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Asia's biggest musical instrument show opens in Shanghai

Asia's biggest musical instrument show began today at the Shanghai New International Expo Center.

"The show, entitled Music China 2009, has set an all-time record with nine countries and regions to build pavilions," said Wang Gentian, director of China Musical Instrument Association.

The pavilions set up by Czech Republic, France, German, Italy, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Spain, UK and China's Taiwan will showcase new instruments and technologies, Wang said.

The four-day event, which is sponsored by the association, INTEX Shanghai and Messe Frankfurt (HK),, has exhibits from 1,133 exhibitors from 24 countries and regions.

"China's musical instrument industry has still maintained a stable export growth although it was hit by the financial crisis last year," said Wang.

Customs statistics showed that China exported musical instruments valued at $1.52 billion in 2008, up 24.4 percent over 2007, and imported $196 million worth of products, an increase of 19.3 percent.

"China is becoming the world's biggest musical instrument market," he said.

According to the instrument association, a majority of Chinese-made musical instruments were sold to the markets in the United States, German, Japan, Hong Kong, Britain, Belgium, South Korea, Brazil, the Netherlands and Canada.

Wang said the United States is still the biggest importer of China's musical instruments, accounting for 31.9 per cent of China's exports of musical instruments in 2008.

Organizers said lectures on musical knowledge and instruments will be held during the show to echo principal forums on musical and piano education.