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No Fun at the Fair (2)

By Liu Xinlian (Beijing Review)

13:34, May 28, 2012

Emerging markets

While the weak demand in Western markets plagued by the debt crisis caused a sharp decline in orders, the fair saw an increase of orders from emerging markets.

Export deals with emerging economies, including India, Brazil, Russia and South Africa, rose 4.1 percent and those with African countries grew 13.5 percent, according to Liu.

Wang Biao, a salesman of Anhui Light Industry International Co. Ltd., said his company saw a sharp decline of European and U.S. clients, especially those from Western Europe. But the shortfall has been filled by buyers from Africa, the Middle East, South America and Russia.

What impressed Wang most was the strong demand for his products—building and decoration materials—from South American buyers.

"Building machines and materials are China's most advantageous products," said Pan Jianyue, Chief Operation Officer of GlobalMarket, an international e-commerce platform.

The 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Brazil will greatly propel its economic growth and create export opportunities for China, said Pan.

According to a report released by GlobalMarket, construction of a large number of event venues in Brazil will boost demand for building materials.

Upon their arrival at the Canton Fair on April 17, Brazil's top three construction contractors declared their purchasing volume of more than $3 billion. Their sourcing plan ranged from lighting, hardware and tool, building materials to home appliance.

"We used to rely heavily on imports from Europe. Now we find that Chinese products have very reasonable prices and are of good quality. They have sold well in Bolivia," Ronald Montario, Commercial Manager of Becar Repuestos, told China Daily. The company is one of the biggest motorbike parts retailers and imports almost all of its high-end motor parts from China.

Ronald Montario came to the fair with more than 80 Bolivian buyers with the organization of the Bolivia-China Business Chamber.

Upgrades underway

Faced with shrinking external demand and diminishing international competitiveness, upgrading and brand-building are necessary for Chinese exporters, especially those mainly engaged in low-end processing. It's crucial for them to develop their own brands and invest more in self-innovation.

"Providing high-end products catering to the EU market is the key to stabilizing export growth," Liu said.

Chinese manufacturers who have already brought new and innovative products with high added value have seen rising popularity among European buyers, Liu said.

According to Liu, although the number of booths for big-brand exporters only accounted for 18.8 percent of the total, its transaction volume accounted for more than 30 percent. The average transaction volume for big-brand exporters was $8.93 million, about 5.7 times more than non-brand exhibitors.

Lin Hang, Managing Director of Ningbo Guangbo Import & Export Co. was confident in his business at the fair even though the average price of his products on display was 30 percent higher than products of his competitors.

"We invest in product design and hire American designers to design our products according to the latest fashion trends and clients' taste. I am sure our design can attract more buyers," Lin said.

"The manufacturing industry in Ningbo (of Zhejiang Province) is advancing to the higher end of the product spectrum," said Ding Haibin, Deputy Chief of Ningbo Municipal Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau. During the upgrading process, more Ningbo enterprises began to have their own design and development teams.

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