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Import, export fair to leverage high-tech advantage

By WANG KEJU in Beijing and QIU QUANLIN in Guangzhou  | | Updated: 2024-04-15 22:40
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A staff member of an enterprise demonstrates the use of an intelligent bionic hand to a visitor on Monday at the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. [Photo by Feng Yongbin / China Daily]

With the greater presence of high-tech enterprises, China's largest trade expo will enable participants this year to tap into new business opportunities in emerging sectors and inject much-needed energy into sluggish global trade, said experts and executives.

The China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, kicked off its 135th edition on Monday in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and is scheduled to run through May 5.

The country's major trade event continues to embrace digital technology and intelligent manufacturing, with nearly 3,600 participating companies in this field showcasing more than 90,000 intelligent products, such as artificial intelligence-powered translator devices and automated guided vehicles.

The increasing focus on high-tech products and technological advancements at the trade fair serves as evidence of China's transformation from a labor-intensive manufacturing powerhouse to a major technology-driven industry player, said Bai Ming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Amid a challenging external environment, products with high-tech content are gaining a competitive edge and have emerged as the key to breaking through the current global slump in foreign trade, Bai added.

With exhibition venues covering 1.55 million square meters, this year's event features around 28,600 companies participating in the export section, including more than 4,300 first-timers. In addition, 680 companies will participate in the import section.

Bekar Mikaberidze, founder of the Belt and Road Georgian Business House, said the fair has become synonymous with discovering fresh prospects and exploring untapped markets. He has participated in the event for more than a decade.

With each visit to the fair, attendees are able to witness the emergence of new trends and technologies driving industry development, and identify potential investment or collaboration prospects, Mikaberidze said.

The trade fair will showcase a wide range of new products, with the number expected to top 1 million. Among these will be more than 450,000 environmentally friendly products and more than 250,000 offerings involving indigenous intellectual property rights.

With an array of improved products, Bella Intelligent Information Technology Co, a Guangzhou-based massage-products manufacturer, is focused on making the most of the Canton Fair, at which 140,000 overseas buyers from 215 countries and regions had signed up as of Saturday for broader business partnerships.

The fair has proved to be an invaluable platform for launching new ventures, expanding market reach and staying ahead of the competition, said Zeng Zhitao, the company's chairman.

The fair comes as international trade is grappling with a period of sluggishness and uncertainty. Global trade, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, saw a 3 percent contraction, roughly equaling $1 trillion, in 2023.

Although the World Trade Organization said earlier this month that it expected global trade volume to increase 2.6 percent in 2024, it warned that geopolitical tensions continue to pose a significant risk to its outlook, as signs of trade fragmentation rise.

Christophe Benard, general manager of Schneider Consumer Asia, said that China's commitment to openness, innovation and development will continue to drive opportunities and prosperity despite global economic uncertainties.

Data released by the General Administration of Customs showed that the country's foreign trade in goods climbed 5 percent year-on-year to 10.17 trillion yuan ($1.4 trillion) in the first quarter.

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