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Home > Specials > 100th Canton Fair > 100th Canton Fair News
Traders cash in on Canton Fair
Latest Updated by 2006-10-10 10:43:18
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Running the largest Chinese handicrafts wholesale businesses in the United States, Martin Jin is still busy in his sixties. His company now has 50 offices across the country and offers a wide range of traditional Chinese handicrafts ranging from lacquer to embroidery.

Yet, were it not for the Canton Fair, Jin would probably have ended up like the thousands of other retired craftsmen of his age. And few people would be familiar with his skillfully carved bone sculptures.

Before visiting the Canton Fair in 1988, Jin had no idea that a single bone sculpture ivory-like sculptures carved from cow's bones could sell for up to US$70,000 abroad. And it was the sales he made at the fair that finally led to him establish his US company in 1995.

Jin is just one of the many entrepreneurs who have benefited from the Canton Fair, officially called the China Export Commodities Fair.

Established in 1956, the fair is now the most important event for China's exporters and has earned a reputation as "the barometer of China's foreign trade."

Senior fair officials say the fair, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is also stepping up efforts to develop itself into a world-class exhibition.

"The Canton Fair is a mirror of China's economy, which has experienced brisk growth in recent years," said Hu Chusheng, chairman of the China Foreign Trade Centre (CFTC), which organizes the fair.

Back in the times of the planned economy, the biannual Canton Fair was one of the nation's few real windows on global commerce.

The inaugural Canton Fair attracted 1,223 foreign buyers from 19 countries. Although China only earned US$86.87 million from the two sessions held in 1957, they still accounted for one-fifth of the nation's total foreign exchange income of that year.

With China's fast growth in to a major world trading power, the Canton Fair has also evolved into a colossus. Today the fair attracts 190,000 buyers from more than 210 countries and regions, with total turnover topping US$30 billion.

The Canton Fair currently accounts for one quarter of China's annual general merchandise exports.

Over the past 50 years, the fair has attracted 3.7 million buyers. It has achieved an accumulated transaction volume of US$518.3 billion, making it the largest trade fair in China in terms of turnover, visitors and exhibitors.

However, the Canton Fair has also faced increasing competition in recent years, as the nation's booming exhibition sector attracts more players, both from home and abroad.

Presently, China holds 3,200 commercial exhibitions each year, making it the world's third largest exhibition market after the European Union and the United States. And major international trade fair giants including Koelnmesse GmbH, Messe Duesseldorf and Messe Muenchen International are expanding their operations in China, eyeing the opportunities in the world's fastest growing major economy.

"We will spare no efforts to maintain the Canton Fair as a world-class trade fair, both in terms of exhibiting facilities and management," said Hu.

The CFTC plans to expand the Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre, the newer of the fair's two exhibition venues.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China Daily Website
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