Upcoming Canton Fair to feature record number of trade promotion events

April 18, 2024
Updated 2024/04/18 at 3:31 PM
7 Min Read


By Ouyang Jie, People’s Daily

The 135th session of the China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, will be hosted in Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province, from April 15 to May 5. The online platform of the fair will continue to be operational throughout the year.

The information was released at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office recently.

Wang Shouwen, China international trade representative and vice minister of commerce, told the press conference that the exhibition area of this session will be 1.55 million square meters, with about 28,600 firms participating in the export section, including more than 4,300 new exhibitors. In addition, 680 companies will attend the import section.

According to Wang, some 93,000 purchasers from 215 countries and regions have completed pre-registration, and more than 220 large multinationals and business institutions have confirmed that they will organize delegations to attend the event. “All these figures have exceeded the scale of previous sessions for the same period,” said Wang.

Over 5,500 national-level high-tech enterprises, individual champion enterprises in the manufacturing sector, and specialized and sophisticated SMEs that produce novel and unique products will participate in this session, up 20 percent from the previous one.

More than 1 million new products are expected to be exhibited, including over 450,000 green products and over 250,000 products with independent intellectual property. Among the exhibitors, over 4,000 have won international awards for their innovative designs, and more than 10,000 have invested over 10 percent of their total revenue in R&D.

The upcoming Canton Fair will further enrich the exhibition topics of digital technology and intelligent manufacturing. Over 50 percent of the participating companies actively apply digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data analysis to upgrade their production and operations.

Since its inception, the Canton Fair has attracted over 9.3 million overseas merchants, with 195 partners vigorously promoting trade between China and other countries.

To facilitate overseas buyers, this year’s Canton Fair provides a “green channel” for visa applications. The visa processing and issuance time for 90 percent of the embassies and consulates abroad has been shortened to just four working days. Besides, by streamlining the processing of exhibition certificates, waiting time during peak periods will be reduced from 1.5 hours to 30 minutes.

Moreover, foreign currency exchange machines and mobile POS machines will be installed to meet the needs of both exhibitors and buyers, including currency exchange, digital payments, card payments, mobile payments, and cash payments.

Recently, China has introduced a new version of the visa application forms, with 34 percent of the items simplified and optimized, significantly reducing the time required for filling out the form.

The requirements for visa invitation letters have also been simplified. Foreign businesspeople can now apply for a visa at any Chinese embassy or consulate abroad with only the electronic invitation letter from the Canton Fair.

Yan Fang, an official with the People’s Bank of China, told People’s Daily that foreign travelers can make QR code payments in China with Alipay, WeChat Pay and other platforms after binding overseas bank cards. Travelers from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, and Mongolia can directly use their e-wallets.

In January and February, over 900,000 inbound travelers used mobile payments in China, completing more than 20 million transactions worth over 3 billion yuan ($414.72 million). All major banks in China now support cash withdrawals using overseas bank cards at their ATMs. Over 60,000 bank branches and nearly 2,300 foreign exchange facilities across the country offer foreign currency exchange services. In some major cities, key areas, and large commercial districts, overseas cards can also be used for payments.

“To ensure smooth travel, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport has increased its flight options for popular domestic and international destinations, with an average weekly flight volume rising to 10,597 and a 71.6 percent increase in international flights. The airport now operates flights to 217 destinations,” said Tan Ping, vice mayor of the Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government.

She added that consultation counters will be set up at the airport to provide around-the-clock services for overseas travelers to enable electronic payment.

“The number of pre-registrations from overseas buyers, applications for Canton Fair invitation letters, and hotel bookings in Guangzhou have all shown significant increases compared to the previous session,” said Chu Shijia, director general of the China Foreign Trade Center.

At the same time, there has been a notable rise in the participation of Top 250 Global Retailers and major businesses from different countries and regions. A total of 129 leading enterprises have confirmed their group attendance, an 87 percent increase compared to the previous session.

Ninety-eight overseas organizations, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the China General Chamber of Commerce – U.S.A., and the 48 Group Club, will join the session in groups, representing a 25.6 percent increase from the previous session.

“Over 600 market-oriented trade promotion events will be hosted during this session, setting a new record in terms of quantity and variety,” said Chu.

He added that more than 200 global sourcing and procurement matchmaking events and 315 new product launches and debut exhibitions will also be held. For the first time, there will be dedicated display areas for cross-border e-commerce and overseas warehousing, Chu said.

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