International event organisers were quick to cancel events on the mainland in response to the Sars outbreak. The World Economic Forum postponed its annual China Business Summit in Beijing until September or October. Terrapin, the business media company, cancelled its annual Funds World China summit scheduled for early April in Shanghai. The annual general meetings of the World Gold Council and the London Bullion market Association, both due to be held in Shanghai in May, were also postponed.
However most domestic organisers pressed ahead with their plans, no doubt encouraged to do so by government authorities that wanted to portray a message of business as usual. The 10th Shanghai International Automotive Industrial Exposition was scheduled to open on April 21. The show is the largest of its kind in China.
The China Export Commodities Fair in Guangzhou also got underway, despite hundreds of foreign participants pulling out of the event. Last spring the fair claimed to have secured US$16.85bn in export orders, 14 per cent of the nation's annual export total. The inbound manager for Guangzhou International Travel Services, He Jiebin, said all of her 1,000 foreign group clients had cancelled their travel plans. The few foreign visitors who did turn up said they could not afford to stay away because the fair was so important to their business.
The Boao Forum for Asia, scheduled for May 18 and 19, was also scheduled to go ahead. The forum, held in the resort of Boao in Hainan province, is strongly supported by former president Jiang Zemin. A final decision on the event was expected to be taken at the end of April.
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