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The International Writers Magazine: 500 Chinese Companies Exhibit in Jordan

China in Jordan
Marwan Asmar
The China Products Fair has taken Amman by storm underlining Jordan's ability in attracting international business.

China Products

Placed in the Amman International Motor Show, this business-to-business event, now in its 7th year, is strengthening business relations between China and Jordan and the rest of the Arab region.

The organizers, Petra Events Management of the Petra Travel and Tourism Company, stress that this year’s show is dazzling the economic and business terrain with the participation of 500 companies flown from different parts of China to directly participate in the show displaying consumer and heavy goods in as little as four days.

It is indeed astounding, when one sees the huge growth. When it first started in 2004, the China Products Fair was a small event. In 2006, there were only 60 Chinese sellers, and $30,000 dealers in deals were made.  As well, a total of 3000 visitors went to the show, mostly Jordanian businessmen and those from the region.

The year 2007 was a benchmark annual establishing an almost unique business culture, with Chinese participants increasing in 2008 and 2009. Indeed, in that year over 9000 people visited the show in Jordan and the neighboring countries with deals of around $83 million being made.
In the 2010 Fair, the figures are expected to be much higher still despite the global recession. Around 5000 items are on display including footwear, variety of clothes wear, suitcases, toys, printing machinery, wall papering, electrical generators, water and energy equipments, water coolers, safe deposit boxes, hairdryers, plates, bathroom paraphernalia, as well as leisure tools, wooden doors, furniture and much more.

This year’s show is much more comprehensive, having established its reputation on the regional Middle East plane and even international levels because of the geographical nature of Jordan in the region and its openness.

The floor plan has proved very convenient, with booths strung all over,  allowing companies, especially those displaying bulky items the necessary space so that visitors can move around at their pace and leisure and discuss casually the different items and products on display. A mother and a daughter were seen discussing with one buyer about the type of nuts he was selling. Business booths are deliberately designed to allow visitors, merchants and buyers to negotiate with the sellers in a congenial atmosphere.  While the China Products Fair is known as a business-to-business meet, many visiting from the general public came for curiosity's sake; many wanted to buy and seemed to be disappointed when they were told it was a B2B venue.

For them however, it was an outing, a place to wonder about and to see what is being offered. This is in spite of the fact that Chinese products are flooding the market both in Jordan and the region that include Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. The "Made in China" seemed to be developing into a label and a brand by itself.  

Amman In the first two days of the fair, more than 4000 visitors came to the show creating a lively event that resembled a sea deluge of people coming with different tastes and outlook with even demonstrations being held on one printing machine churning out top quality colored posters and many visitors watching.

Photo: Amman in Jordan

On the opening day of the show the phone at the organizers office never stopped ringing with businessmen, company owners, executives, those who owned shops phoning to enquire further despite the fact that the Petra Events and their co-organizers the Shang Hi-based ME Orient, advertised widely for the Products Fair, in Jordan and regionally through newspapers, television and radio and in using latest technologies via the internet and through sms messages. 
Businessmen were not hampered by the long distance calls. Calls came from Syria, Palestine, and as far as Dubai and Abu Dhabi to ask for further details about the offerings and content in the Products Fair. One said he was an investor who was looking for valuable economic opportunities; another from Aleppo wanted to know whether, he can bring his wife. Another said he would come into the country on Thursday morning to be at the event.

In the show itself, Chinese companies were clearly open about the fact that their representatives and executives were interested in on-the-spot deals and contracts. They wanted to sell to export markets. Some in bold letters said we are interested in connecting with people who would serve as regional distributors for their products.

Some representatives on the fair grounds were not shy to say that whilst they already export all over the world, they were clearly affected by the global recession that was taking its toll on global purchasing consumption. However, they continued to be upbeat about the situation, for one women said she was continuing to another tradeshow in Turkey before she goes back home to China.

That shows that there is a sense of aggressiveness and fighting spirit among the sellers in spite of the fact, there was the odd murmur here and there that among Jordanian and Arab buyers that prices were going up and are not cheap as was in previous years.

Nevertheless the atmosphere was buoyant and almost festive on the fair grounds and in the initial hours of the opening. On the first day, people were phoning to ask for directions to the show; some were locals but others from different parts of the region. Some appeared to have just left the airport after landing and were crossing territory into Jordan.

It was dynamic. Although the event was a business-to-business affair ordinary people, husbands and housewives, young people, professional employees and even workers were inquiring about the nature of the show, opening hours,  and whether they can visit and buy from the show.

The fact it is a B2B event did not stop them from seeing for themselves, considering the event as an outing, a time to pass a couple of hours.  It was true for many others from the region. In one case, a doctor was mulling around with his wife in the fair grounds. He said, he came from Hebron and was here for medical treatment and wanted to have a look around with his wife.  China Fair is MICE tourism in action. The fair closed its doors on 2 December, 2010 and organizers say they have already started preparing for next year's event.
© Mawan Asmar Dec 2nd 2010

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