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The 112th Canton Fair "Sustaining Global Trade in Difficult Times"

GUANGZHOU, China, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite ongoing economic problems in Europe and America, the 112th session of the Canton Fair, which closed on November 4, has displayed a remarkable resilience. While the number of participants and turnover fell around 10 percent compared to the spring session, the percentage of repeat visitors rose over 8 percent, underlining the great commercial value of the event and its importance as a buttress for sustaining global trade.   

The number of overseas buyers at the fair – taken to be a reliable indicator of China's export situation – highlights weak global demand, as a lacklustre recovery is hampered by the eurozone debt crisis. However, the Canton Fair remains the best gateway into the Chinese market, and attendees continue to value the opportunities it presents, both in terms of business intelligence and the quality products on offer.

A German garden machinery supplier attending the fair said that although he hadn't experienced a domestic decrease in sales, he was under pressure to cut prices. "I'm looking for good prices from suppliers in China because my customers have become far more price-conscious," he explained.

Ulrik Fredikson, an executive from a Swedish car-accessory company, said his company had also been feeling the pinch, with sales down 25 per cent year-on-year. "Instead of going through a middleman, who will hike prices by 20 per cent, I'd rather buy directly from manufacturers here at the fair," said Fredrikson.

Companies from developing countries, especially BRICS nations, demonstrated a strong desire for economic cooperation at the fair. Many were optimistic that increasing trade between BRICS nations could counter the recent decline of sales in more traditional markets.

With Brazil set to host the World Cup and Olympics soon, opportunities now abound for Chinese companies in the Brazilian market. A forum at the Canton Fair to help Chinese companies familiarize themselves with Brazil's business environment was attended by 400 visitors.

ChinaInvest, a Brazilian investment and consulting firm, purchased large quantities of building materials for South American construction contractors at the fair. The firm's president, Thomas Machado, said he expected to buy 30% more materials from China this year, with a 15% rise in overall prices. "Better quality convinced me to buy Chinese goods, despite China's rising raw material and labor costs," said Machado.

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