Desperate for new customers, Chinese factories have been bombarding Josef Jelinek with e-mails everyday. One wants the British businessman to order a shipment of whirling toy helicopters. Another touts a multimedia gizmo called the V-disk.
"They've been coming thick and heavy over the last few months. This never happened before," he said.
Jelinek has no interest in toys or electronics. His main job is scouring China for lead pipes and other construction materials for a shopping mall project in Cairo.
The blind, mass-mailing approach targeting him, however, highlights the growing anxiety among Chinese exporters as they near a crucial period -- the time when they get the bulk of their orders for the summer season and Christmas.