Business / Economy

Canton Fair opens with more focus on SMEs

By Xu Jingxi (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-15 08:25

Canton Fair opens with more focus on SMEs

A gas stove on display at the booth of the Turkish firm Fiesta at the China Import and Export Fair last year. This year's fair will guide small and medium-sized enterprises to innovate and improve their products.ZOU HONG / CHINA DAILY

The spring session of the 119th China Import and Export Fair opens in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Friday, with a focus on small and medium-sized firms.

The show, better known as the Canton Fair, has attracted more than 24,500 exhibitors, almost 90 percent of them Chinese SMEs.

On the eve of its opening, the fair's organizers vowed to help the SMEs innovate and improve their products to meet export standards.

"To guide small and medium-sized enterprises to develop new edge in foreign trade, the Canton Fair has been increasing support for SMEs in recent years, giving priority to firms exhibiting high-tech and environmentally friendly products," said Xu Bing, spokesman for the fair and vice-director of the China Foreign Trade Center, on Thursday.

He listed several key areas including photovoltaics, new energy, smart home appliances, 3-D printing and robotics, and said that the fair would explore more fields at this year's show.

The fair is often viewed as a barometer of the country's foreign trade and the number of overseas participants shows growing international demand for Chinese products.

Xu called the fair a "fast lane" for Chinese SMEs to promote their products as it attracts buyers from more than 210 countries and regions.

"Despite the downward pressure on foreign trade this year, we still see some positive factors that may attract buyers to the Canton Fair," Xu said.

"Besides innovating products, the country is pressing ahead with the Belt and Road Initiative and has signed free trade agreements with several countries," he explained.

Hong Kong, the United States and India were the top three sources of buyers at last year's fair.

Xu predicted a drop in the number of buyers from Hong Kong at the fair this year.

"But we expect an increase in the number of buyers from South Asia, Middle East, South America and Africa compared with the autumn session last year, given the spring session is a busy season for these countries and regions," he said.

"And this year we will strengthen the promotion targeting at buyers and exhibitors from countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative."

The fair runs through May 5.

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