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Exporters flock to fair for offline gains

By ZHONG NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-04-18 06:57

A buyer learns about the electronic products at a booth of a company from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, at the 133rd session of the China Import and Export Fair. [Photo provided to China Daily]

With the full resumption of on-site activities, the number of Chinese exhibitors has soared at the ongoing 133rd China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province.

The semiannual fair is considered a major gauge of China's foreign trade. Exporters are keen to expand their reach to overseas clients by showcasing their latest product models at the three-phase, online-and-offline fair that opened on Saturday and will close on May 5, with each phase lasting five days, industry observers said.

Also known as the Canton Fair, the latest event has broken previous records by accommodating 34,933 companies, compared to 25,000 in the previous edition.

Domestic manufacturers, especially those from China's manufacturing and export hubs, such as Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong and Fujian provinces, are more optimistic about their business prospects now than in the past two years, hoping that face-to-face interactions with potential foreign clients will bring them more business orders.

More than 670 companies from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, are managing 1,553 booths at the Canton Fair, a record for both the number of participating companies and the number of booths, according to the city's bureau of commerce.

For instance, Wenzhou's companies also set up new display areas to showcase the city's modern textile and apparel industry cluster, footwear export base, foreign trade transformation and upgrading base for smart locks.

"We attach great importance to the trade promotional role of the Canton Fair and hope to further diversify our sales channels through this platform," said Jin Jinting, president of Wenzhou-based Zhejiang Jindeli Electrical Appliances Co Ltd.

The company, Jin said, received expressions of interest from existing as well as prospective customers from countries such as Germany, Mexico and Russia on the first day of the event. If such EoIs get converted into orders, business worth over $6 million would materialize.

Such optimism is also shared by Chen Dexing, president of Wenzhou Kanger Crystallite Utensils Co Ltd, a glass and ceramic-ware manufacturer with more than 1,500 employees. He said that thanks to the growth in orders from the European market, the company's production capacity in the first quarter of this year has approached half of last year's total.

"Participating in the Canton Fair will help us gain more orders for the second half of this year," said Chen.

Eager to promote local brands globally, Suzhou, a major export city in Jiangsu province, announced that 414 companies will showcase their products in 906 booths through the three phases of the fair. About 2,750 business representatives will attend the event.

"As the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement has effectively bolstered trade and investment between China and other participating countries, our goal is to expand into the Southeast Asian markets through the platform of the Canton Fair," said Ni Jiaojiao, a sales representative at Positec Group, a Suzhou-headquartered power tools and garden equipment manufacturer.

The Canton Fair has added new sections for smart manufacturing, new energy and intelligent connected vehicles, maternal and infant products, and the "silver-haired "economy. These additions attracted 9,000 first-time attendees, featuring a number of leading players in the manufacturing sector, according to its organizer.

Ningbo CLSA Self Lighting Co Ltd, a first-time participant in the fair and a Zhejiang province-based domestic trade company, has set up three booths to display its lighting products and launched two types of its travel lights last week.

"We are trying to rely on these new products to start export business at the Canton Fair," said Sun Weihui, the company's director of branding.

Ningbo, another industrial hub in Zhejiang province, saw the number of its exhibitors surpass 1,300. The latter set up over 3,700 booths, a record. More than 12,000 attendees are expected to travel to Guangzhou to conduct business this time, said the city's commerce bureau.

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