The annual China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair has played an increasingly important role of strengthening cooperation between Chinese business owners and their overseas counterparts, said the event's organizers.
This year's fair will start on Oct 10 in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, with 6,000 booths that cover a total area of 150,000 square meters.
Over the past 13 years, more than 8,200 overseas companies had participated in the fair, and 16 countries and international organizations had served as co-hosts of the event.
Following Russia and India, South Africa becomes a co-host of the fair this year, showing the important role of the fair of promoting trade and economic cooperation among members of BRICS, a commonly used acronym for the emerging-market economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization is another co-host of this year's event.
"Thanks to its growing importance of promoting cooperation among global SMEs, more countries and international organizations have shown their interests in co-hosting the event," said He Zuoxian, deputy director-general of the Guangdong SME Bureau and director-general of the Bureau of CISMEF.
He said a growing number of countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Britain and Israel, are preparing to send delegations to the event and will talk to the organizers about possible cooperation with the fair in future years.
Edith Vries, director-general of the Department of Small Business Development of South Africa, said the annual CISMEF has become a global stage where the country's entrepreneurs display their products to the international market.
"We intend to use the fair as a platform to unlock markets for our small businesses and cooperatives," Vries said.
He added that South Africa will bring to the fair some of its most dynamic enterprises from North West, Free State and Limpopo provinces, involving a variety of sectors, including agro-processing, biodiesel production, jewelry manufacturing, engineering and infrastructure development, textile and fashion, farming, solar energy and tourism.
South Africa's business trends and the entrepreneurial landscape require far more sophisticated skills to achieve international competitiveness to ensure access to global markets for SMEs, the director-general said.
"We believe that small, medium and micro enterprises and cooperatives are important drivers of economic growth and job creation," Vries said.
In total, more than 70 small, medium and micro enterprises of South Africa will promote their products and investment opportunities during this year's event.
The event's organizers have launched a series of overseas promotions to showcase the annual fair, and 1,028 exhibition booths have been confirmed already by businesses and organizations from 31 countries and regions.
The fair will include special exhibition zones covering countries related to the Belt and Road Initiative, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, as well as China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
"Since the announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative, Poland has been willing to be a part of it and an important trade and economic partner for China," said Joanna Skoczek, consul general of Poland in Guangzhou.
Skoczek said the number of Chinese visiting Poland in the first quarter of 2017 increased by 85 percent compared with the same period last year. The trade volume between Guangdong and Poland was nearly $4.2 billion in 2016, increasing 13.3 percent year-on-year and accounting for over one-fifth of the total between China and Poland.
"Chinese businesses are encouraged to visit Poland to strengthen the mutual cooperation in the fields of trading, investment and education," Skoczek said.
She also said that 96 percent of Polish companies are small and medium-sized enterprises, many of which are family businesses and contribute the greater part of the country's GDP.
"Poland is known worldwide for the quality of its food, such as apples and milk, which are already available on the Chinese market. We believe that Chinese consumers will be more open for new tastes of Polish food in the near future," Skoczek said.
Handicrafts at a foreign booth attract visitors at a previous China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair.Provided To China Daily