- Brandon Checketts
- On April 17, 2015
- 0 Comments
Wow, after a long flight, and arriving to our hotel, we got started on the Canton Fair part of our experience right away. Although most people from our group had registered for the fair online, no one received actual tickets or completed the registration. There was a registration booth in the hotel lobby with a few other guests who were also registering. It sounds like on the first day or two of the fair, it is not uncommon to wait up to four hours in line.
Registering was fairly confusing. Somebody heard that we needed photos, and some people from our group actually got photos taken for 30 RMB ($5). But after we had already bought the photos we learned that they were able to scan them from our passports. Also, we left very confused as to why three people from our group didn’t have to pay anything, and three others had to pay 100 RMB ($15) to register. The whole process took our group about 20 minutes and then we headed up the escalators to the fair entrance.
We chose to stay at the Westin, which is adjacent to the fair, and also extremely convenient. There is a connector from the fourth floor of the hotel to the convention center.
We started our day in the smallest building of the fair in the bicycle section. Some two-wheel handle-less Segway-type products caught everybody’s attention for a while but we made our way through that section fairly quickly and caught a glimpse of the sheer size of the convention center buildings. After getting a couple bottles of water, our group decided to split up and explore what they were interested in.
There is a large bridge connecting the section where we started with the large part of the fair to the north. It didn’t look very long from the start, but it ended up probably being several hundred yards long. There was a bit of a wait for “golf carts” that could carry you from one part to the other, but we opted to use the moving walkways. While most of the fair consisted of manufacturers and trade groups, most of the booths along the walkway were service companies such as inspection companies, freight consolidators, hotels, and the like, and we learned a lot about the “ecosystem” that exists to get products from a factory to the US.
After crossing to the larger buildings of the fair, I went with a couple others and explored some of the consumer electronics goods and household goods. Our hotel room was supposed to be ready by 3 p.m.; we were all pretty exhausted, so I started heading back to the lobby before the room was ready. It took a couple extra hours before we finally got into our rooms; most of us were about ready to fall asleep on the lobby couches.
Biggest first day takeaway:
Although it sounds obvious in retrospect, it became obvious pretty quickly that the US is just one of many countries that imports goods from China. While we definitely found a lot of other Americans visiting the fair, my estimate is that they made up only about 5 to 10% of the visitors. I noticed a lot of the service providers specifically targeting Russia and European countries.