Today, Nils booked his hotels for the Canton Fair and other fairs in Hong Kong. Nils will talk about where the fairs are, what things you need to prepare, and what’s important. The podcast is growing and the Facebook group is growing. If you have a question, go to EasyPeasySourcing.com/ask to send a question. To subscribe on iTunes, go to EasyPeasySourcing.com/itunes.
(01:50) The Canton Fair is split into three parts due to its size. The first part is October 15th to 19th for large items: machinery, motorbikes, and scooters, probably not the best choice for Amazon sellers. Phase two is October 23rd to 27th covering gifts, home decorations, and consumer goods. Phase three is from October 31st until November 4th for office supplies and bags, including backpacks and handbags.
(03:20) If you visit the Canton Fair and your competitor doesn’t, that’s a game changer for your business. The trip (flights and hotels) are expensive, even more so during the fair (including food) because there is more activity in the city. Book your trip as early as possible.
(03:55) There’s more to fairs than simply the Canton Fair. Nils likes the Hong Kong Mega Show, split into two phases: from October 20th to 23rd, and the second phase takes place October 27th to 29th. This allows only four days (and not five days as in the Canton Fair) because it’s smaller.
It’s called “mega” because they display more categories: gifts, kitchenware, homeware. If you’re not sure what you want to source, that is the show to visit to get an overview of every category. There’s also a lot of food nearby at the Hong Kong Mega Show, compared to the Canton Fair where you have no choice but to eat at the nearby cafeteria.
(05:55) If you’re an Amazon Seller, don’t miss Global Sources, held in Hong Kong next to the airport. You can take a free shuttle bus to and from the show. Global Sources has Amazon meetups, speakers, and label their suppliers who are Amazon confirmed with low minimum order quantities. You can easily filter out those people you can’t place an order with, and go directly to the people who are happy to work with you.
(06:45) The first phase of Global Sources is October 11th through 14th, and the second phase takes place October 18th through the 21st. The first phase covers electronics. The second phase is about mobile electronics, as well as home and gifts. JungleScout visited last year and picked items from that show.
(07:45) If you’ve never been to the fairs or China, you need to know a few things. First, you probably need a visa for Hong Kong and/or for Guangzhou as a multiple entry visas so you can go in and out of China. When you visit Hong Kong, you are officially leaving China, so if you only have one entry, your visa is expired. If you don’t get one, there’s a good visa agency in Hong Kong where you leave your passport in the morning and pick up your visa in the evening. This only works for Shenzhen, and you cannot use this method to visit the Canton Fair, so be careful.
(08:50) To arrange a hotel, Nils usually uses Airbnb to rent an apartment with a group and take a taxi to the show.
(09:10) Get WeChat. This is like WhatsApp and Facebook combined. You can post, chat, pay, and book services in the app. You should install this app so that you can ask for the WeChat username of a supplier when you meet one.
(10:00) Take two types of business cards. Every supplier asks you for a business card regardless if you’re interested or not, in order to spam you. Take two business cards: one with an email address that you want people to use to send you product information, and a second card which looks identical but has a fake email and phone number to hand to those suppliers who want to spam you.
(10:50) Bring comfortable running shoes. It takes half an hour to walk from one end of the Canton Fair to the other.
(11:15) Be sure you’re well connected. Get a SIM card. Go to China Mobile and ask for a card you can use in mainland China and Hong Kong so that you don’t have to use a VPN. In China, you can’t access Google or Facebook, and any English site runs very slow due to the Great Chinese Firewall. SIM cards are very cheap. If you buy your SIM card in China, you can use an app called ExpressVPN to access what you need.
The show also uses Wifi, but you’ll want to use Google Maps, but you can’t depend on that.
(13:00) Have a lot of cash (paper money) with you. In many places, your foreign cards won’t work and the ATM’s have issues.
(13:40) After the show, don’t be in a rush to get a taxi or take the metro home. Everyone will be in a rush to leave, so visit a nearby hotel and have a beer or see a show. Wait an hour, then get a cab. The streets will be empty at that point.
(14:05) Be sure you always have your address as well as the address of the Canton Fair in Chinese. Taxi drivers don’t read English, and very few people speak English on the streets. Have a SIM card and Google Translate on your phone. Get everything written in Chinese.
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