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Global focus on high-tech fair
( 2003-06-30 07:40) (China Daily)

Leading players from around the globe are set to gather at China's biggest high-tech fair this autumn.

"We hope we can ink the same amount of deals as last year or even more, although China was hit seriously by the SARS epidemic,'' said Li Hongzhong, acting mayor Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, and director of the organizing committee of the Fifth China High-Tech Fair (CHTF).

Li told a press conference on Friday that the biggest high-tech fair in China will be held in the special economic zone from October 12 to 17 as scheduled. The confirmation comes as the Chinese mainland was removed from the travel advisory and SARS infected area list by the World Health Organization.

The disease caused transactions at China's biggest trade fair -- the Chinese Export Commodities Fair held in April in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, to nosedive to just US$4.42 billion from the previous year's US$16.85 billion.

Contracts worth US$12.16 billion were sealed at the Fourth China High-Tech Fair last year.

According to Li, nine countries and the European Union have decided to send official delegations to the fair and South Korea, Britain and China's Taiwan Province will organize information-technology delegations.

Almost all leading stock exchanges are also expected to be there to promote overseas listings of Chinese high-tech firms.

Ministers of science from Britain and Egypt and the managing director of Lehman Brothers are scheduled to deliver speeches to the fair's high-tech forum.

This year's exhibition will focus on three areas: Information technology, bio-technology, and mechanical and electrical, new energy and new material technology.

Wei Jianguo, vice-minister of commerce, envisages that large-scale trade fairs such as CHTF will help the country make up losses in foreign trade following the SARS outbreak from April onwards.

Since last year, the high-tech sector has become the second largest export category, one which accounted for a fifth of the country's total US$339 billion exports in 2002.

Figures from the Ministry of Commerce revealed that in the first five months, high-tech exports rose by 55 per cent year-on-year to US$35.75 billion, contributing 23 per cent of China's total exports.

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