Canton Fair: How To Get Your Buyers Badge & Invitation Letter
If you’re planning to go to the Canton Fair – the biggest trade fair in the world – then there are two things you must apply for ahead of time…
- Your Buyers Badge
- Your Invitation Letter
These are both critical to get so you can access the Canton Fair.
The application form isn’t the easiest to understand, but we’ve done the hard work for you. Just follow the steps in this blog post and hopefully, you’ll be able to pre-apply for your Buyers Badge and apply for your Invitation Letter super easily.
First things first – let’s start with the basics.
What is a Buyers Badge?
The Buyers Badge is the entry badge that grants you access to the fair. You can apply for this either online or in person at the fair – but if you pre-apply online, it will save you time AND money. If you get it at the fair, it will cost approx $15 USD, and can take up to 5 hours with long queues! That’s why we’d recommend pre-applying and collecting it from one of the appointed hotels in China.
And how about the Invitation Letter…
Do you really need to be “invited” to the fair?
Yes! In order to visit China for business, you need to have a business visa. And in order to get a business visa, you need to have an Invitation Letter.
You might be wondering if a business visa is really necessary. Couldn’t you visit Canton Fair on a tourist visa instead?
Well, the answer is: maybe you could… But it’s highly unlikely that you will be visiting Canton Fair for tourism! If the purpose of your trip is for business, then entering on a tourist visa is illegal. We don’t know if the officials would catch you out, but we certainly don’t want to test it. That’s why we’d recommend doing things by the book and getting the right visa.
Besides, you wouldn’t want to miss the Canton Fair. It’s where you can meet over 50,000 suppliers, check out over 150,000 products, negotiate prices, and build longlasting relationships. It can do wonders for your business.
So don’t miss out on this huge opportunity by simply not applying for letter or getting the right visa!
We’ve done the hard work for you and have recorded how to pre-apply for your Buyers’ Badge and how to apply for the Invitation Letter here.
The whole process should just take you around 15 minutes to complete. And then you can spend more time getting ready to join us in China!
In short, the overall process requires you to:
- Register for an account
- Create a company
- Register a person within the company (if you’re attending with a colleague or business partner, you’ll need to register this person as an employee of the company too)
- Pre-apply for the Buyers badge
- Apply for the invitation letter
It’s also worth noting that the website is originally in Chinese. There are a few areas where the English words don’t make a huge amount of sense. But don’t worry about that though, this is the legitimate website.
So before we run out of time to apply, let’s get into it.
Step 1: Register for an account
Register for an account on the official Canton Fair website.
Fill in all your personal details, and hit “registration”. (Here’s one example of the slightly strange English translation!)
Step 2: Verify your email
…by clicking on the link that’s sent to your email.
Note: this email took about an hour to come through for us, so don’t worry if it doesn’t come through immediately.
Step 3: Login to your account
You will get a pop-up asking if you have a badge. If this is the first time you are attending the fair, click ‘no’.
Step 4: Input your Personal Information
Click on the “Personal Information” link in the sidebar.
Fill in your email, ID name, and name for your Buyers’ Badge.
Then, you need to upload the following files:
- A photo of your passport
- ID/passport photo of you. This photo will be used at Canton Fair to confirm that your identity matches your passport, and it will be printed onto your Buyers badge. (You can take this at home in front of a white wall, but make sure your face and shoulders are in the frame)
Nothing else on this page is mandatory to complete right now. There is the option to upload an image of your business cards or a photocopy of your ID at this stage, but this isn’t necessary now. (You will need these when you enter the fair though)
Step 5: Create your company
Once you’ve created your profile, then you need to create your company. The “Company” is the entity that you will be representing at the Canton Fair, and in order to get in – you will need to print and bring business cards with you which match the company name.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the company does not have to be an officially registered company in any country. It just has to be created within Canton Fair’s system as whatever you want to be trading as at the fair.
So to do this- click on “Company Information” in the sidebar.
Fill in your company name, email address, and hit “Create a company”.
Next, fill out the information relating to your company, and hit the big green button at the bottom “Create a company”.
Step 6: Assign yourself as an Administrator of your Company
Now you’ve “created your company”, you can assign yourself as an employee or administrator of your company.
To do this, click on the “Associate Management” tab. Then add click “add new associates”, and fill in your personal details.
Step 7: Pre-apply for the Buyers badge
Go back to the Home page, and click on “Pre-application for Buyers Badge”.
A notification will pop-up telling you that you can pre-apply and pick up your badge in China; this pop-up isn’t hugely important right now so just click on the cross.
Type in your name and email address into the search bar, then hit “Query”.
Make sure you tick the box on the left of your name.
Then fill out the information below. You can leave the Exhibitor Code blank and make sure you’ve ticked to pick up your badge at the “Overseas Buyers’ Registration Office or at designated hotels in Guangzhou”.
Then hit “Submit”.
Step 8: Apply for your invitation letter
While you’re waiting for your Buyers’ badge to be approved, you can apply for your invitation letter. You don’t need to wait for approval as this is manually approved by the team at Canton Fair and can take from 24 hours to a full week to be approved.
Go back to the Home page, and click on “Apply for invitation letter”.
Fill in your name, email address and hit “Query”.
The system should find your information, and the status should look like in the following image i.e. with the status of the invitation letter as “not apply yet” and the status of Buyers Badge verification “to be accepted”.
Then, make sure you tick the box on the left of your name and fill out the form underneath.
A few pointers for filling out the rest of the form:
- Type of invitation letter: We recommend ticking E-invitation because you can print this yourself at home.
- Address: You can choose either Personal or Company address
- Purchase intention: Tick the boxes of products which you’ll be looking for. It doesn’t matter if things change nearer the time though!
Then hit “Submit”.
It should verify instantly and you can instantly download your invitation letter by clicking on the link “Browse”.
Finally, you will need to print your Invitation Letter to take with you to the Chinese embassy when you are applying for your business visa. To print it, just:
- Log back into your account
- Click on “My invitation letters” in the sidebar and then “Records of applications”
- Download by clicking on “Browse”
So that’s all! Hopefully, with these 8 steps, it won’t be too difficult… If you have any issues along the way, you can always reach out to the team at Canton Fair through the following details:
Finally, the next steps that you must do in order to attend Canton Fair are…
- Design & print business cards. You can do this easily and for free on Canva; just use the ‘business card’ template, edit with your details, and send to a printer.
- Apply for your business visa to enter China. You can do this at the Chinese embassy; you just need to take your passport, and Canton Fair invitation letter with you.
- Once you’re at the fair, collect your Buyers’ badge. If you’ve completed the steps in this guide, you will be able to collect your pre-registered badge from one of the appointed hotels within Guangzhou. Just make sure you take the following with you:
- Business Cards (matching the details entered)
- Buyers’ Badge Confirmation
So get applying & we’ll see in China!
We would love to hear if this blog has been helpful so please let us know in the comments below.
Want to know more about Canton Fair and how it can help your business? Then check out our video below: