The 114th Canton Fair

“Design leads the way as exhibitors innovate and add value”

GUANGZHOU, China, Dec. 2, 2013 / PRNewswire — The 114th session of the Canton Fair, China’s leading trade show, closed in Guangzhou on November 4. Attracting nearly 190,000 overseas purchasers from over 200 countries, attendance was stable compared to previous events.

While the total value of export deals concluded at the event was down slightly at RMB 194.61 billion (USD 31.69 billion), the number of repeat orders was up, reflecting improved product quality and innovation. Exhibitor numbers were deliberately reduced at this session, allowing for an increased showing of big name, reputable brands who invest heavily in research and development.

In terms of design, the evolution of the Canton Fair continues, from a place where products “made in China” are exhibited, to those “created in China.” The size of the area devoted to the design community was up 31 percent year-on-year, with a total of 74 design institutions from 10 countries and regions attending.

“We want to promote trade through innovation,” commented Liu Jianjun, deputy director of the China Foreign Trade Center. “By encouraging firms to invest in cutting edge design, we can ensure that the Fair exhibits products with more value-added content. With novel designs and originality, an increasing number of Chinese firms can maintain stable export volumes and penetrate overseas markets.”

This year witnessed the introduction of the Canton Fair (CF) Awards, intended to reward attending companies with the best export product design. In 2013, a total of 547 products were submitted by 345 companies.

“By holding design contests and selecting the most creatively designed goods for exhibition, we can really emphasize independent research and development,” said Wang Runsheng, deputy director of the Canton Fair. “In this way, products of better quality will be exhibited and the standard of exhibitors enhanced.”

It’s clear that overseas purchasers at the Canton Fair already appreciate the high standard of products on display. Long gone are the days when price was the only attraction.

“We haven’t chosen China as our procurement base solely because of price,” said Pierre Cardelli, representing French retail giant Auchan. “Quality, design, transportation, facilities and working conditions are all factors. Today, Chinese products increasingly feature leading design concepts and elements of science and technology. At the Canton Fair I can find almost everything I want.”

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