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China tech

China's largest trade fair goes online as coronavirus shuts doors

Canton Fair kicks off with businesses wondering about usefulness of virtual encounters

SHANGHAI/GUANGZHOU/HONG KONG -- China's biggest import and export fair started on Monday in some of the strangest of circumstances of its six decades -- in a digital format and minus physical visitors.

Canton Import and Export Fair has been a semiannual diary fixture for businesses across the region since 1957, drawing hundreds of thousands of international visitors to the southern city of Guangzhou, the crucible of China's reform-era industrial transformation. Producers of everything from food products to solar panels use it as a chance to make contacts and strike deals with existing or potential customers.

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