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Ningbo consumer goods fair expects robust trade

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The Ningbo city government has partnered with overseas organizations specializing in international trade to hold the 11th China International Consumer Goods Fair that will run from June 8 to 11 in the famed port city.

The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Osaka International Trade Fair Commission are co-hosts for this year's event, the first time in its history it will have overseas organizations as partners.

"Our co-hosts are helpful in promoting the fair to enterprises in their countries and regions, so the CICGF is able to attract more overseas buyers and exhibitors," said Ding Haibin, deputy director of Ningbo Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau.

"We want to further build up the fair's presence globally and speed up the transformation from 'made in Ningbo' to 'made by Ningbo'," Ding said.

CICGF is China's biggest consumer goods foreign trade fair, an annual event held in Ningbo since 2002.

The exhibits mainly cover four sectors: home appliances and electronics, textiles and garments, sports products, outdoor and recreational products, and household articles and gifts.

Over the past 10 sessions, more than 10,000 exhibitors from China and 120,000 buyers from 110 countries and regions have attended the event.

The fair this year expects to attract exhibitors from more than 10 countries and regions including the Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil, Poland, South Africa, Australia, Pakistan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"The fair this year will see a significant growth in the number of overseas exhibitors. Domestic exhibitors are going to face tougher competition," Ding said.

"But we believe that domestic exhibitors will benefit from the competition. Comparing their products with state-of-the-art ones from foreign competitors, domestic exhibitors will get more motivated to make innovations," Ding explained.

"Besides, they can communicate with overseas peers to learn about building up their own brands, which is vital for sustainable development in foreign trade," he added.

According to Ding, about 80 percent of traditional manufacturing companies involved in foreign trade are original equipment manufacturers for other brands.

"Working for famous global brands can help a small company grow up fast in the early stage of development. But for long-term robust growth, the company should start establishing its own brand after accumulating sufficient capital and acquiring necessary technology," Ding noted.

An example is Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, a knitted wear manufacturer based in Ningbo that has grown into one of the largest exporters in its field in China over the past decade by manufacturing clothes for world brands including Nike, Adidas and Uniqlo.

The company made its first step toward becoming a producer of original designs last year after hiring Japanese designers and spending $186 million to establish its own brand, Maxwin.

To make it easier for overseas buyers at CICGF to discover new products with promising market potential and find strong partners, the fair's organizers will recommend exhibitors on the list of China's top 500 importers and exporters.

The fair's location itself facilitates buyer field trips to supplier manufacturing sites, with goods conveniently shipped back to home markets.

It takes less than an hour, or at most several hours, for buyers to travel from the fair to production sites in the Yangtze River Delta.

With 210 routes for container shipments, buyers can ship the goods to more than 600 ports in the world. Ships from the world's top 20 container liner companies dock at Ningbo Port.

Although the Ningbo airport isn't served by as many international airlines as airports in Shanghai, CICGF organizers will provide overseas visitors with shuttle bus services free of charge to Shanghai Pudong Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao Airport and Shanghai People's Square.

Visitors can also enjoy free shuttle bus services to travel from major hotels in Ningbo to fair venues.

The value of exports sold during the fair last year totaled $617 million, with 40.1 percent generated by household items and gifts, 37.9 percent by home appliances and electronics and 12.1 percent from textiles and garments.

To meet growing demand, the total exhibit area for this year's fair has been expanded to 125,000 square meters from 100,000 square meters in 2011.

Through these considerate services, "we hope to attract more participants to the Ningbo fair," organizers said.

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