This photo taken on May 16, 2023 shows an exhibition hall of the China-Central & Eastern European Countries (CEEC) Expo in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province.(Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)
NINGBO, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Around 3,000 types of new products, ranging from agricultural produce, wines and cosmetics to high-end manufacturing and services products, are being showcased at the ongoing third China-Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) Expo & International Consumer Goods Fair, offering a glimpse into China's consumption upgrade trend.
As a first-time exhibitor at the China-CEEC expo, Grzegorz Sienkiewicz, chief executive officer of the Polish cosmetics company Four Starlings, was excited to see visitors at his exhibition booth.
Founded in 2015, the Polish company makes natural handcrafted cosmetics products that have entered more than 300 retail stores globally. "Our care products are based on natural raw materials of high quality," he said. The company does not use artificial fragrances or plastic packaging, and all its products are handmade, he added.
Chinese consumption has changed in recent years, he said. Chinese people are increasingly paying attention to the environmental value of goods and are willing to pay for environmentally friendly and sustainable products.
To aid Chinese consumers' pursuit of eco-friendly lifestyles, the company selected its bestselling products for this year's expo, such as handmade soaps and face creams.
"As the world's second-largest consumer market, China holds irresistible appeal to global businesses. I hope to use the expo platform to introduce more green products to Chinese consumers. I believe my company will have massive development in China," he added.
At this year's expo, 14 products with European Union geographical indications made their debuts, including the Polish beer Van Pur. It is the largest independent brewing company in Poland, and has opened its first overseas representative office in Shanghai thanks to its rapidly growing sales in China.
China has always been a huge consumer of beer, but preferences are shifting away from industrial beers to more premium and craft brews. The demand for high-end beers has been rising in recent years, said Mateusz Gonet, sales director of the business unit of Van Pur.
"We noticed the consumption upgrade trend before entering China. So we studied the preferences of Chinese consumers and selected a wide range of high-quality beers with different flavors to satisfy diversified consumer demand," he said. The company hopes to seize the huge opportunities in the Chinese consumer market by providing tailored, quality products.
The booth operated by Elan, a Slovenian ski manufacturer, is attracting a steady stream of visitors. As the first-time exhibitor, the company, which produces 600,000 skis a year, has set up a ski slope on-site to give visitors an immersive experience.
An enterprise delegate from Slovenia displays ski equipment at the China-Central & Eastern European Countries (CEEC) Expo in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province, May 16, 2023.(Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)
Snow and ice sports were niche in China. Driven by the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, winter sports have since been gaining popularity among Chinese people, said Cao Xing, vice general manager of Beijing Snowelan Sports Development, Elan's general agency in China.
"When the brand entered China, we sold hundreds of skis annually. Now the figure has increased to about 20,000," said Cao.
According to a 2022 China snow and ice industry development research report, the total scale of China's snow and ice industry is forecast to exceed 1 trillion yuan (about 143 billion U.S. dollars) in 2025. Chinese authorities have mentioned the promotion of the industry and the construction of ski tourism resorts in several planning documents.
"More cities in south China are building indoor ski resorts. We hope to explore the market in south China through this exhibition and achieve double-digit growth in China in the next few years," said Leon Korosec, who works with Elan, at the expo.
China and CEECs have seen closer economic and trade ties in recent years. As a trade catalyst between China and CEECs, the 3rd China-CEEC Expo & International Consumer Goods Fair has attracted more than 3,000 exhibitors, including over 400 exhibitors from CEECs and other European countries. The expo will conclude on Saturday.
Data from China's commerce ministry shows that since 2012, China's trade with CEECs has grown at an average annual rate of 8.1 percent, and China's imports from CEECs have increased at an average rate of 9.2 percent annually.
In the first quarter of this year, two-way trade totaled 33.3 billion U.S. dollars, up 1.6 percent year on year. The two-way trade of agricultural and food products totaled 720 million U.S. dollars from January to April this year, surging 34 percent year on year. ■