How trade connects the world -- a glimpse of Chinese market at CIIE

2020-11-11 03:48:08 GMT2020-11-11 11:48:08(Beijing Time) Xinhua English
Photo taken on Nov. 7, 2020 shows the booth of Nike at the Consumer Goods exhibition area during the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China.(Xinhua/Li Renzi)  Photo taken on Nov. 7, 2020 shows the booth of Nike at the Consumer Goods exhibition area during the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China.(Xinhua/Li Renzi)

SHANGHAI, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- With partners now in over 80 countries, Israeli company Watergen, which develops water-from-air solutions, has greatly expanded its business relations after attending the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai last year.

Ivan Melnikov, Watergen's chief representative in China, used an exclamation mark when texting about the development to Xinhua, while Michael Mirilashvili, the company's president called the expo "highly impressive." Their booth was up in Shanghai for the third CIIE, which ran from Nov. 5-10.

The high-tech Israeli company is among hundreds of global firms that are fixtures at the expo. Official data showed that up to 70 percent of the world's top 500 companies that participated in the first two expos were again present this year.

What attracted them here is not only China's booming market and great potential, but also the power of trade itself. As the COVID-19 pandemic is raging across the world and crippling the global economy, face-to-face trading like what happens at the CIIE also means boosting people's confidence and pooling efforts for a post-pandemic recovery.


For many overseas exhibitors like Roy Van Den Hurk, who runs a dairy company in New Zealand, the 14-day quarantine before attending the third CIIE and another 14 days on the way back home, among other restrictions, are worthwhile.

"The sales volumes are definitely increased each time we've been to the CIIE," Van Den Hurk said.

Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, business opportunities at the CIIE have attracted 2,600-odd global exhibitors to the Chinese financial hub.

As of Saturday, up to 861 "cooperation intentions" were reached at online or offline sessions attended by 674 exhibitors and 1,351 buyers from 64 countries and regions, according to the CIIE bureau.

"I have great confidence in the Chinese market and economy, which is now the second largest market for Elekta after the United States," said Gustaf Salford, acting president and CEO of Elekta, a Swedish medical equipment producer.

"China's performance was indeed beyond my expectations," Salford said. Elekta China's performance in the second quarter was essentially the same as last year despite the pandemic, he said.

The Swedish company, which has been a CIIE exhibitor since 2018, this year exhibited its Elekta Unity, the world's first high-field magnetic resonance-guided adaptive linear accelerator, which has already seen orders two days after launching to the public in Shanghai.

The resilience of China's economy has been a magnet for more foreign companies and the CIIE is deemed as an important platform to deepen their roots in the Chinese market.

"There's a lot of untapped potential in the Chinese economy, and this fits with our localization efforts as well," said Alan Gabor, president of Merck China, which plans to set up a new R&D lab in Shanghai.

Over 50 Fortune Global 500 companies and leading enterprises, including Michelin, Abbott, Nike, Icona and Uniqlo, made their debut at this year's expo and hundreds of new products, technologies and services were introduced to the Chinese market for the first time, more than half of which made their world debut.


Aiming to turn the Chinese market into "a market for the world, a market shared by all, and a market accessible to all," Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that the CIIE acts a major platform for international procurement, investment promotion, cultural exchange and open cooperation.

To make the best use of the platform to build cross-border trade bonds, entrepreneurs who could not attend the expo tried various ways to tap China's growth, which in many ways means global trends as well.

In a Kazakhstan booth, potential buyers communicated online via 35 tablet computers with exhibitors of the country, an attraction at the expo.

At a booth displaying Argentine beef, Sebastian Bendayan, who flew 30 hours to Shanghai with four member of his beef promotion association, has been busy receiving scores of visitors at the exhibition as he had to represent another 54 members who couldn't come. Big progress has been made, he told Xinhua.

With a total population of 1.4 billion and a middle-income group that exceeds 400 million, the Chinese market is viewed as the most promising in the world. Moreover, the spillover effect of China's "dual circulation" development pattern has benefited international companies' performance beyond China.

Noting that more than 50 percent of L'Oreal's sales in China come via e-commerce, Jean-Paul Agon, CEO of the cosmetics giant, said that "We are learning a lot in China and thanks to the learning that we have in China, we are improving our performance in e-commerce in all the countries of the world."


Without the deals signed at the previous Shanghai expos and the e-commerce channel with Chinese buyers, his family business in saffron and Persian carpets would not survive the COVID-19 pandemic, Iranian exhibitor Mahdi Barid Olyaei told Xinhua.

This year Mahdi secured an exhibition area of 36 square meters, bigger than nine square meters in 2018, and adeptly combined livestream platforms with in-person promotion to make his products reach more people.

Tackling difficult problems through cooperation is one function of the CIIE platform. Fostering a brighter future for humanity is another.

Attending the Shanghai expo for the third year, Maximilian Foerst, president of ZEISS China, said the German company wants to show its innovation ability in high-tech and medical technology at the expo, strengthen cooperation with other partners, and enjoy opportunities in China.

Three years on, trade bonds established at the CIIE have benefited a lot of participants. Especially in a year clouded by the COVID-19 pandemic, willingness to join the expo demonstrates a vote of confidence in the Chinese market and China's role in the world.

The power of trade, both in goods and services, is boosting people's confidence in future development, as well as efforts to overcome the pandemic.

"Our company would like to bridge Chinese enterprises and their foreign counterparts to establish win-win cooperation focusing on the Chinese market," said Zhang Hailiang, the CEO of consulting firm Tricor Group, which was present at the third expo for the first time.

Impressed by the face-to-face communication with customers at the expo, Zhang told Xinhua that Tricor will be here for the next CIIE as he is confident about the number of potential customers at the next show.

According to official data, 29 enterprises registered for the fourth CIIE in 2021 on the first day of this year's expo, and nearly 100 exhibitors had already signed deals to attend the expo in the next three years before the opening of the third CIIE.

As the curtain falls on the third CIIE on Tuesday, the expo bureau announced that the six-day show has accrued 72.62 billion U.S. dollars' worth of tentative deals, an increase of 2.1 percent compared with that of last year.

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