Analysts pointed to an inevitable trend that, as China loses its cheap labor leverage, labor-intensive manufacturing industries are leaving China for other developing countries. This means more overseas competitors to challenge the low price advantage of Chinese products.
But in the meantime, the narrowed profit margins of processing trade have encouraged more Chinese companies to nurture their own brands and focus on technology and innovation.
Last month, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang called for encouraging Chinese companies to be more innovation-driven, as the country continues to shape a more balanced and quality foreign trade.
Shi said the technical level of Chinese companies now surpasses that of the majority of the world's countries, though the country still lacks brands that can match Apple and Samsung in terms of technology.
Chinese exporters also see potential in overseas markets for Chinese brands and innovative products, especially in emerging markets outside the traditional consumer giants like Europe and the United States.
"The Middle East and Africa have high demand for our new energy products," said Jerry Pan, project manager of Norinco New Energy, whose booth displays innovative products such as solar energy-driven water pumps.
Besieged by oversupply, anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations in European and American markets, China's photovoltaic producers are now trying to explore new markets and develop new technology.
"Competition is fierce in the traditional solar panel market, and our labor costs are high. So we choose to compete on design and ideas. We sell designs that others don't have," Pan said.