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China's leading trade fair to undergo major upgrade
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The Canton Fair will undergo a major upgrade with further regrouping and breakdown of constituent sections and enhanced services in autumn in a newly-built world- class facility, senior officials said in Hong Kong on Friday.

The fair will also be extended into three five-day events running from Oct. 15 to Nov. 6 separated by two four-day intervals, compared to the previous schedule of two events that totaled 12 days, Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng told a press conference on the Canton Fair, or China Import and Export Fair.

The arrangement is expected to further expand the comprehensive fair and "help it secure its position as the world's largest trade fair," said Wang Junwen, director of China Foreign Trade Center and vice president of the Canton Fair.

First held in 1957, the Canton Fair has evolved into a world leading trade fair after 103 sessions. It was known as the barometer of Chinese export and import.

Organizers have been building a new facility to replace the Liuhua Complex, where the ever-expanding fair had been housed over the past 34 years. The new facility, known as the Pazhou Complex, has been put in use phase by phase since 2004.

The 104 session, to be housed completely in the new facility this autumn, will boast a gross exhibition space of over 1 million square meters and more than 54,000 exhibition stands, which makes the fair the world's largest for sure, Wang said.

The Pazhou center was located in Guangzhou, capital of the southern province of Guangdong, where the Chinese manufacturing industries are concentrated. It has 37 exhibition halls with a total exhibition space of 340,000 square meters.

Exhibitors and visitors to the center can take the subway, have access to larger space and enjoy enhanced services, Wang told the Hong Kong business community.

In addition to moving to the new facility, the upgrade of the fair will also include a regrouping of the constituent sections. It will be divided into 15 major categories such as electronics and household electrical appliances, hardware and tools, machinery, vehicles and spare parts, building materials, etc., instead of the previous 5.

The previous 34 specialized exhibition sections will be regrouped into 50, of which 27 will each have an exhibition space of 20,000 square meters or above.

The garment sections, for example, will have a total exhibition space of over 45,000 square meters, putting them among the world's top garment shows, Wang said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 26, 2008)

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