Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends from the Press,
Good morning! First of all, I would like to thank all the friends present at this press conference of the 104th session of China Import and Export Fair, or the Canton Fair. Hereby, I will brief you on the latest information of the Canton Fair that enjoys a long history and has never been interrupted over the past 50-odd years.
The first session of the Canton Fair was held in 1957. After two venue changes, the Fair was moved to Liuhua Complex in 1974. With the development of China's foreign trade and the growth of the Canton Fair in the past 30 years, the duration of the Fair was adjusted from one phase of 15 days into two phases of 12 days at the 91st session held in the spring of 2002, highlighting the feature of "one location, one complex and two phases". At the 95th session in 2004 when the Phase I Project of Pazhou Complex was officially put into use, the Fair started an operational mode of "two locations, two complexes and two phases". The 104th session of the Canton Fair to be opened on October 15 this year will undergo another major reform, which can be simply described as "one location, one complex and three phases". "One location and one complex" means that as of the 104th session, the Canton Fair will be held exclusively in the newly-completed and modernized Pazhou Complex; "three phases" means that the Fair will be divided into three five-day phases based on the consideration of specialization.
Compared with the 103rd session, the 104th session will be different in the following ways: First, the Fair will be more specialized with further breakdown of specialized exhibition sections. Second, the exhibition area and number of exhibitors will increase substantially to a record high. Third, each phase will be shortened while the total Fair duration will be extended. Fourth, with the new session held exclusively in Pazhou Complex, buyers will no longer suffer the inconvenience of shuttling between complexes.
The Canton Fair is an important platform of China's foreign trade, and a witness of China's economic development and opening-up to the outside world. Over the past 50-odd years, the Fair has always kept the reputation as a grand exhibition with the longest history, the largest scale, the biggest buyer attendance, the broadest distribution of buyers, the most complete exhibit variety and the greatest business turnover in China. It has become a "road to friendship and a bridge to trade" connecting Chinese and foreign business communities. The reform will make the 104th session a more open and specialized international trading platform with even bigger scale, more superior service and better effects, which will present more business opportunities to exhibitors and buyers from home and abroad to conduct win-win cooperation and achieve common development.
Ladies and gentlemen. Today we are having the press conference here in Hong Kong to brief the colleagues from the Hong Kong business community on the reform of the new session, which demonstrates that the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China (MOFCOM) attaches great importance to the vital role played by the business communities in Hong Kong and Macau at the Canton Fair. Friends from Hong Kong have been following closely, participating actively into and supporting strongly the Canton Fair, which helps keep the Fair's high prestige for its great number of participants. On behalf of MOFCOM, I would like to thank you all for the constant support.
Finally, I sincerely welcome all the guests and journalists present here to visit Pazhou Complex in October, experience by yourselves the vigor and vitality of the 104th session of the Canton Fair, contribute ideas and suggestions, and work together for a new brilliance of the Canton Fair.