Screen shot taken on the website of the 127th China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, shows a representative of TCL speaking during a product launch event on June 17, 2020. (Xinhua)
The 127th China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, concluded online on Wednesday in south China's Guangdong Province.
As a major global trade event so far this year, the 10-day fair, deemed as an important barometer of China's foreign trade, was moved online for the first time in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, due to the COVID-19 epidemic. It drew nearly 26,000 domestic and foreign enterprises, with 1.8 million products exhibited.
The major innovative event has demonstrated China's resolve to expand opening-up and jointly ensure the security of international industrial and supply chains. It has also explored a new path in international trade development and promoted win-win cooperation.
KEEPING FOREIGN TRADE STABLE
Despite going virtual, the country's oldest and largest trade fair still brought a considerable number of orders to domestic exhibitors as overseas buyers remain optimistic about "Made in China."
"Due to the impact of the pandemic, many consumers in Europe and the United States had to stay at home. This increased our air conditioner sales despite downward economic pressure," said Li Xueliang, with Jiangmen POSI Refrigeration Appliance Co. Ltd., a company in Jiangmen City, Guangdong.
According to Li, European buyers were interested in buying about 2 million U.S. dollars worth of the company's mobile air conditioners during the trade event.
As of Monday, Guangzhou Dayun Motorcycle Co. Ltd., one of the exhibitors, had received more than 30 intent orders from customers in 18 countries along the Belt and Road (B&R).
Liu Junqiang, deputy general manager of Guangzhou Dayun, said the company is increasing its focus on the B&R market, with sales to the B&R market continuing to grow and accounting for more than 60 percent of the total.
"The event held amid the pandemic will surely boost confidence in the recovery of global trade. Apart from the new technology, new products and new marketing at the online fair, it presents new opportunities for us," said Wu Peiyuan, general manager of the international trade department of the company.
China's trade with countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) saw steady growth in the first five months, with the volume up by 4.2 percent year on year to 1.7 trillion yuan (about 241 billion U.S. dollars), accounting for 14.7 percent of China's total foreign trade, customs data showed.
Having become China's largest trading partner this year, ASEAN also continued its buying enthusiasm at the Canton Fair.
Cai Bin, manager of the business department of a Chinese medicine company, based in southwest China's Chengdu City, has been keeping in close contact with many old customers at the fair.
"So far, the deliveries are on the way to our clients in Thailand and Singapore, and we're stocking up for those from Malaysia," he said.
According to Cai, their transaction volume stayed the same as that of previous fairs on the whole.
"As far as the current market environment is concerned, it is not easy for foreign trade enterprises to maintain their customer numbers and market shares," Cai said.
"The other role of the online exhibition is that the presence of enterprises on the official website means that they have resumed operations, which will reassure their old customers," he added.
SHARING CHINESE MARKET OPPORTUNITIES
The online Canton Fair has created an excellent platform for overseas enterprises to tap into the Chinese market.
Gao Shiwang, director of the industry development department of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, said that with the epidemic largely under control, the country is stepping up efforts to ensure the security of the industrial chain, which is an important reason for international buyers to pay attention to the Canton Fair.
Litans International Corp., a Canada-based agricultural products company, has participated in the global trade event since 2012. It brought products such as ice wine and maple syrup this time.
"After decades of reform and opening-up, China has grown into a huge consumer market for imported food. The younger generation of consumers have a strong desire for high-quality imported food," said Yuan Li, general manager of the company.
In order to achieve better results at the fair, the company set up a team responsible for online communication, negotiation and follow-up services.
"We feel confident and motivated because we have found new business opportunities for cooperation at the fair, which will help us further explore the market in China," he said.
The Canton Fair continued to set up import exhibitions, where exhibitors and products from B&R countries accounted for 72 percent and 83 percent respectively, according to Li Jinqi, director general of the China Foreign Trade Center.
The vitality of China's consumer market and its strong demand for high-quality imported products also impressed Boy Chua, chairman of Sin Sing Coffee Sdn Bhd in Malaysia.
Chua said that due to the huge potential of the Chinese market, they still have much space for growth. The company showcased 30 products on the Canton Fair's official website, including black and white coffee and white milk tea, as well as malt chocolate drinks, hoping to broaden sales channels in the country.
The company plans to focus on expanding in China this year, and the Canton Fair plays a key role in improving the reputation of their brand and products, added Chua.