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Reform and opening up provides impetus to Canton Fair’s development

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The Press Conference for the opening of the 124th session of China Import and Export Fair was held in Canton Fair Complex in the morning of Oct 14th. Mr. Xu Bing, spokesperson of the Canton Fair, Deputy Director General of China Foreign Trade Centre, introduced Canton Fair’s development since reform and opening up and its contribution to reform and opening up.

Xu Bing introduced that Canton Fair is the window, epitome and symbol of China’s opening up. Since its establishment in 1957, especially in the 40 years of reform and opening up, Canton Fair has gone through 4 stages, namely inauguration, exploration, thriving and quality development, with China’s accession to the WTO and opening of the 18th CPC National Congress as the indicators. In different stages, we’ve focused on the 3 core missions: breaking the embargo and earning foreign exchange, building a big trading nation and building a strong trade nation in advance; stuck to the new development concepts, implemented “Belt & Road” initiative and “large economy and trade”, “market diversification”, “winning by quality” and “trade rejuvenation by science and technology” strategies and made contributions for Made-in-China, Chinese companies and brands to go global, to expand export and import, to China’s transformation into a big trading nation and building a strong trading nation, to China’s opening up and the development of open world economy.

Xu said that reform and opening up has provided great impetus for Canton Fair’s development. Canton Fair’s thriving and growing are attributed to reform and opening up. In 1978, the 3rd planery session of the CPC Party Committee made the decision to conduct this strategy. Canton Fair was given a strong vitality thanks to reform and opening up and underwent its thriving development based on mentality emancipation, exploration and practice.

Diversified exhibitors. Before the reform and opening up, China’s foreign trade operation was highly concentrated. The 1st Canton Fair was participated by 13 professional foreign trade corporations. Reform and opening up broke the industrial monopoly; manufacturers, foreign-funded enterprises and other emerging companies contributed to the pattern of “large economy and trade”. To adapt to the diversified exhibitors, we changed our system of exhibition organization for many times and shifted from the monopoly of SOEs to a gathering of SOEs, foreign-funded, collective and private companies in terms of exhibitor mix. After joining the WTO, China’s foreign trade experienced rapid development. Canton Fair was then divided into different sections and phases to attract more exhibitors; companies of different categories and ownership were able to explore the international market. Currently, private companies and manufacturers account for 79.32% and 49.27% of all Canton Fair exhibitors, becoming the main participants already.

Improved product structure. Since reform and opening up, China grasped the opportunity of global industrial transfer, developed a complete manufacturing system and became a giant of manufacturing in the world. Relying on China’s strong foundation of manufacturing industry and combing foreign trade development strategy, we kept improving the exhibitor qualification standards and sections, attracted industrial leaders and high-tech products to improve the quality and added value of exhibitors and international competitiveness. After 4 decades’ of development, Canton Fair’s export products have been constantly upgraded; primary products have given way to manufactured, smart, branded, tailored and high-level products. In the 43rd Canton fair in 1978, transaction of machinery products take account of only 2.87% of the total; ever since the 86th session in 1999, machinery products have topped product transactions. In the 123rd Canton Fair, the transaction volume has risen to 15.62 billion USD, or 41.7% of the total. The transaction proportion of the brand zone increased from 18% in the 95th session to 33.5% of the 123rd session.

More diversified export market. To improve resilience to market risks and promote sustainable development of China’s foreign trade, China proposed the market diversification strategy in 1990. Exploration of emerging markets was encouraged while traditional markets should be consolidated. We at the Canton Fair have implemented the diversification strategy and built a marketing network across the world; expanded the buyer origin from Asia mainly to five continents in the world and improved the quality and international presence of buyers. In the 43rd Canton Fair in 1978, 82.81% of all 17547 buyers from 98 countries and regions are Asian buyers mainly from Hong Kong and Macau; while  203346 buyers from 214 countries and regions attended the 123rd session, a ten hold increase. The share of Asian buyers has dropped to 55.37% and that of American and European buyers risen from 14.2% to 33.57%. We’ve also focused on the Belt & Road markets, buyers from countries along the route accounted for 44.5%. By expanding and diversifying buyer origin, Canton Fair has contributed to China’s market diversification.

Great change in the Canton Fair function. Since the 101st session, Canton Fair was renamed China Import and Export Fair, transforming from a single export-oriented platform to a two-way trading platform. In recent years, we’ve held product design series activities, organized CF Awards, hosted high-level conferences and forums to enrich Canton Fair’s functions. Today Canton Fair has become a multi-functional comprehensive trading platform that is based on trade and transaction and also covers networking, industrial exchange, trade match-making, design and trend, new product release and branding.

Xu said that since Canton Fair’s establishment we have adhered to the principle of “be true to the mission, be bold in opening up, be persistent in the tasks and be innovative in reform” and made crucial contribution to China’s reform and opening up.

Open New China’s door for international exchange. After establishment of New China, western countries conducted “economic lockdown” and “trade embargo” to China. To meet the demands of imported materials, equipment and technology for economic growth, to product friendly exchange between China and rest of the world, Chinese government inaugurated Canton Fair in Guangzhou next to Hong Kong in 1957. The birth of Canton Fair is a great endeavor: it broke the embargo and opened China’s doors to communicate with the world. Since then, Canton Fair played as a window for the world to know China and vice versa. The remarkable achievements Canton Fair has made since reform and opening up showed that this path has become wider and wider.

