounts because they will see that you want to establish a serious long-term cooperation by flying all the way to China or Hong Kong to find your suppliers. You can also check and validate factories on the spot and potentially find manufacturers that are not listed online.
Preparing for your trip to China and Hong Kong
- Pre-register online to attend your trade fair.
- Check whether you need a travel visa to enter China or Hong Kong. Most visitors to China will require a travel visa. You can easily get a China travel visa by applying at your nearest China consulate in your home country. In contrast, most visitors do not need a visa to enter Hong Kong as most passport holders can stay in Hong Kong visa-free for at least 7 days or more.
- To find your flights to Hong Kong or Guangzhou, China, you can use websites like Google Flights, Skyscanner, or kiwi.com, to name a few. Shenzhen also has a large international airport which is not too far from Hong Kong or Guangzhou. Some trade fairs will partner with airlines (see Cathay Pacific) to offer discounts to fair attendees.
- Find yourself a hotel for your stay. It is highly recommended to book far in advance as hotel prices can rise dramatically during trade fairs . Use Agoda, Trip.com (formerly Ctrip), or Booking.com to find deals on hotels. Ideally, you want to either stay close to the exhibition complex or somewhere connected by public transit.
Tips for maximum effectiveness for your trade fair visit
One needs to properly plan for a trade fair to be effective. Here are some tips that can streamline your visit:
- Go through the exhibit floor map and see which sections you are interested in before you show up.
- Print out business cards beforehand (load up on those). You will be handing these out very frequently. Consider using a secondary email address on your business cards as you will receive an endless barrage of sales inquiries.
- Show up early to the trade fair before it gets too busy.
- Bring a small luggage (four-wheeler is best) to collect all catalogues and samples.
- Wear comfortable footwear as you will be walking and standing on your feet for long periods of time.
- If visiting China, install a VPN that works in China before arriving.(Google, Gmail, Facebook, Whatsapp are blocked in China)
- Get a local SIM-card for your smartphone (China Unicom and China Mobile offer dual region SIM cards that can be used in both China and Hong Kong).
- Install local apps (Wechat and QQ) for easier supplier communication in the future. You can easily add supplier contacts by scanning their WeChat QR code.
- Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Take lots of pictures of the products and samples you are interested in. It will be difficult to remember everything once you’ve seen hundreds of products.
- Try to cover as much ground as possible. Don’t settle on the first supplier you talk to. Remember, you can always follow up later after the trade show ends.
Attending an electronics trade fair in China or Hong Kong is definitely worthwhile for entrepreneurs and business persons with interest in the industry. Just remember that preparation is key in order to maximize your time during your trade fair visit.
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