Canton Fair

Ray of hope for exporters at fair

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 October, 2009, 12:00am


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Adding to recent signs of an improving mainland economy came glimmers of hope from yesterday's opening of the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, according to the organiser and mainland exporters.

More than 22,000 domestic and overseas enterprises are taking part in the 106th China Import and Export Fair that runs to November 4, according to fair organisers. This is only slight growth, less than 1 per cent or 216 enterprises, compared with the last session in the spring.

However, fair spokesman Chen Zhaoren said that the number of booth applications had improved significantly, with exporters applying for more than 80,000 booths compared to the 55,000 available.

The spring session was less successful, with unfilled booths and some businesses abandoning the event because of poor results.

'We saw glimmers of recovery before the fair,' said Du Tieping, a salesman for trading company Liaoning Mec Group. 'After almost eight months of waiting since October last year - when the global financial crisis broke out - we finally had new overseas orders in July.'

Du said the amount of the orders was still small, but it was a sign clients had sold their stock and needed new supplies.

Du said his company, which has been at the Canton Fair for more than two decades, had its worst session in spring and was looking to the autumn session as a test of the market.

'We are not here to see old friends but new faces,' he said. 'The more new business cards we have, the better the market will be.'

For veteran exhibitors such as Du, the Canton Fair remains the best place to get a sense of the market's future direction.

Yang Xianfeng, a salesman with Zhejiang-based Hard Saw Industry, said that in the first three hours after the opening ceremony yesterday, she had already received seven business cards from potential overseas buyers.

'In the spring, I had only three business cards on the first day,' she said, noting that the climate was still worse than it had been before the financial crisis.

The best-known export fair on the mainland, the Canton Fair has long been regarded as a barometer of the mainland's export sector.