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Guizhou's capital goes virtual with online fairs

China Daily| Updated: 2020-06-30 Print

Major events adapt to pandemic response to promote global commercial links.

Guiyang, capital of Southwest China's Guizhou province, turned to virtual trade fairs to engage with domestic and global traders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual event, namely the 2020 Guiyang Import and Export Online Fair, was held from Friday to Sunday. It attracted more than 2,000 exhibitors including Alibaba, Guizhou Tyre and Geely and over 2,700 buyers from 52 countries and regions. More than 20,000 exhibits were showcased online.

Ran Bin, vice-mayor of Guiyang, said on Friday at the opening ceremony that the fair is an important move to promote high-quality development in the face of new challenges and reflects the progress Guiyang has made in coordinating its COVID-19 response and economic and social development.

"By hosting the fair, we hope to help quality Guizhou products and brands gain greater popularity and introduce quality products and brands from other parts of the world to consumers in Guiyang," Ran said.

Liu Lisha, head of the Guiyang bureau of commerce, said the online fair has featured events such as the Five Continents Online Forum, a cross-border e-commerce talent show, live product promotions and online business meetings.

"We are aiming to develop the online fair into a new platform for Guiyang to conduct its international trade and for businesses to extend their global reach," she said.

At the Five Continents Online Forum held on Friday, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Academy of Global Governance and Area Studies Gao Jian said Guiyang's development plan shows great vision and creativity.

"Given that Guiyang is a critical stop along the new land-sea corridor in western China, the Guiyang government has proposed to develop the city into a global hub for trade and manufacturing by combining trade and industrial development," Gao said. "I think this is a visionary and creative move."

In the auto section of the online fair, visitors can find new passenger cars produced at Chinese automaker Geely's complete vehicle manufacturing facility in Guiyang.

Located in Guiyang's Guanshanhu district, the automobile manufacturing facility covers an area of 68.5 hectares and has an annual capacity of 300,000 units. A total of 43,200 cars rolled off its assembly lines in 2019, according to local officials.

The manufacturing facility has brought 28 well-established auto parts manufacturers from home and abroad to Guiyang, and collectively they created an output value of 610 million yuan ($86 million) in 2019, according to the local government.

Luo Yi, a senior official with the Guanshanhu district government, said in an interview during the online fair that to add to its existing industrial capacity, the district will bring in quality manufacturers of industrial products and consumer goods to form clusters.

"Our goal is to build quality brands and contribute our share to developing Guiyang into a major manufacturing base in western China," Luo said.

As a landlocked city, Guiyang especially values opening-up and the online fair is one of its latest efforts to connect itself with the world.

In the past few years, Guiyang has brought in 18 Fortune Global 500 companies and globally renowned multinational corporations from home and abroad, including Alibaba, Walmart, Panasonic and Ikea.

The amount of foreign capital utilized in Guiyang increased from $927 million in 2015 to $1.78 billion in 2019. The value of the city's imports and exports reached $4.15 billion in 2019, up 18.8 percent year-on-year, according to the Guiyang city government.

Guiyang boasts five State-level development zones and six provincial-level development zones, which complement and enhance each other.

The China-Germany industrial park and China-Japan industrial park under construction are set to provide a supporting environment for established foreign enterprises.

To cushion the blow of the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu said the online trade fair combined online and offline activities to promote Guizhou's products, revive the consumer market and stabilize foreign trade.

"Coming up next in Guiyang's events calendar are the guest of honor activities at the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and the China Week in Kenya. These events will enhance the image of Guiyang and further its ties with Association of Southeast Asian Nations members, the European Union and African countries," she added.

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