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By QIU QUANLIN (China Daily)
Updated: 2015-10-26 07:43
Chinese manufacturers and exporters swear by innovation, R&D to overcome weak demand

Only 88,998 overseas buyers visited the autumn session of the biannual Canton Fair in the first three days, down 4 percent year-on-year. And that is not a good sign, aver the organizers of China’s largest trade event, formally known as the China Import and Export Fair.

For, it could herald a grim time for thousands of Chinese exporters in the months to come. The Canton Fair, which opened on Oct 15 in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, and will close on Nov 5, is seen as a barometer of China’s foreign trade.

According to the General Administration of Customs, China’s trade dropped 7.9 percent year-on-year in the first nine months, with exports down 15 percent.

According to Xu Bing, spokesman for the fair, the overall picture for Chinese exporters may not be bright due to lower prices and weak external demand, not very different from the country’s trade performance in the first three quarters of this year.

But not everyone among Chinese manufacturers agrees. Chen Zili, public affairs manager with Gree Electric Appliances Inc, a leading home appliances manufacturer based in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, believes the trade situation would not be so tough as the company has relied more on innovation to sustain its business growth.

“Chinese home appliance makers, focusing on technology innovation and self-developed brands, will see a steady growth of demand in the overseas market,” Chen said.

According to Chen, Gree lowered its production capacity due to an oversupply of air conditioners and a tough pricing competition since early this year. “Instead, we focused on technology, innovation and promoting brands in the overseas market, which have already helped us gain a bigger market share.”

Gree has launched zero-energy consumption air conditioners in several overseas countries and regions since early this year. “The backbone zero-energy consumption units have helped us expand sales overseas,” said Chen.

The product, named VRF photovoltaic unit, is a combination of photovoltaic power-generation and home appliance. It also serves as a power station that is able to generate energy for all of a household’s appliances.

“For many years, overseas buyers were more familiar with small and lower-quality air conditioners produced by Chinese manufacturers. But now they have seen that we are able to produce advanced and human-oriented products,” said Chen.

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