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Features - 16 April 2014

Business Opportunities at 2014 Canton Fair

First held in 1957, the Canton Fair is a trade event that takes place biennially (April and October) in the city Guangzhou, in the Guangdong Province of the People's Republic of China. The 2014 Canton Fair is currently underway and will continue through to May 5, 2014. As one of China's largest trade fairs, the Canton Fair is organized by China Foreign Trade Centre and co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of China and the Guangdong Province local government. Also known as the China Import and Export Fair, the Canton Fair takes place in three phases in order to accommodate the vast number of exhibitors and visitors.

Phase One of the 2014 Canton Fair started on April 16 and continues until April 19, with Phase Two taking place on April 23-27, and Phase Three taking place on May 1-5. Phase One is dedicated to Machinery, Electrical and Electronic products; Phase Two features Home and Decoration; and Phase Three focuses on Textiles, Garments and Fashion Accessories.

Chinese manufacturers interviewed at the Canton Fair were notably optimistic despite the fact that the country's first quarter results were disappointing, with both imports and exports falling sharply in March. A senior executive of one of China's top home appliance manufacturers, Haier Group, noted that although there was a slump in overall data, the company managed to grow slightly in comparison with March 2013. He attributes this to customer service and innovative products, expressing his confidence that their new 'smart' appliances* will meet market trends and assure growth in the coming year.

The deputy general manager of Hisense International Co. Ltd., noted that the company's core products have enjoyed tremendous growth in the past year, and they have confirmed overseas orders through to the third quarter of 2014. Once again, innovation is the key to success.

It is anticipated that more than 190,000 global buyers will attend the Canton Fair to view products and services of 24,581 exhibitors from within China and 43 other countries and regions. Clearly, there are plenty of opportunities to forge new business deals and strengthen existing business relationships.

* Smart appliances can be accessed through mobile internet, an innovation that initially addressed climate control within buildings, but is branching out to other appliances.

Features

China Promotes New-Energy Vehicles - 2 April 2014

In an effort to boost sales of electric-powered cars, China is reportedly considering cutting or waiving the 10 percent purchase tax applicable to new car purchases. The promotion of what China refers to as 'new-energy vehicles' is part of the drive to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels, while at the same time addressing the ongoing, and worsening, problem of air pollution. Shares of China's biggest electric car manufacturer, BYD Co. Ltd. (1211:HK) have risen in Hong Kong trading in response to indications that the government is determined to increase efforts at promoting new-energy vehicles.

Features

Developer's Default Indicative of Economic Slowdown - 19 March 2014

In addition to experiencing a slowdown in its property sector, China's property market received a blow this week with the collapse of real estate developer Zhejiang Xingrun Real Estate Co. Two weeks ago Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co warned in a stock market filing that the company is unlikely to meet its interest payment of 89.9 million yuan (US$14.6 million) on the due date of March 7 – and indeed they were not able to, resulting in the country's first domestic bond default. Some analysts note that these are signs that China's economic growth is on a path of slowing down, while others warn that this may be likened to the Bears Stearns scenario in 2008, setting off the risk management meltdown of the investment bank industry on Wall Street.

Trade