Issue: Mar 2011


Canton Fair brings in effective buyers in downturn



by Alan Tran

The 109th session of the China Import and Export Fair, which is known as the Canton Fair, will start on April 15th 2011. Being held biannually in Guangzhou every spring and autumn, the event has a history of 53 years ( The first Canton Fair was held in 1957). The Canton Fair prides itself as being the largest exhibition in China and covers a gamut of industries including vehicles and the vehicle spare parts sector.
On November 4th 2010, the 108th Session of the Canton Fair concluded – this event attracted 200,612 overseas buyers from 208 countries and regions around the world. Among them, the number of buyers from the European Union, the United States significantly increased. Compared with last year, the greatest increase comes from Europe with a total of 41,735 buyers attending the fair, an increase of up to 22.88%; 109,536 buyers from Asia, 28,879 from America attend the Fair with a slight decline about 7.85% and 1.61% respectively; the buyer attendance from Oceania and Africa witnesses a double-digit decline, namely 6,180 and 14,282 people respectively, a decrease of 11.25% and 12.64%. 

Apart from the exhibition, the Canton Fair has an 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. The 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, etc. 

“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 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.
The shows organizers say that during the Canton Fair, they actively implement the National Intellectual Property Rights Strategy and fully implement measures for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights during Exhibitions to strengthen the efforts to fight against infringement of intellectual property right and selling of counterfeit and shoddy goods, and to promote the successful experience of intellectual property right protection at the Canton Fair. 

“The Ministry of Commerce successful holds the Canton Fair IPR protection meeting which enhances the companies’ awareness of IPR protection. 703 complaints of alleged infringement are received this session. 884 enterprises are complained, with 544 of them identified suspected of infringement, which maintains the same level as the last session, but the amount of complaints regarding copyright and alleged copyright infringement decreases by 50%. To be noted, the number of successfully defended companies in patent cases increases by 62%, reflecting that the awareness of IPR protection among foreign trade enterprises has enhanced, and they can flexibly use the National laws, regulations, Canton Fair IPR protection regulations and other legal means to protect their own legitimate rights and interests,” say the Canton Fair’s organizers. 

The 108th session of the Canton Fair saw a slight decrease in buyer attendance compared to the 107th session held mid-2010. “200,612 overseas buyers from 208 countries and regions around the world attended the 108th Canton Fair, basically the same with 107th Canton Fair with only 2.38% decrease, however an increase of 5.7% over the same period last year. The numbers of buyers among the top five countries are: Hong Kong SAR with 26,935, the United States with 11,725, 8,737 from Taiwan Province, 6,829 from Iran and 6,598 from Russia. Among the total buyers, the number of regular buyers reached 135,403, accounting for 67.5% of the total; the number of new buyers reaches 65,209, accounting for 32.5% of the total overseas buyers,” pointed out Liu Jianjun, Vice Secretary General and Spokesman of the Canton Fair. 

According to Liu Jianjun’s analysis, compared with the figures before the financial crisis, it’s rare that the buyer attendance drops slightly while business turnover registers a slight increase. It shows the proportion of effective buyers relatively increased in the 108th session. Market differentiation also shows that different countries have different conditions in the process of recovery of domestic markets, the foundation of world economic recovery has 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 recent sessions of the Canton Fair have seen improvements in facilities such as more capacity in the international pavilion. There was a newly established Brand Zone and where a number of high-technology products and energy saving exhibits from European and American companies were showcased. In the vehicle spare parts section of the Canton Fair, products such as engines, spare parts, cooling, lubricants, transmission parts, steering and brake parts, vehicle dashboard and parts, automotive electric equipment and parts were highlighted.


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