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China's 2020 Import and Export Fair goes online with digital push

Updated: Jun 12,2020 05:10 PM    CGTN

China will host its 2020 Import and Export Fair online from June 15 to 24 this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with over 1.8 million products uploaded onto the online platform.

The China Import and Export Fair started in 1957. It is the country's largest comprehensive trade fair with a long history, and largest number of overseas buyers and product categories. On average, in recent years about 25,000 exhibitors and 200,000 buyers have taken part in the fair annually. Belt and Road countries have also been a major part of the expo.

This year, organizers decided to move the event online due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"We are not simply copying the offline fair model. Instead, we have come up with a brand-new idea and business process, using the internet, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence," said Xu Bing, the deputy secretary-general of the China Import and Export Fair.

On the website of the China Import and Export Fair there are 16 major product categories, with 50 exhibition areas. The exhibitors will not only be able to show pictures and videos of their products but can also do online livestreaming, meaning that prospective buyers can get a better knowledge of the products.

China General Technology Group has been participating in the Import and Export Fair since it was first launched 63 years ago. Machine tools are among the company's major products. And they say the online format has created new opportunities for them.

"We don't have time or location limitations this time. Before, we were only able to show some small equipment as we only had a couple of booths. But now we can display our big machine tools on the website. We can also show the production process and our technologies online, not just the products themselves, " said Gu Jin, the deputy general manager of the Overseas Business Department of China General Technology Group.

They can also hold online video negotiations with their potential buyers and participate in online promotion meetings held by organizers.

Gu believes this fair will also benefit the buyers.

"After a couple of months' of production suspension, some buyers overseas may need our products to resume operations, but because of the epidemic they can't physically come here to check out the products. So, the online fair enables them to get the information they need," said Gu.

To better help the participants, the organizers have canceled all exhibition fees.

They have also been providing one-on-one training sessions to help those who are not familiar with online tools.

"Due to the coronavirus outbreak and the downward trend of global economy, trade and commerce in both China and the world is facing unprecedented challenges. We are helping Chinese companies to get orders and maintain their markets, and overseas buyers to maintain the stability of the industrial and supply chains," said Xu.

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