Why go to the Canton Fair?


Photo from 1957, the first Canton Fair

Successful businesses begin with identifying or creating a need, not a product.  This is how the experts want upstarts to think when they decide to do business.  However, chances are good that someone else could have discovered that need, before you could even say, “Aha!”  Another objection I have about this, is that this may only ring true to anyone that responds to the name, Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.  Let’s admit it, we ordinary ones could certainly use a suggestion or two.  Having a nose for discovering and creating a need that people didn’t know they had, is more likely to be rare than common.

For anyone out there who believes such ideas don’t just come out of a thought bubble, no worries!  I know a lot of people who found ideas from inspiration.  In fact, one of the biggest and most valuable companies in the world like Apple, had products that many consider more like enhancements, rather than original concepts; adaptations rather than fall-off-your seat, one-of-a-kind, earthshaking discoveries.  The products were widely accepted as improvements to what was already available.  And how many times have we heard stories of people who travel to different places, and get their inspiration from what they see?  Even Picasso probably had to draw from what he saw in real life, to come up with works that only his unique talent can conjure up!

For most of us who want that extra boost of creativity through the creativity of others, I suggest the Canton Fair.  Why the Canton Fair?  It is China’s largest and probably oldest and most successful and comprehensive trade show.  There is no other event to attend to find just about all that China can produce with an edge over other countries.

Here are the dazzling numbers that describe the Canton Fair:

  • Occupies 1.2 million square meters of space.
  • Facilitates US$ 1.2 trillion worth of sales.
  • Each of the two sessions regularly attracts over 200,000 visitors from more than 200 countries.
  • About 24,000 exhibitors participate to have their products promoted in the fair.
  • It is now running on its 60th

Because it is a megaevent, and because it is done in China, there is no doubt this is a can’t-miss for those who are wanting to start an importing business.  Remember, your ideas need not be original.  I have seen so many who have found gold at the Canton Fair in products that are simply made more cheaply in China, with either the same or even better quality!

So don’t fret that you have not come up to the standards that some so-called marketing experts have set.  You can still be that one in a million entrepreneur, who took a chance without having to be a genius.

In my next blog, I will let you know how you can prepare well for your visit to the Canton Fair.  Why?  Because the Canton Fair is simply too big to risk a visit with hardly any preparation.  So be prepared.  See you again in my next blog post!



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