Toilets, Laptops and a Vibration-Healing Machine

An MGU professor hoped Tuesday that his years-long search for someone to build his vibration-healing machine would end this week at the Crocus-Expo center.

Mikhail Fomin, a professor of medicine at Moscow State University, was among thousands of people who showed up for the opening of a trade exhibit organized by the Chinese Commerce Ministry. Among the flashy displays were Chery Automobile's glistening red A1 model, Huawei Electronics' flat-screen televisions and the Huamin's model of a business center being built in northeastern Moscow with Mayor Yury Luzhkov's blessing.

Fomin said he was pinning his hopes on the Chinese after the Germans, Japanese, Americans and Koreans refused to build the vibration-healing machine he started developing in the 1970s. "Their labor isn't as cheap as China's," he said in Crocus' hall No. 5, meters away from a red stage where Chinese and Russian officials signed deal after deal to the flash of cameras.

Fomin wasn't the only person looking to establish contacts.

"I'm here from Minsk looking for things like air conditioners and laptops," said Anatoly Tkachev, head of the logistics department for the Belarussian presidential administration. He was walking among the stalls with his adult son.

In hall No. 8, a Moscow-based German clothing entrepreneur who declined to give his name said he intended to find textiles partners for his company.

Casual observers also took the opportunity to look at Chinese wares. Lidia Boriseva, who received an invitation through her employer, a hotel, said she liked what she saw. "Specifically the bathroom-outfitting products," she said.

The Chinese appeared more than ready to provide whatever the visitors sought. In addition to cars and electronics, booths offered contacts on shipbuilding, construction, tourism and even army clothing and equipment.

At the Chinese Shipbuilding Industry's stall stood a painted and polished model submarine. The company, said Yang, a representative who only gave his last name, is looking for a Russian partner to help build a working version of the submarine by early next year.

Even the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China had a stand — and it was being mobbed by Chinese entrepreneurs looking to open businesses in Russia, said Dong Wei, head of the bank's foundation committee. The bank intends to open a Moscow branch by June.

"We're here for the opportunity to provide services to these bilateral developments," Dong said.