Importers' fair becomes exporters' selling event
Ivan Zhai in Guangzhou
Importers hoping to sell to mainland buyers at the inaugural China Import and Export Fair, which was launched on Sunday to help shrink the mainland's trade surplus, find themselves doing export business instead.
Some Hong Kong-based manufacturing companies said the overall visitor flow rate was good but most of the domestic buyers were only interested in swapping business cards than placing orders.
'Maybe they just like to have a look at these CD storages, but not to buy,' said Edmond Chin, a sales executive at Kwok's Brother Manufacturing.
He said that 70 per cent of the buyers visiting the stand were foreigners and those from Turkey, Egypt and other Middle East countries asked for product samples and negotiated prices.
Anne Chan, a procurement manager of a US company, said she had planned to find domestic agents and partners at the fair but the targeted clients of her firm's three-dimensional imaging glasses had so far not appeared.
The fair organiser had a difficult time inviting enough domestic buyers and, without them, it would still be only for exports as in the past, she said.
'I think they need to have different areas for different import industries and more professional buyers should be invited in the future,' Ms Chan said.
Fair officials said they welcomed the exhibitors' suggestions and thought that the limited area was the main cause of complaints.
The 314 exhibitors from nine industries in 36 countries and regions got 629 booths, or 10,400 square metres, or only 1.68 per cent of the total area of the 101st session of the Canton Fair, as the biannual fair is known.
Fair spokesman Xu Bing said the size of the import exhibition would be expanded, after which the organiser could arrange different industries more professionally. 'The plan for the 102nd fair is not determined yet, but the import section will definitely be increased,' he said.