Guangdong / Business

Innovation helps firms win rewards, buck downtrend in exports

By Qiu Quanlin In Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2015-05-06 07:33

Chinese exporters with innovative brands and competitive products managed to buck the downtrend and win sizable orders from overseas firms at the 117th China Import and Export Fair, which ended on Tuesday in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.

Transactions during the bi-annual event, widely known as the Canton Fair, and usually seen as a barometer of China's foreign trade, fell 9.64 percent year-on-year to $28.05 billion, the event organizers said on Tuesday.

"Due to the sluggish demand from overseas markets, many Chinese exporters have realized that the only way to improve competitiveness and get overseas orders is through innovation and advanced technology," said Liu Jianjun, spokesman for the fair.

The overall decline in exports was largely due to weak external demand and the slow recovery in the European Union, Liu said.

"Exporters with self-developed brands and advanced technology have secured more deals thanks to their increased competitiveness in the global market," said Liu, who is also deputy director-general of the China Foreign Trade Center.

According to Liu, companies at the Brand Pavilion of the fair accounted for more than 20 percent of the exhibition stands, contributing a large proportion of the total transactions.

The trend of slower export deals during the fair was well reflected by a sluggish trade performance in the first three months of this year as China's trade volume contracted 6.3 percent year-on-year.

China's exports declined 14.6 percent in March from the same period a year earlier to $144.6 billion, according to the General Administration of Customs.

"Chinese exporters should no longer rely on labor-intensive production and lower added value to tap the international market," said Liu.

According to Liu, the outlook for China's trade performance in the whole year remains uncertain due to lower external demand and strong competition from other countries.

A report on foreign trade, released by the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday, said China's exports face strong competition from other nations, especially strong economies that have begun recalling manufacturing by implementing advanced technologies.

The exports of high-end products will face stiff competition from strong economies including the United States and the European Union, the report said, citing annual exports from the two rising by 9 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively, in the past five years.

However, exporters that have developed their own innovative brands using advanced technology in the Pearl River Delta, a major manufacturing and trade center in South China, concluded more deals with overseas buyers over the past few months.

Xie Bo, founder and general manager of Radiolink Electronic Ltd, a manufacturer of remote controlled unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, said the company's capacity was not enough to cater to demand.

"The capacity shortage was due to dramatically increased demand, especially from overseas markets," said Xie.

The company, based in Shenzhen in Guangdong, sold more than 1 million drones in April, according to Xie. "We are not worried about the overseas market as we have developed cutting-edge technology and built up a reputation overseas," said Xie.

According to Xie, the company has developed a long-term strategy to enter the international market by introducing more advanced facilities and equipment in the aeromodeling electronics industry.


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