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October 16, 2009

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Upbeat mood at Canton Fair

CHINA'S largest trade fair opened yesterday as exporters are upbeat about a market recovery amid improving demand, while the world's major economies are poised to come out of a slump after stimulus measures produced results.

Exporters attending the 106th China Export and Import Trade Fair, also known as Canton Fair, in the southern city of Guangzhou expected a "prominent" order increase from the last fair in April, when trade value slumped 17 percent at the height of the economic downturn.

The fair has about 50,000 booths, although there were more than 80,000 applicants. More than 160,000 buyers from more than 200 countries and regions flocked to exhibition halls, hunting everything from home appliances, machinery and textiles, shoes, food and medicine.

The event, which started in 1957, has long been a key barometer of global demand for Chinese goods, said Chen Chaoren, spokesman for the biannual fair. "Exhibitors from home and abroad showed keen interest in marketing offensive this time, pointing to signs of recovery in global trade."

Wang Yuechun, overseas sales manager of Changhong, China's leading TV maker, was desperate last year as overseas sales were halved from normal because demand tumbled amid the financial crisis. But this autumn, he seemed to be quite at ease.

"The first quarter of this year was the worst. The second was better. We expect to see a prominent rebound in the fourth quarter," he said.

Exporters were more confident after the release of better-than-expected trade figures on Wednesday. Exports fell 15.2 percent in September from a year ago, compared with a fall of 23.4 percent in August. The decline of imports slowed to 3.5 percent from 17 percent in August.


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