Beijing seeks approval for annual service trade fair

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 March, 2009, 12:00am

The Beijing municipal government is lobbying the central government to support its plan to organise an annual fair for service industries that could rival the internationally renowned Canton Fair, according to the head of the capital's economic planner.

Zhang Gong, director of the Beijing Development and Reform Commission, said: 'Beijing has long been mulling such a service fair and has drafted a plan. We are actively seeking approval from the central government, which has also expressed support.'

He did not provide details of the plan, such as sectors involved and the proposed scale and timing of the first fair.

The 52-year-old Canton Fair provides a platform for merchandise buyers and sellers to meet, display products, arrange factory visits and negotiate orders. It is an important event for traders to source products in southern China, home to a large part of the country's light industry.

The Beijing plan highlights the nation's desire to diversify its economy away from manufacturing and expand its service sector.

Mr Zhang said the value of merchandise output globally was roughly four times that of services, compared to the mainland's nine times. However, the capital's figure was more in line with the global trend.

'By organising an international service trade fair, we could promote the development of our outsourcing, tourism, exhibition and finance industries,' he said.

Meanwhile, the capital also hopes to establish a global financial information company that may one day rival international agencies such as Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.

'Our nation should set up such a company so as to increase our influence on the world stage,' said Mr Zhang, adding that Xinhua News Agency was drawing up proposals.

He said financial news was a lucrative business, noting that 80 per cent of Thomson Reuters' revenue was from providing financial data and news.