The Canton Fair VS. Foshan Furniture Markets
Anyone who has been doing business or is interested in China heard about the Canton Fair at least once - the largest and most extensive exhibition in Asia - China Import and Export Fair, also knows as The Canton Fair. Held semi-annually in the spring and fall in Guangzhou and this is the place businessmen from all over the world get nearly every type of consumer product from Chinese factories to store shelves around the world.
But is it a good fit for everybody? Yes, if you are looking for clothes, lighting, garden supplies, medical equipment, electronics and more, there are more than 150,000 types of goods and everything in one place. Would this be the best place to buy furniture and search for Chinese furniture suppliers? Most likely not, and here is why:
1. Suppliers from different provinces and cities of China
Many furniture suppliers at the Canton Fair are not from Guangdong Province (Guangzhou is a centre of this province). Even if you find cheaper offers from outside the province, remember it will get back at you:
- factories or suppliers can be located in the central part of China, far from seaports, which significantly raise the delivery cost, it's a way more expensive than, for example, shipping delivery from Guangzhou or Shenzhen ports;
- buying less than a container volume furniture quantity from suppliers from different places in China, you will have to bear additional shipping expenses to get it to a warehouse for consolidation and container loading. The goods can be reshipping many times during the delivery which will most likely cause damage.
2. Inability to check the real quality
Keep in mind that you cannot check the factory, equipment, quality of products and goods if the factory is out of Guangdong province. For example, there are hundreds of factories in Foshan which is an hour away from Guangzhou and you can check local productions any time you want.
Each manufacturer wants to make a good impression on potential buyers and vendors make especially good quality pieces for the exhibition which in many cases can be far from the everyday production level. Do not rely on the quality you see at the Canton Fair and beware that goods you’ll receive can be far from the quality you expect without proper supervising and QC work.
3. It’s for business wholesale
Prices at Fairs are higher than in showrooms and the Canton Fair is not an exception. Most of the prices there are far from customers’ expectations for one simple reason — these are export prices, not the wholesale price for locals. Unlike, at fairs in Foshan you can buy furniture at a good price by piece. For example, you can buy a living room, bedroom, kitchen furniture all from different vendors.
Better deals at the fairs instead of the markets are a business myth. Everyone can get a good discount by buying in bulk, but what if you are just a person who wants to buy furniture for himself and his family? Does it make sense to attend a noisy exhibition created for wholesalers? We recommend heading to Foshan markets instead of wasting your time there.
4. Limited choice of furniture
You won’t see the whole product line of Chinese supplier at fairs. Furniture is heavy, there is no secret in that, so it’s understandable that manufacturers only bring the handful amount of the best furniture models with them to the fair. The only option to see the whole selection is to check catalogues but will it really give the full picture and is it worth coming all the way to look through a couple of catalogues? So you will be missing out on the variety and available options. On the other hand, Foshan gets seasonally updated furniture models even before official stores. Thousands of showrooms with more than 2000 m2 exhibiting space each, thousands of furniture models of every style there is.
The Canton Fair is one of the largest exhibitions in the world and you definitely should visit it at least to check out how massive the venue is. But this is not the best place to search for suppliers of furniture.
Foshan’s retail space covers more than 5 million square meters and showrooms exhibit products from more than 5,000 factories and suppliers. It is an all-year-round furniture fair but not only that: you’ll find everything from a painting to a garden sculpture of a Greek goddess, from designers rugs to specialized massage recliners. Foshan is an everlasting furniture Canton fair.