GUANGZHOU, April 14 (Xinhua) -- The global crisis has cut the number of companies attending the 105th China Import and Export Fair, also Guangdong Fair, the organizers said here Tuesday.
The number attending is down to 22,104 -- 237 fewer than last year.
"The global crisis will definitely affect the fair, but not seriously," said Mu Xinhai, spokesman of the fair, in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province.
Among the 237 absent, 208 are domestic companies, the other 29 are overseas companies, said Mu, an official from the Ministry of Commerce.
However, 265 more exhibition booths have been set up as some big companies applied for more booths -- bringing the total number of booths to 55,885, covering 1.125 million square meters, Mu said.
"The companies are more eager to exhibit themselves during the global crisis," he said.
Some 395 companies from 36 countries, including 12 from five less-developed countries, will be exhibited in the import section, Mu added.
The section will be visited by Chinese 8,000 buyers from 48 purchase teams, he said.
Mu said the ministry has stepped up efforts to attract overseas customers.
"The ministry sent deputy ministers to many countries to attract overseas buyers for Guangdong Fair, and the companies reacted actively."
Invitations were sent to 800,000 overseas customers in China's traditional markets such as America and Japan, and also in new markets including Africa, India, South America, Middle East and Central Europe, Mu said.
The number of overseas customers will be affected by the global crisis but may not see a sharp drop, said Wen Zhongliang, head of Department of Foreign Trade.
"No accurate prediction can be made on the number of foreign buyers, but we have reasons to be optimistic on China's largest trade fair. The number only reduced by ten percent in East China Fair last month," Wen said.
The 105th China Import and Export Fair, held by the Ministry of Commerce, will be held from April 15 to May 7.