World’s Largest Trade Fair Attracts Several Africans Entrepreneurs to China


Guangzhou, China – There are at least 10 African exhibitors amongst thousands of international manufacturing companies participating in the ongoing 121st edition of China’s import and export fair in Guangzhou, the capital city of China’s Guangdong Province.

Report by Alpha Daffae Senkpeni,[email protected] 

Exhibitors from Egypt, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya and Ghana have joined 7,420 buyers from Africa, while over 200,000 buyers from across the world are also attending the trade fair.

Egypt, with eight exhibitors (manufacturers), has the highest African exhibitors in this year’s fair.

The 121st edition of China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair began on April 15 and will run until May 5, 2016.

The trade fair has been held every year in Guangzhou City every year since 1957.

Tarek Samir Mohammed, Export Director of Universal – an Egyptian brand of kitchen utensils, says the fair helps promote their products to customers across the world also helps their products gain popularity across Africa too.

Over 7,400 buyers from African Countries have been invited to participate in the 121st .

Some buyers are optimistic that the fair is a chance to connect with world-class manufacturers and get to evaluate their latest products

Mohammed said, according to him, the “trade fair attracts a lot of Africans and they come here and see the quality of products that are made in Africa.”

Mohammed is confident that products made in Africa, like Universal’s, are able to compete with other international brands because they are high standard, cheaper and economic treaties amongst some African countries help enhance better trade.

“In the Guangzhou fair, we are doing well every year during the fair and we have good products. You must develop your products to attract new customers – not bringing the same product every year,” he said.

The fair provides a business environment for massive competition amongst world class manufactures of varieties of commodities – from textile, watches, furniture to auto parts, air-conditioning, refrigerators, electronics and building materials amongst thousands of other products.

Since 1975, the import and export trade fair has set the stage for buyers to meet manufacturers with billions of dollars recorded in transactions over the years.

Last year, there was over US$20 billion transactions at the trade fair, according to the organizers.

Li Jinqi, Director General of the fair, says the fair deepens corporation and bound with African countries.

In 2016, over 13,764 Africans buyers, whom Li described as ‘a critical group’ participated.

“China and Africa (African countries) are developing countries and Africa has a huge potential in the investment market,” Li said.

“The Canton Fair has always been devoted to deepening the economic trade corporation between China and African countries making the fair a bound connecting the economic, social and trade development for the two sides.”

Ahead of this year’s Belt and Road Summit (expected to start in May) to be held in Beijing, the Canton Fair organizers say these activities serve as a conduit of solidifying bilateral ties as People’s Republic of China continues to heighten its globalization drive.

Mr. Li said African buyers – companies or individuals – and manufacturers are invited through their respective embassies in China, international online platform or old buyers are allow to invite new ones to attend the annual event.

But the director general emphasized that the quality of products that are exhibited must meet both China and international market standard, adding that buyers have the chance of making connections with manufacturers. 

For the buyers, the fair is an arena of evaluating new innovations and products in order to attract and satisfy their customers’ demands.

“I am here at the Canton Fair to be in contact with some companies and seek for new products – some new innovations that my company can sell,” explains Benjamin Pango, a potential buyer who had travelled from Gabon to attend the fair.

His company deals in office equipment back in Cameroun and Gabon, but it’s now considering diversifying by selling kitchen wares and other household utensils.

This year is his third attendance at the popular fair, and Pango says it’s the right trade venue for critically reviewing new products and making business connections with world-class manufacturers.

“In order to get to know the quality products, I think it is good to come to the Canton Fair because all the products that are exhibited here are high quality and it gives you the chance to know the kind of product you want,” he said.