Despite mainland authorities' wish to attract foreign investment with its annual China Hi-Tech Fair, few foreigners showed up last weekend and many of the displays were aimed at a local audience. And by the official presence, it appears the fair is losing its sheen. Officiating at this year's event, Shenzhen mayor Yu Youjun read a letter from State Councillor Wu Yi praising the event as a forum for ideas, education and economic exchange. He was followed by Zhou Guangzhao, vice-chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, who said science and technology had 'cutting-edge productivity which changes and enriches one's life in a profound way'. Mr Zhou said the fair helped China prepare for globalisation. The fair's inaugural session in 1999 was opened by Premier Zhu Rongji and promoted as an event of national significance. The following year it was opened by Vice-Premier and Politburo member Wu Bangguo, while last year, organisers could only muster State Councillor Mr Wu at the opening ceremony. Many exhibitors were this year clearly looking to the public rather than trade visitors. Beijing-based Hanwang Technology was promoting its award-winning e-phone and name-card scanner. The products support both traditional and simplified Chinese. Shenzhen Hanwang Technology general manager Zhao Wei said the firm had not yet decided whether to support English in future. 'We are not planning to export our products at the moment. We launched the e-phone last year and have sold about 10,000 units. 'We are now focusing on consolidating our market share within China and aim to sell up to 100,000 units by the end of 2003.' Consumer electronics giant Konka Group displayed what it claimed was the country's first tablet PC. Its TPC 880 runs on a VIA Eden 533 CPU, which the company said was equivalent to a 600MHz Pentium III. It has a 15-gigabyte hard disk and 128 megabytes of RAM, two USB ports and one PC Card slot. The 12,800 yuan (about HK$12,000) tablet also features an 8.4-inch TFT 800 x 600 liquid crystal display and weighs 1.36kg. Konka also unveiled its next generation tablet PC, the TPC 888. It runs on a 206MHz Intel StrongARM CPU and Microsoft's Windows CE .Net operating system. It has 64MB of SDram and a 32MB flash memory. It comes with an 8.4-inch LCD and has USB, PC Card and Compact Flash slots. It will be priced between 5,000 yuan and 6,000 yuan when it comes available early next year. A Konka official said the TPC 880 was aimed at domestic enterprises and state organisations. A hospital in Hebei province had bought 160 units. 'We believe there will be individual buyers soon as people have an increasing understanding of tablet PCs,' he said. The products would be launched in Hong Kong soon, but he would not comment on the devices' potential for export. 'They are new products. We want to test the market within the country first,' he said. The fair also featured attractive models in booths demonstrating code division multiple access (CDMA) handsets from TCL, Haier, Legend and Hisense. Qingdao-based Hisense is a relative newcomer to the handset market - previously concentrating on white goods. It also makes televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators, computers and DVD players. Product design manager Fang Li-tao said: 'Although the CDMA network is not too mature in China right now and the network quality is often affected by human factors, we are confident CDMA will gain more popularity. That's why we make only the CDMA phones.' The Shanghai A-share company has already launched three CDMA handsets and sold almost 200,000 units. It plans to introduce three more models and increase sales to 400,000 units this year and then to a million next year. 'We now have a CDMA phone market share of 7 per cent to 10 per cent. We believe we will be getting close to 20 per cent next year,' Mr Fang said. China Unicom, the country's biggest CDMA mobile operator, added 435,000 new CDMA users in August, bringing the total to 1.69 million. It is aiming at winning 4.5 million CDMA users by year-end in the 12 provinces in which it operates. People at the exhibition were also drawn to a number of plasma television displays. SAST Electronics unveiled what it claimed was the world's-largest plasma television, which has a 61-inch screen and costs 198,000 yuan. An official said its previous 42-inch and 50-inch models attracted both enterprise and individual customers. 'We have customers who bought four 42-inch or 50-inch plasma TVs at one time and installed them in different rooms of their homes. 'They have a huge potential in big cities such as Shenzhen and Beijing,' she said.