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Innovators dodge weak-sales trend at Canton Fair

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)

08:15, November 05, 2012

Despite a big decline in transactions at the China Import and Export Fair, Chinese exporters with innovative technology and an international presence managed to clinch orders from overseas buyers.

Transactions at the biannual event, more commonly known as the Canton Fair, shrank by 9.3 percent, compared with the spring session, down to $32.68 billion amid the global economic downturn, the fair's organizing committee announced on Sunday. Transactions at the fair are regarded as a barometer of China's foreign trade.

Experts on trade said Chinese exporters should go beyond traditional manufacturing and processing to obtain new overseas orders amid the grim world economic outlook.

Despite the fact that the fair suffered a major setback in terms of the volume of transactions and the number of overseas buyers it attracted, Chinese enterprises that have been focusing on technological innovation and brand-building showed strong competitiveness and outperformed unknown companies.

"The average number of orders agreed upon by overseas buyers and Chinese enterprises that have internationally recognized brands was three times that of those secured by non-branding companies," said Liu Jianjun, the fair's spokesman.

Transactions at the brand enterprise exhibition zone of the fair, which concluded on Sunday in Guangdong's capital city Guangzhou, reached $12.5 billion, down 5.4 percent over the spring session, a figure 3.9 percentage points lower than the overall decline.

"Enterprises that displayed more innovative products and stronger research and development values at the fair have clinched better transactions," Liu said.

Also, the number of regular overseas visitors accounted for more than 73 percent of total buyers at the fair, which illustrates that Chinese goods are still favored in the international market, he said.

"For many overseas buyers, the fair is still a strong attraction. Chinese exporters should focus more on building their brands and developing more innovative products to attract traditional buyers," Liu said.

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