Issue: Jan 2011


Canton Fair brings in effective buyers in downturn



by Alan Tran

The 109th session of the China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, will start on April 15, 2011. The first phase will be held from April 15 to19 and the second phase from May 1 to 5, 2011. 

The Canton Fair is held biannually in Guangzhou, China, every spring and autumn. The first Canton Fair was held 53 years ago in 1957 and has grown to be the largest exhibition in China covering a gamut of industries, including the vehicle spare parts sector. The Canton Fair acts as a facilitator between international and Chinese businesses at many levels including economic and technical co-operations and exchanges, commodity inspection, insurance, transportation, advertising, consultation, and more.



The 108th Session of the Canton Fair in November 2010 attracted 200,612 overseas buyers from 208 countries and regions around the world. The number of buyers from the European Union and the United States significantly increased from the previous year, with European visitors increasing by 23% to a total of 41,735 buyers. Declines in numbers were seen in Asian buyers (109,536 down 7.8%), the Americas (28,879 down 1.61%), Oceania (6,180 down 11.25%) and Africa (14,282 down 12.64%).
“The 108th session’s buyers were mostly from Hong Kong SAR (26,935), the United States (11,725), Taiwan Province (8,737), Iran (6,829) and Russia (6,598). Among the total buyers, the number of repeat buyers reached 135,403, accounting for 67.5% of the total. The number of new buyers reached 65,209, accounting for 32.5% of the total overseas buyers,” says Liu Jianjun, vice secretary-general and spokesperson of the Canton Fair.

According to Liu Jianjun’s analysis, despite the drop in buyer attendance, business turnover registered a slight increase, showing that the proportion of effective buyers relatively increased in the 108th session. Market differentiation also shows that different countries have experienced different conditions in the recovery of domestic markets. The foundation of world economic recovery has, therefore, not been consolidated and the future remains uncertain. Liu Jianjun says that with the impact of the rising price of raw materials and appreciation of RMB, the pressure of bargaining for export enterprises increases greatly.

The fairs’ organizers strongly implement measures for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) during exhibitions to fight the selling of counterfeit and shoddy goods. The Ministry of Commerce holds the Canton Fair IPR protection meeting which enhances the companies’ awareness of IPR protection. Of 884 complaints in the last session, 544 of them were identified as suspected cases of infringement. This is the same level as the previous session, although the amount of complaints regarding copyright and alleged copyright infringement decreased by 50%. 

“Notably, the number of successfully defended companies in patent cases increased by 62%, reflecting that the awareness of IPR protection among foreign trade enterprises has enhanced, and they can reliably use the national laws, Canton Fair IPR protection regulations and other legal means to protect their legitimate rights and interests,” say the Canton Fair’s organizers.

The recent sessions of the Canton Fair have seen improvements in facilities, such as an increased capacity in the international pavilion. A newly established Brand Zone showcased a number of high-technology products and energy saving exhibits from European and American companies. In the vehicle spare parts section, products such as engines, cooling, lubricants, transmission parts, steering and brake parts, vehicle dashboard parts, and automotive electric equipment were highlighted. In addition to the physical exhibition of the Canton Fair is the online version – the Canton Fair Online. Both the actual as well as the online version of the fair help boost exports as well as imports.

 “At present, the Canton Fair embraces new development opportunities. China Foreign Trade Centre, the organizer of the Canton Fair, will implement the guiding principles of "specialization, marketization, legalization, industrialization, and internationalization" by strengthening its efforts to invite buyers, promote the International Pavilion of the Canton Fair, adjust the organization structure, and improve the Canton Fair’s service. To promote the economic and trade development and cooperation between China and the outside world, we will foster a better environment and create more business opportunities to develop the Canton Fair to be a world class exhibition,” said Wang Zhiping, secretary-general of the China Import and Export Fair in a press release.


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