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Exporters urged to build brands and channels

LOCAL exporters should invest in building up their brands and distribution channels to make consumers aware of their products and their offerings in the domestic market even as they ask for government support, visitors said at a fair organized by the city government to help exporters sell their goods locally.

The Shanghai government planned to help local struggling exporters through fairs, launching an online information platform and establishing special counters at stores to increase the awareness of their goods in the local market.

The two-day fair, which ended yesterday, displayed export-oriented goods, including textiles, furniture, toys and electrical appliances, incorporating the latest design and technology.

"It is a great opportunity for us to foray into the domestic market, for which we have prepared for three years, as we see a bright future here at home," said Zhu Yongzhen, general manager of Lilan Fashion Accessories Manufactures (Shanghai) Co.

Lilan Fashion, a scarf and textile maker, used to sell its products in overseas markets as far as Africa. The company's income plummeted 30 percent last year due to the fallout of the global financial crisis.

"To establish a brand and build up distribution channels in the domestic market is urgent for us," Zhu said, hoping the authorities will organize more such fairs to connect them with retailers and buyers.

Meanwhile, buyers at the fair said exporters should also beef up brand building and product innovation.

Zhou Qi, director of the purchase department in Shanghai Bailian Group Co, suggested exporters differentiate their products from those already available in the domestic market.

"Your products should make a difference or be price-competitive to attract consumers here. It takes time for people to accept new brands," Zhou said.

The fair attracted more than 170 export-oriented firms and buyers, including Bailian Group and Bright Group as well as local branches of Tesco and Wal-Mart.


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