Difficult financial and job market conditions in Europe and the United States have impacted on trade at the 111th Canton Fair, the world's largest trade show held in China concluded early this May, although the slowdown was far less than many had expected.
The event still managed to post some record-breaking figures: as of May 4th, 210,000 buyers from 213 countries and regions had attended, up 0.23% and 1.23% from the 110th and 109th sessions in 2011 respectively.
Troubling times in the US and Europe were reflected in the total value of export deals concluded at the Fair. These fell 2.3% year-on-year to US$36.03 billion, down 4.8% from last year's autumn session. The trade volume of the US and Europe was down 8.1% and 5.6% respectively.
On a positive note the number of export deals concluded with companies based in emerging markets - such as India, Brazil and Russia - displayed an encouraging 4.1% increase. The volume of trade with African countries also rose sharply to 13.5%. These figures illustrate the rising of emerging market as new stars of the world, and Canton Fair, being one of the most influential trade events in global import and export, offers business opportunities for growth even at a difficult time.
The experience of those who visited the Fair was also overwhelmingly positive.
"This is my first time to be in the Canton Fair," said Kristrian Holmqvist, a buyer from a trading company in Finland. "It saved me a lot of time from going to many places to search for new suppliers. For the financial crisis around the world, it's hard to say that it has specific effect on my business. But the Canton Fair does provide better ideas on doing trade business and make us to be more competitive."
"I think the world economy is experiencing a recession, but it is a good time for us to develop," said Hassan El Bizri from Brazil.
With the next installment of the Canton Fair set to kick off in October, event organizers look forward to extending a warm welcome to all international buyers.
"Where there are people, there are business opportunities, and there is hope," said one staff from the trade show.