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Virtual Canton Fair wraps up over weekend

Updated: Apr 27, 2021 China Daily Print
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Attendees promote products via livestreaming platforms during the 129th session of the China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on April 15. [Photo by LIN GUIYAN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

GUANGZHOU-The 129th session of the China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, concluded online on Saturday.

A total of 26,000 participating companies sponsored more than 2.76 million exhibits, 290,000 more than the previous session.

Xu Bing, spokesman for the event, said this Canton Fair has not only made contributions to unblocking the supply chain for global industry but also injected strong impetus into world trade and the global economic recovery.

More digitalized

This is the third time for the fair to be held online following two virtual events held in June and October last year. Participating companies are now more experienced with using digital methods to attract and retain customers.

The livestreaming of the fair attracted a total of 880,000 viewers, and the average number of viewers of each livestreamed program was up 28.6 percent over the same period of the previous session.

"Compared to the previous online sessions of the fair, we were well prepared this year because we have a better understanding of digital marketing, so the orders we received far exceeded our expectations," said Li Min with Guangzhou Chemicals Import and Export Co Ltd.

Li said that after taking customers' preferences into account, the company has opted to focus on three-minute short video marketing, which has helped the company increase its sales this year by more than 2 million yuan ($308,000).

Deng Moli, business manager at Dapu Fayuan Development Co Ltd, said that by improving livestreaming techniques, virtual exhibition halls and after-sales service, the company has received 30 inquiries from its customers, with the value of intended orders reaching $300,000.

The 10-day online event received 35.38 million visits in all on its official website as participating companies have acclimatized themselves to more virtual modes of doing business.

Fabien Dessaint, a French buyer who has attended the Canton Fair since 2007, praised the event's digital setup as impressive, saying its website is very user-friendly, allowing viewers to see the products from a digital marketing angle.

"After finding the product we need, we can chat with the supplier through instant messaging. We can also schedule an appointment for a video call and have exhibitors livestream their products and production line," Dessaint said.

Mutual benefits

Dessaint said he would have been in Guangzhou for the fair if the COVID-19 pandemic had not broken out.

"We had to postpone our events in China, but we had an increase in turnover, thanks to the import of goods. E-commerce in France has taken advantage of the COVID-19 crisis," he said.

For Simon Borg, a Swedish buyer who has participated in the Canton Fair for years, the event is an important platform for purchasing daily consumer goods to meet the increasing demand.

"Even if the fair is held online, buyers are still able to find the latest products of Chinese companies through its cloud-based exhibitions and livestreaming programs," Borg said, applauding the great business opportunities in China as well as its high-quality goods.

The value of the Canton Fair lies in the innovation of trade cooperation between China and other countries and regions in the world, noted Xu, adding that it facilitates one-stop trade consultation and procurement for companies from home and abroad, and provides trustworthy suppliers and purchasers.

A total of 44 virtual matchmaking and signing ceremony events, or "Promotions in the Cloud", were launched in 32 countries across the globe during the fair.

One of the matchmaking events attracted nearly 400 businesses from China and Indonesia. Among the participating businesses from Indonesia is Kawan Lama Group, a large retailer in the country.

Kuncoro Wibowo, the group's board chairman, said the fair is a vital channel for his company to reach suppliers and provides a variety of cost-effective commodities, which are suitable for the Indonesian market where they are well received.

Domestic buyers expressed intent to place nearly 2,000 orders with participating exhibitors at the fair. Meanwhile, 12,000 domestic buyers such as supermarkets, retail chains and e-commerce platforms communicated with 340 exhibitors from 28 countries and regions to help overseas enterprises explore the Chinese market.


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