Canton Fair goes digital to help revive world trade

The 127th session of the China Import and Export Fair, the first digital fair in its 63-year history, will help stabilize global supply and industrial chains amid uncertainties in global trade affected by COVID-19, government officials said on Monday.

The twice-yearly event, also known as the Canton Fair, opened online on Monday and will continue through June 24 in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. It has drawn a warm response from foreign customers willing to engage with Chinese suppliers despite the pandemic, which has slowed global trade and many countries’ economic growth, said Li Jinqi, deputy director-general of the fair’s organizing committee.

The fair, including 50 exhibition areas based on 16 categories of commodities, will attract some 25,000 Chinese export-oriented companies this month, organizers said. They will showcase 1.8 million products and services through various media such as photos, videos and 3D formats to promote matchmaking among suppliers and purchasers and conduct 24-hour business negotiations.

Foreign buyers can register on the 24-hour livestreaming platform and start purchase negotiations at any time during the exhibition period, as all companies have been exempted from paying exhibition fees in order to bolster international trade and yield win-win results.

Gu Jin, deputy general manager of the overseas business department at China General Technology Group, a State-owned machinery exporter, said the company doesn’t have limitations in time or location when showing its products and services this time.

“We were only able to show certain small pieces of equipment in previous fairs due to the booth size,” sad Gu. “But now we can display large machinery on the digital platform and show the production process and technologies online, not just the products themselves.”

Premier Li Keqiang pledged continuous efforts to boost import facilitation and help businesses from various countries share China’s vast market opportunities as he announced the opening of the 127th China Import and Export Fair at a virtual ceremony on Monday.