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China represents incredible market for overseas businessmen: business leader(11/12/03)

"Never in my lifetime have I seen a market with such a great size and so rapid economic growth which has just got starting," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Global Sources Merle Hinrichs in Hong Kong on Nov.12.

    Hinrichs noted that the Chinese mainland posts "incredible" potential for the business people, and its development would benefit countries and regions in the Asia Pacific region as well.

    His company, in creating and facilitating global trade between buyers and suppliers "by providing the right information at the right time in the right format," has attracted some 40,000 buyers, he said.

    Hinrichs pointed out that Global Sources has been engaged in facilitating two-way trade in China's mainland for more than two decades, thanks to the efforts of its 900 employees in the 43 offices there.

    For the third quarter of 2003, net operating income generated from the mainland, accounting for 44 percent of the company's total, has recorded a rise of 22 percent from the same period last year, he said.

    He added that in the future, the company would, besides stabilizing the traditional markets of Hong Kong and Taiwan, switch focus more on the mainland accordingly.

    Based on the success of China Sourcing Fair: Electronics & Components which took place in Shanghai from Oct. 9 to 11, the company has planned six more shows for the year of 2004.

    In the chairman's opinion, WTO accession is a tipping point for China.

    He elaborated that the previous Most Favored Nation status granted by the United States to China was subject to annual approval, limiting western importers to plan at most one year in advance.

    However, with China's access to the WTO, such kind of doubt of western buyers has been released, which would help promote their exploration of the mainland market.

    CEPA, said the chairman, is a gift from the Chinese central government to Hong Kong, He urged Hong Kong business people to adopt swift actions to take advantage of this trade pact, adding that his company which is also qualified to enjoy CEPA arrangement,would also be keen on exploring favorable treatment in the exhibition sector.

    Citing a survey his company has undertaken recently which indicates that 67 percent of overseas buyers would be prepared to pay a premium to do outsourcing in Hong Kong, he expressed belief that Hong Kong exporters still have a lot of opportunities in thisrespect.

    He encouraged them to continue to make use of their ability to provide good package service, adding that Hong Kong has always been successful in functioning as a trading center.


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