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Foreign Trade Development with Canton Fair for 60 Years
In 1957, the government established the China Export Commodity Trade Fair, popularly known as the “Canton Fair,” named by Zhou Enlai, then prime minister of China.

In 1957, the government established the China Export Commodity Trade Fair, popularly known as the “Canton Fair,” named by Zhou Enlai, then prime minister of China.

The goal in 1950s and 1960s was to break through the trade barrier that China had previously been behind. The fair became an important platform for Chinese enterprises to reach the international market. As a foreign trade development platform, Canton Fair has held strong for 60 years.

Open policies advance with the times

Under the close observation and support of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council, the fair has grown with the nation and undertaken the task of trying to make the world know China and make China move towards the world.

Held every spring and fall in Guangzhou, it is the largest trade fair in China. Since its debut 60 years ago, the fair has generated trade worth around .2 trillion (USD). Over 7.6 million overseas buyers have attended the event.

To carry out the major strategic measure of import and export trade balance development, from the 101st session in the spring of 2007, the fair changed its name from "China Export Commodity Trade Fair" to "China Import and Export Fair.”

Canton Fair calls itself, “the link of friendship, the bridge of trade,” and serves as a base for economic and trade exchanges between China and foreign countries.

Incubation Platform,“All flowers bloom together”

The fair also has become a leader in cultivating independent brands in China. From the spring of 2004, fair officials began setting up brand exhibition areas. The have encouraged and supported intellectual property rights, independent brands, high technology content, and high value-added product exhibits, all of which helped transform and upgrade China's foreign trade.

The event has become known as an incubator of small and medium enterprises expanding into the international market. Thousands of small and medium-sized entities have gone from the Pazho exposition to countries around the world. Thirty years ago, companies like Haier, Midea, GREE, ASD, BEIFA participated in the fair and since have developed into leading enterprises. Some are even among the world's top 500 enterprises.

Protection measures of intellectual property rights at the Canton Fair have constantly improved, winning praise from Chinese officials. The expo has become a model of intellectual property protection in China's exhibition industry.

National economic strategies like "One Belt One Road,” "Silk Road Economic Belt,” and "Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road” have been promoted at the fair and are helping China develop foreign trade with an increasing number of international partners.

Innovation-driven development

The fair is continuously improving its professional status, with significant impact. Over the past five years, for instance reorganization of the machinery exhibition has made it more efficient and advanced. The addition of new facilities for energy, pet supply, and outdoor exhibitions have kept them in tune with global trends. Fair authorities also have subdivided into more than 120 exhibits areas, which greatly enhanced the efficiency of procurement. Moreover, the integration of "brand windows” launched by the internet has helped the growth of the quality brand enterprises.

The Canton Fair has constantly incorporated creative ideas to help upgrade and transform the business of foreign trade in China. First, it has been a leader in establishing an international social merchant platform. Second, the fair has been a pacesetter in advancing global remote video merchandise. Third, development of internet advertisement and precise marketing have been introduced. Fourth, progress has been made in combining exhibitors and regular buyers to invest together. And fifth, big steps have been take to further global transboundary merchant cooperation.

The fair also strongly and enthusiastically promotes "green" environmental protection plans through a variety of programs.

Leading to the future

In the first year of planning in China’s 13th Five-Year, the fair is helping lead the way to the future in the country. Through the window opened by the Canton Fair, the world has seen the context of China's development, as well as the direction of China's economic progress.

The fair today has a huge database of overseas buyers and cooperates withs many overseas industrial and commercial organizations. These efforts not only enhance global fair trade but also promote world peace.

Facing a new historical mission, the Canton Fair will further optimize and upgrade, so as to promote the move from "made in China" to “create in China.” Authorities are adapting the fair to meet the changing demands of the market, enhance international competitiveness, further modernize the function of the exhibition, and explore and innovate to upgrade customer service.

From "China's first exhibition" to "the world's first exhibition,” the legendary Canton Fair continues to bloom as it engages in its 120th session.

(By Joanna You, Louis Berney)

Editor:Joanna You
Modern Guangzhou Souvenirs picks some of the best Cantonese-style souvenirs for you – including those famous pieces as well as lighter and and comparatively cheap items but still with that defining Cantonese character.

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