“Canton Fair Story”Xiongying Group: We Will Never Miss the Canton Fair
As a member of the first generation of private entrepreneurs in China, Wu Xiong, the founder of Guangdong Xiongying Group Co., Ltd., is a legend. He was a “speculator” in the times of planned economy, a leader of Chaozhou’s ceramic industry in the public’s eyes, and the first person to promote Chaozhou’s ceramic products to the Canton Fair and to the world.
In the second phase of the 126th Canton Fair, the reporter saw the 70-year-old legendary figure in the booth of Chaozhou Sunshine Technology Development Co., Ltd., which is run by his daughter Wu Yanjiao. Talking about the attachment between him and the Canton Fair, Wu Xiong laughed and told us a lot.
I Just Headed for Export
According to Wu Xiong, in the times of planned economy, in order to provide for his family, he often did little business, namely common product trade, buying and selling to make a profit margin. However, in those days, such behavior was banned and strictly cracked down upon by the country as “speculative” behavior. Therefore, he had been careful. The biggest gain during the period was business experience.
In the early 1980s, Wu established a ceramic enterprise. At that time, his production team owned a kiln, and fired ceramic products for export according to the orders from above. Upon receiving a directive, the production team would start production and wait for collecting money once the product is delivered, which greatly impressed Wu Xiong. Therefore, soon after a policy that encouraged the development of private enterprises was promulgated, he founded a ceramic factory, which was the earliest private enterprise in the history of Chaozhou’s ceramic industry.
“Past experience tells me that there is no future setting up a street stall. Inspired by the kiln of our production team, I decided to start an export business.” However, he did not expect that in the era when enterprises did not have independent import and export rights, he could not do foreign trade at all and had to rely on foreign trade companies to promote products. At that time, the enterprising spirit of Chaozhou people was fully reflected in him.
“I knew that the Canton Fair was specialized in providing service for overseas buyers. As Chaozhou was under the jurisdiction of Shantou, I went to Shantou for relevant departments and requested to participate in the Canton Fair. When the request was not approved, I went to Beijing to find a solution,” said Wu Xiong. China National Arts and Crafts Import and Export Corporation was making great efforts to arrange exhibits for the Canton Fair, and ceramic products were exactly what they lacked, so the two sides hit it off. Since then, Wu Xiong has become the first person to introduce Chaozhou’s ceramic products into the Canton Fair, and Xiongying Group has taken its steps towards the global market.
“Although we don’t have the right to deal directly with foreign businessmen, and can only listen to their conversations by their side, but the business was almost too good.” Wu Xiong recalled smilingly, “We cooperated with China National Arts and Crafts Import and Export Corporation for over ten years. During that period, our company developed quite fast because of constant orders.”
After the state decentralized import and export rights, Xiongying Group became one of the first batch of enterprises to obtain import and export rights. “The first time we participated in the Canton Fair independently, I realized that tremendous achievements can be achieved in a vast world!” Wu Xiong recalled, “We received too many orders, and dared not take orders in the second day of exhibition. Because we were afraid that we could not produce enough and destroy our reputation.”
“We grew because of the Canton Fair. From relying on other foreign trade companies to renting a standard booth, renting dozens of brand booths, and then becoming a diversified group, we benefited too much from the Canton Fair!” said Wu Xiong’s daughter.
Xiongying Will Never Be Absent from the Canton Fair
Wu Xiong told the reporter that since participating in the Canton Fair for the first time in the 1980s, Xiongying Group has never been absent for the following decades. It also displayed an increasing number of categories of products. At this session, it rented booths in different pavilions, and displayed products such as ceramics, handicrafts and furniture.
“Xiongying will never miss the Canton Fair. It’s not only because we built up our fortune here, but also because the Canton Fair is too important for a company,” said Wu Xiong. In addition to product trading, in the era of inadequate information, it was through the Canton Fair that companies could find business opportunities in international trade, know what kind of products are marketable, and learn what kind of products need to be improved. Nowadays, the Canton Fair has more powerful functions. As an international trading platform, it can help manufacturers and buyers achieve targeted matchmaking in international trade, such as products, regions, services and so on.
“Look at the ceramic casseroles in our booth. They are developed in recent years according to the need of the international market. They sell very well.” Wu Yanjiao pointed to the exhibits and said, “These are developed after we studied information collected from customers at the Canton Fair.”
Wu Yanjiao told the reporter that buyers gave them a feedback that people in Europe and the United States are paying more and more attention to health, just like Chinese people do. Therefore, casseroles rich in trace elements are more and more popular in the European and American markets. Of course, these casseroles are different from traditional casseroles used by Chinese. We have to consider not only the style, pattern, material, but also the effect of the intensity of far infrared on food.
“The manufacturing process of such a small thing is quite complicated.” Wu Xiong picked up a casserole, “In order to meet the needs of local markets, many of the materials used are imported, and a lot of high-tech are adopted. As for how to manufacture them and what materials to use, we gain a lot of useful information from the Canton Fair!”
“Our achievements could not have been made without the help and support of the Canton Fair.” When one drinks water, one must not forget where it comes from. We can see that Wu Xiong and his daughter are very much attached to the Canton Fair. Many similar stories can be heard of at the Canton Fair. It is them that constitute the most solid foundation of the Fair.
Source: Canton Fair Press Center
Reporter: Feng Meikang