The uninterrupted Canton Fair witnessed the rise and transformation of China’s economy

Canton Fair

In the first phase of the 125th Canton Fair’s import exhibition area, Turkish exhibitors are negotiating with buyers. Xinhua News Agency reporter Liang Xu photo

Xinhua News Agency, Guangzhou, April 29 (Reporter Zhou Qiang Ding Le) From the first in April 1957 to the 125th in April this year, the Canton Fair has never been interrupted for 62 years and is a veritable “China’s first exhibition.” As the “window” and “barometer” of China’s foreign trade, the Canton Fair condenses the history of China’s foreign trade development and reflects the rise and transformation of the economy in the past 70 years.

From foreign exchange earning through exports to organizing according to market rules

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Western countries blocked the embargo, and foreign trade was limited to the “bargaining” of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries.

In order to solve the needs of economic construction and promote friendly exchanges with other countries, the new China urgently needs to open a path to the international market. The China Export Commodities Fair came into being in Guangzhou, referred to as the Canton Fair, two times a year.

Yan Yijun, a special correspondent of the Ministry of Foreign Trade in Guangzhou, said that Guangdong has the advantage of being close to Hong Kong and Macao. However, many Hong Kong and Macao businessmen do not understand New China. The exchange meeting can comprehensively introduce export commodities and enhance their understanding of New China.

On April 25, 1957, the first China Export Commodities Fair opened at the Sino-Soviet Friendship Building. 1,223 merchants from 19 countries and regions attended the conference, with a turnover of 17.54 million US dollars, of which agricultural and sideline products and handicrafts accounted for about 63%.

Xu Bing, spokesman of the Canton Fair, said: “The Canton Fair has opened the door to new China’s foreign economic and trade exchanges and has become a window to showcase the achievements of China’s socialist construction.”

In the following 20 years, the Canton Fair quickly became the main channel for China’s export earnings. Since 1965, the annual export turnover of the Canton Fair has accounted for more than 30% of the country’s total annual export volume, making great contributions to the country’s purchase of urgently needed materials to support economic construction.

At that time, Maotai was accepted by the Hong Kong business community at the Canton Fair. The black ceramic bottle was changed into a white porcelain bottle. The red star trademark became a reference to the Feitian trademark of Dunhuang murals.

In 1978, the “Spring Thunder” of reform and opening up broke the monopoly of foreign trade. Driven by the export-oriented model, various enterprises such as production enterprises, private enterprises, and foreign-funded enterprises participated in the exhibition, and the export market became increasingly diverse.

At the opening of the 44th Canton Fair, people have already smelled the breath of spring. China’s foreign trade has achieved many firsts: for the first time, “selling production by sales” as the foreign trade policy, the first time to carry out compensation trade, the first time to carry out processing of materials… I realized the tremendous energy of “doing things according to market rules.”

“selling the world, buying the world” in the trade balance

The Canton Fair witnessed the development of private enterprises in China.

At one time, state-owned enterprises monopolized national foreign trade, and private enterprises had no chance to attend. At that time, Qiu Jibao, the chairman of Zhejiang Feiyue Group, wanted to make the products go international, but because it was a private enterprise, he could only “crawl the wall into the Canton Fair” and was fined 50 yuan.

At the 85th Canton Fair in 1999, private companies first appeared. Zhejiang Yuyao Ximo Electric Appliance Co., Ltd. and other companies, as the first batch of private enterprise representatives approved by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and have self-support import and export rights, boarded the Canton Fair stage.

Bei Zhiming, the director of Zhejiang Beifa Pen Factory, couldn’t enter the Canton Fair, waited for a week at the stairway where foreign businessmen gathered, and finally got a 20,000-dollar order. Later, the Ningbo people became the “Chinese pen king”, he recalled Said: “The Canton Fair opened the first door for foreign trade for me.”

Guangzhou Yaqi Leather Co., Ltd. was just established, founded the factory, the Canton Fair brought a lot of orders, the backpack production is too busy, the workers reached more than 1,000 people.
With the entry into the WTO in 2001, China has fully liberalized its foreign trade management rights. In the autumn of 2003, the Canton Fair had more than 150,000 buyers, and the turnover exceeded 20 billion US dollars. The Canton Fair has also changed from a two-phase to a three-phase, from the main export of primary products to the main export of finished products.

In order to achieve trade balance, since the 101st session in 2007, the Canton Fair has set up an import exhibition area and changed its name to the China Import and Export Fair. In that year, China’s trade surplus was US$262.2 billion.

“China has begun to attach importance to the balanced development of foreign exchange through export and import and export. The Canton Fair has become an international public platform for ‘selling the world and buying the world’.” Xu Bing said that since the establishment of the import exhibition in the Canton Fair, more than 13,000 countries and regions have been established. Home companies exhibiting.

High quality leads the continuous import of the “import effect” of Chinese manufacturing

Since the 18th National Congress, the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, high-quality development orientation, and innovation-driven development strategy… China has accelerated the promotion of a new pattern of opening up, and the Canton Fair has ushered in new opportunities.

“Before the reform and opening up, only 13 foreign trade companies participated in the exhibition. Now every session of the Canton Fair welcomes 25,000 foreign trade companies and hundreds of overseas enterprises. Each time there are about 200,000 visitors, the scale is called the ‘World’s First Exhibition’. Xu Bing said.

Just like a few decades ago, these companies still have to rely on “station stalls” to attract customers, but the booths are increasingly moving towards branding, intelligence and green environmental protection, and become a platform for companies to showcase the latest research and development results. At the 120th Canton Fair, the first global brand zone appeared on the Haier booth, and the new products of Japan Sanyo and US General Motors were all unveiled.

As the “frequent guest” of the Canton Fair, Zhang Qingfu, vice president of Haier Group, said, “The practice proves that the more challenges are faced, the more stable the quality is.”

Along the way, the Canton Fair has become a mirror reflecting the transformation and development of China’s economy. In the process of “Made in China” towards “China’s wisdom creation”, the Canton Fair began to explore the intellectual property protection mechanism in 1992 and escort enterprises to independently innovate; in 2013, the “Canton Fair Export Product Design Award” was established, focusing on product added value.

In the past 62 years, the Canton Fair has accumulatively received about 8.61 million overseas buyers. Right now, the 125th Canton Fair is being held. Under the initiative of China to actively expand imports, 650 companies from 38 countries and regions participated in the exhibition, including 21 of the 383 companies in the countries and regions along the “Belt and Road”, with 630 booths, accounting for more than six to make.

Turkey Xinfu Company has participated in the Canton Fair for 10 consecutive years, which has opened up markets in Africa and Southeast Asia. “We used to buy parts from China, and now we want to sell our products to China.” Wang Nana, head of sales for Xinfu’s Asian region, said, “The Chinese market cannot be ignored.”

Post time: Apr-29-2019