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Getting ready for Canton Trade Fair 2008

China General Interest

Are you one of the many entrepreneurs trying to sort through the labyrinth associated with China trade? New Zealanders are trying to determine the best way to take advantage of the benefits associated with the Free Trade Agreement signed in Beijing last April. Joining a trade mission or exhibiting at a trade fair can open doors to the numerous possibilities.

Many experienced China traders know of the Canton Trade Fair that is held in Guangzhou twice each year, the last two weeks in April and the last two weeks in October for past 50 years. The fair had grown in importance with over 200,000 registered buyers from around the world and more than 15,000 exhibitors from all over China. The official name of the fair was changed last year to the China Import and Export Fair as there were significant changes in its format.

The changes are quite significant, opening it to Exporters as well as a change in format. Major importers have been attending the fair twice a year to place orders with Chinese manufacturers when there were only two phases in the last two weeks of April and October each year. NZCTA’s own Vic Percival has the distinction of being the only known living trader that attended the very first session more than fifty years ago and he was invited by the Chinese government to be feted during the 100th anniversary celebration.

The 104th China Import & Export Fair will now have three sessions; Phase 1: October 15th - 19th, Phase 2: October 24th - 28th, Phase 3: November 2nd - 6th. Careful planning is essential for a successful visit as it can be quite daunting with so many suppliers offering a multitude of choice for the same product. Listed below is a general breakdown of product categories which will be exhibited in each session that will be most helpful for planning a visit.

Some traders have been taking a ‘wait and see’ stance with China trade as the FTA was signed in Beijing just a few months ago but the time for action is now. About a thousand importers from New Zealand will attend the October session. Exporters have the opportunity to exhibit in the International Pavilion during the first phase only and the price to exhibit remains quite reasonable because many exporters are not aware of this, so there is little demand. This is expected to change after the success of last session’s exhibitors that were able to secure new business in the Chinese market as well as establishing new overseas contacts. This is a unique situation because there are 200,000 buyers from all over the world representing great prospects. The price to exhibit is sure to rise following the successes of those initial exhibitors this past year that will create more demand in the future. For anyone that is still unsure, potential exhibitors may prefer to visit the fair this October to see for themselves to get a better understanding of the fair’s potential. As the official fair agent for the past 50 years, CTS has helped millions of overseas visitors to attend. The basic package is NZ$2,258 for economy class flights from Auckland, four nights superior class hotel with breakfast (twin share basis) and registration.

There was an official New Zealand delegation organised by NZCTA, EMA and Auckland City Council, coordinated by CTS’ Guangzhou office, at the last 103rd session and there has been great interest to organise another one. This requires a great deal of effort and plans are underway for another official New Zealand delegation to attend the 105th session in April 2009. It should be noted that joining a group designated as an official New Zealand delegation gives it greater recognition and stature to open more doors. A trade mission visiting government offices and factories may also follow the fair to secure further contacts.

Most Chinese traders are aware of this special relationship with New Zealand and many other countries are working hard to achieve a similar agreement, especially Australia. It was not surprising to have Prime Minister Kevin Rudd arrive in Beijing the day after the FTA was signed to pursue one for Australia. China is faced with a dilemma as their trade imbalance has created massive coffers with more than a trillion US dollars in foreign reserves. This has attracted great interest among exporters to appeal to the ever burgeoning affluence of Chinese consumers in a minor attempt to balance the trade. New Zealand businesses enjoy a favoured status among the Chinese with good communication on a government level to make this the best time for China trading.

Basic information :

  • China visa is required and standard processing time is four days
  • Registration is required and a photo ID smart card is issued
  • Most traders fly into Hong Kong and take the two hour train journey to Guangzhou
  • Hotel rates are inflated so plan early to secure the lowest rate
  • Inform the NZCTA with an expression of Interest if you are considering about joining an official New Zealand delegation

By Barbara Boyce, Business Development Manager, CHina Travel Service

Barbara has helped many business people attending numerous trade fairs/missions in Asia over the past 15 years working at CTS. Contact by phone 09 375 1712 or e-mail bdm@chinatravel.co.nz

Tags: canton fair Guangzhou