Serve China’s all-round opening up. Canton Fair has always stuck to opening up and win-win cooperation, and played the role of an all-round platform for opening up. Firstly, promote Made-in-China, Chinese companies and brands to go global. Canton Fair is an important channel for Chinese products and companies to development the global market; many of their overseas orders and customers come directly or indirectly from the fair, especially for companies in the inlands and central and western China. Canton Fair has helped these companies to go global. Secondly increase import and global trade growth. To expand import and further open Chinese market to the world, Canton Fair established the International Pavilion since the 101st session and invited overseas exhibiting companies. At present, more than 12000 companies /times from over 100 countries have participated. Canton Fair has facilitated overseas companies to explore China’s huge consumer market and sell their products to the world, promoted a more balanced development of China’s foreign trade and global trade growth, thus becoming an all-round platform to sell to and buy from the globe. Thirdly, advance the development of regional open economy. Canton Fair contributed to the development of local economy by 1:13.6, an indicator much higher than other world-famous exhibitions. Meanwhile, Canton Fair supported the participation of regional industrial cluster and foreign trade upgrading bases and provided trade match-making activities to improve international competitiveness of local feature industries. Fourthly, drive the coordinated development of trade in cargo and trade in service. Canton Fair Product Design and Trade Promotion Center was initiated in the 109th session in 2011, providing a platform to connect professional design facilities, exhibitors and buyers on product design and development and contributing to the integration of trade in cargo and trade in service. Fifthly build a most international trading platform in the world. Canton Fair is renowned as “A Bond of friendship, A Bridge for Trade”; it has trade connections with 217 countries and regions in the world. Since its establishment Canton Fair was attended by 8.42 million buyers /times on an accumulative basis. Attendees from home and abroad exchange information, conduct negotiation and trade, renew friendship, writing many unforgettable stories here at the Canton Fair. Sixthly serve the “Belt & Road” initiative. Canton Fair is active in cooperation with Belt & Road countries and established partnership with relative industrial and business organization in countries along the route. Buyers from these countries account for more than 44% of the total, closing transactions of over 30% of the total. Through the above measures of reform and opening up, Canton Fair has served companies at home and abroad and made great contributions to China’s further opening up, the development of open Chinese economy and world economy.

Promote China to become a big trading nation in the world. Since its establishment, Canton Fair has witnessed an export transaction volume of 1.3 trillion USD on an accumulative base. In its history, the proportion of Canton Fair’s transaction to China’s export as a whole reached as high as 50%; in recent years this number has reached 30 billion USD per session. Canton Fair has always been an important channel for SMEs to find overseas customers and explore international market and an engine for foreign trade oriented enterprises to transform and upgrade and become stronger. According to our survey, more than 20% of Canton Fair exhibitors reflect that their transaction here account for 50% of their annual export. Customers met at the Canton Fair also led to transaction after the show; exhibitors’ post-show transaction volume account for about 80% of all their Canton Fair transactions with an increasing trend over the years. As the first and foremost platform for foreign trade promotion in China, Canton Fair has made important contributions to the frog leap development of China’s foreign trade and China’s becoming the largest trading nation.

Promote the building of a strong trading nation. Canton Fair has been supporting strong and quality exhibitors, optimizing exhibition sections, exhibitors and products, attracting new exhibitors and encouraging the participation of exhibitors with “self-owned IPR, brand and self-marketing; high technological content, high added value and high return” to develop competitive advantages of foreign trade. To implement “winning by quality” strategy, brand zone was set up for brand companies. Through design activities, CF Awards, Canton Fair has guided Chinese enterprises to launch new products and brands and enhanced Chinese design, creation and brand marketing. Many Chinese brands have gone global through Canton Fair; steps have been taken to build China into a strong trading nation.

A key window to showcase China’s IPR protection. Canton Fair is the earliest exhibition to conduct IPR protection; by improving organizations and institutions, regulations and enforcement, Canton Fair has put in place a complete IP dispute settlement mechanism to fight alleged infringement during exhibition. Those who infringe will bear a high price; whole who innovate will be bold to create. The State Council issued Special Campaign for the Protection of IPR on August of 2004, requesting that Canton Fair’s experiences should be summarized and promulgated in exhibitions. Today Canton Fair has become a key window to showcase IPR protection by the Chinese’s government; and it was regarded as national copyright protection demonstration base for exhibitions. Many world famous companies spoke highly of Canton Fair’s achievements in IPR protection. Canton Fair highly values trade dispute settlement and establishes an effective system to handle such cases. Thousands of trade dispute complaints have been dealt with, involving plaintiff and defendant from over 100 countries and regions; 70% of all cases were successfully mediated. Canton Fair’s effective IPR protection and trade dispute settlement enhanced the awareness of Chinese enterprises of IPR protection, established a sound image of safeguarding fair trade, showcased Chinese government’s position of innovation encouragement and IPR protection and boosted confidence of the world to develop trade relations with China.

President Xi pointed out that China’s doors will not close but only open wider. As an all-round platform for opening up, Canton Fair has a new mission for the new era: strive to build China into a strong trading nation in advance. Canton Fair will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and implement the spirit of the 19th CPC Congress and the instructions of President Xi’s congratulatory letter. We will focus on the goal of becoming a strong economic and trading nation in advance, and implement new development concept. According to the principle of quality development of the Canton Fair, we will continue to improve Canton Fair’s specialization, market-orientation, information technology application and international development, make better use of domestic and international markets and resources, support enterprise to explore market and strengthen brands, cultivate new advantages in foreign trade competition and break new ground in the pattern of all-round opening up.

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