At about 10 am in the morning, traffic was gridlocked outside a massive building in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province. Many people were already lining up to enter the building. Inside, people of all nationalities and ethnicities carrying luggage moved around in a hurry.
This busy scene looks just like a bustling international airport. But looking closer, you’ll find out what's really taking place: at stands of various sizes, vendors with calculators and catalogues of products were talking with visitors; visitors occasionally took out their phones to take photos of the products, and some were pushing shopping carts full of samples.
This is an everyday picture during the China Import and Export Fair, commonly know as the Canton Fair. The second session of the 134th Canton Fair, which focuses on showcasing products such as home appliances, gifts and decorations and building materials and furniture, officially kicked off on Monday and is scheduled to conclude today.
The autumn session of this year’s Canton Fair has set multiple records. The total exhibition area has expanded to 1.55 million square meters, an increase of 50,000 square meters compared with the previous session. There are 74,000 booths, with 28,533 exhibiting companies.
More than 9,600 businesses, including over 200 exhibitors from nearly 30 countries and regions participated in the event in-person, setting a new record for the number of on-site exhibitors, according to China Foreign Trade Centre, the organizer of Canton Fair.
As of Thursday, some 155,000 overseas buyers from 214 countries and regions have attended the event, an increase of more than 50 percent compared with the same phase of the last session of the fair.
Embracing opportunities from the BRI
One of the biggest highlights of the 134th Canton Fair is the active participation of BRI partner countries and regions, with the proportion of relevant attendees increasing from 50.4 percent to 58.1 percent over the past decade.
Export deals worth 12.33 billion U.S. dollars were signed offline during the first phase of the fair, which concluded on Oct. 19, with more than half of the export deals from BRI partner countries, an official of the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
The Canton Fair has become an important platform for companies to explore the Belt and Road markets.
As one of the first Chinese manufacturers to "go global," Chinese home appliances manufacturer Galanz Group has supplied products and services to nearly 200 countries and regions, with about a third of export sales coming from BRI partner countries.
Russia is one of the most populous markets for Galanz, and was among its earliest. By leveraging a full industrial chain and local-team operations, Galanz has increased its microwave oven, dishwasher, refrigerator and other home appliance market shares in the Russian market.
As early as 2004, Orbus & Teksan, a company specializing in portable energy storage systems in Türkiye, began participating in the Canton Fair and has now grown to become the largest of its kind in Türkiye.
Türkiye has organized 125 companies to participate, covering industries such as consumer electronics, hardware tools, building materials, furniture, household items and food.
With the platforms brought by the Canton Fair, many BRI partner countries have purchased high-quality and cost-effective products from China and opened sales channels for their own specialty products in the country, achieving win-win results.
Epitome of China’s high-quality growth
More than just growth in orders, many at the Canton Fair are also seeing major shift in the trend of new products that are much more environmentally friendly and cost effective thanks to continuous innovation.
Electric passenger vehicles, lithium batteries and solar cells have become the new business signature for China's foreign trade exports.
In recent years, as green and low-carbon have become a trend worldwide, the Chinese new energy industry has ushered in huge market dividends. According to statistics, nearly 90 percent of the global photovoltaic industry's production capacity is in China. Last year, China's photovoltaic product export scale exceeded 50 billion US dollars for the first time, a year-on-year increase of 80.3 percent.
Participating companies of this edition of the Canton Fair have uploaded about 430,000 green and low-carbon products and about 110,000 intelligent products, demonstrating the vigorous development of the Canton Fair and the continuous optimization of China's foreign trade structure.
China’s exports of electric vehicles, lithium batteries and solar cells surged 41.7 percent in the first three quarters of 2023 from a year earlier to 99 billion yuan, according to the General Administration of Customs. This accounted for 4.5 percent of the country’s total exports, up 1.3 percentage point from a year ago.
Exports of mechanical and electrical products grew by 3.3 percent year-on-year to 10.26 trillion yuan, far exceeding the 3.07 trillion yuan in exports of labor-intensive products. Most notably, China's exports of cars and auto parts surged by 48.2 percent year-on-year, customs data showed.
The upgrade of typical export products from clothing, furniture and home appliances to electric passenger vehicles, lithium batteries and solar cells reflects the fast transformation and upgrading of China's advanced manufacturing and energy industries.
The 67-year-old Canton Fair, China's largest biannual trade fair, has become a reliable barometer of China's foreign trade. It has played a key role in advancing China's foreign trade and the economic and trade exchanges between China and the rest of the world. The history of Canton Fair is an epitome of the country's rapid growth.
Executive Editor: Sonia YU
Editor: LI Yanxia
Host: Stephanie LI
Writer: Stephanie LI
Sound Editor: Stephanie LI
Graphic Designer: ZHENG Wenjing, LIAO Yuanni
Produced by 21st Century Business Herald Dept. of Overseas News.
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