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March 2, 2014

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Fair places innovation in the spotlight

LOOKING for a bamboo keyboard or briefcase? Then head along to the East China Fair, which opened in Shanghai yesterday.

Innovation, practicality and great design are the aims of exhibitors at the event, which features everything from textiles to high-tech electronics.

While many of the products are already in common use, they stand out from the crowd through better design or innovative functions, said organizers.

“With global demand still weak, we have to nurture new competitiveness,” said Chen Wu, general manager of Lubao Wood Industry Co Ltd.

The company, from Zhejiang Province, has a range of bamboo items on show, including keyboards and briefcases.

“Made from natural materials, our products are eco-friendly, and we expect to find a market as environmental protection is a global issue,” said Chen.

Chen hopes the East China Fair can serve as a platform for showcasing products, while organizers also see it creating a better “Made in China” brand.

“Over the past a few years, China has made a lot of effort in upgrading its manufacturing capability to create more added value for consumers,” said Gu Jun, vice chairman of the Shanghai Commission of Commerce.

“New products at the fair are expected to be a reflection of such efforts.”

Traditionally export-led, the fair has recently also focused on imports, after inviting foreign exhibitors for the first time last year.

Some 145 overseas trading companies are taking part in the fair, seeking opportunities in the Chinese market.

Dubbed a barometer of China’s trade, the annual fair will run through Wednesday at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in the Pudong New Area.

Backed by the Ministry of Commerce, it is co-sponsored by Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi and Shandong provincial governments, as well as Shanghai, Nanjing and Ningbo’s city governments.

Attendance was lower than expected yesterday, which organizers partly attributed to the wet weather. But they were optimistic of higher numbers today.


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