* With the 6th CIIE just around the corner, preparations are in full swing.
* Despite challenges and uncertainties, the CIIE has steadily grown, with China's opening up benefiting the world.
* CIIE has become a symbol of China's new development pattern and an international public good shared by the world.
SHANGHAI, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- In just one month, the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), colloquially known as the "four-leaf clover," will once again assume its role as the host for the newest edition of China International Import Expo (CIIE), signifying the first complete return to in-person exhibitions for the event since COVID-19.
As the globe's first national-level exposition dedicated to imports, the CIIE serves as a resounding testament to China's increasingly welcoming stance and unwavering dedication to promoting high-level opening-up and makes the clover-shaped edifice a "four-leaf clover," symbolizing prosperity and bringing good fortune to the global economy.
In November 2018, the inaugural CIIE commenced in China's economic hub, a groundbreaking event in the history of global trade. During the opening ceremony, China made a solemn commitment to the world, stating that the CIIE would not only continue annually but also improve in quality and effectiveness.
Despite challenges and uncertainties, over the past five years, the CIIE has steadily grown, with China's opening up benefiting the world.
In the previous five editions, 131 countries and international organizations participated in country exhibitions, with nearly 2,000 new products, technologies, and services making their debuts and a total intended turnover reaching nearly 350 billion U.S. dollars.
"The CIIE has become a symbol of China's new development pattern, a platform for high-level opening-up, and an international public good shared by the world," said Sun Chenghai, deputy director of the CIIE Bureau.
This aerial photo taken on Nov. 2, 2021 shows a view of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) in east China's Shanghai. (Xinhua)
PREPARATIONS IN FULL SWING
With the 6th CIIE just around the corner, preparations are in full swing. According to the bureau, over 60 countries have officially announced their participation in this year's country exhibition. Notably, prominent international organizations, including the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the International Trade Centre, have also confirmed their attendance.
From exotic specialties originating in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu to Michelin's environmentally friendly tire, made with up to 63 percent sustainable materials, products from various corners of the globe are converging on Shanghai by land, sea, and air.
The China-Europe freight train has become a popular choice of transportation among the approximately 3,000 companies attending the CIIE. The operator, Shanghai Oriental Silk Road Multimodal Transport Co., Ltd., has announced that this year, the CIIE edition of China-Europe freight train service will be increased to three trains, continuously transporting CIIE exhibition products across the Eurasian continent to Shanghai.
As CIIE exhibits make their way to China, participants across the globe are busy preparing for their CIIE return, from submitting visa materials to booking hotels and preparing for product launches.
Roy van den Hurk, Milk New Zealand Dairy Limited CEO, is no exception. He's a dedicated fan of the CIIE and will be attending for the fifth time to showcase his company's products.
This year, van den Hurk brings a new product destined for the CIIE. The company's New Zealand 72-hour fresh milk was a star exhibit at the first CIIE, born under policies promoting trade facilitation. This year, its upgraded version will be launched at the 6th CIIE. "We've tasted the sweetness at the CIIE, and we certainly can't miss such a great opportunity."
The businessman believes that the new product's "72-hour journey from the New Zealand pasture to the Chinese consumer's table" will also become a reality very soon, serving as tangible proof of "China's speed."
This photo taken on Nov. 8, 2021 shows the booth of L'Oreal of France at the 4th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in east China's Shanghai. (Xinhua/Meng Tao)
BOON FOR GLOBAL PARTICIPANTS
Year after year, the booming CIIE reflects the confidence that global players in different sectors have in the Chinese market and their development prospects. The lucky four-leaf clover-shaped venue strings together global enterprises, accelerates the development of overseas companies in China, and transforms numerous CIIE's "first-time visitors" into "frequenters."
The CIIE holds immense significance. In 2018, a substantial Brazilian delegation made its mark at the expo, but the 2023 edition promises to be even more substantial and impactful, said Augusto Pestana, Consul General of Brazil in Shanghai.
Seizing the opportunity, new participants are eager to try their luck. According to data provided by the bureau, nearly 20 Fortune Global 500 and industry-leading companies, as well as over 500 small and medium-sized enterprises have also signed up for the first time.
Shortly after the conclusion of the 5th CIIE, U.S. technology company Analog Devices (ADI) was determined to join the "early bird" ranks at the 6th CIIE. The company secured a 300-square-meter booth in the intelligent industry and information technology pavilion, marking its debut at the expo. The company will showcase not only a variety of products and solutions for the first time in China but also focus on cutting-edge technologies such as edge intelligence.
"China's robust development of the digital economy, promotion of industrial upgrading, and transition to an environmentally friendly economy provide us with significant opportunities," said Zhao Chuanyu, vice president of sales for ADI China.
Among the 3,000 global companies participating this year, approximately 200 companies have been signing up for six consecutive years, and around 400 companies are returning to the expo after a gap of more than two years.
For the CIIE frequenter of Henkel, moving into the intelligent industry and information technology pavilion of the expo is exciting. Rajat Agarwal, President of Henkel Greater China, believes it is a great chance to further integrate with China's industrial chain and assist the high-quality development of China's manufacturing industry, adding that China is a huge market with strong growth potential, filled with various exciting opportunities.
A staff member of the Polish investment and trade agency (front, L) introduces beer to a purchasing agent during a pre-exhibition supply and demand matchmaking meeting for the sixth China International Import Expo in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, Aug. 29, 2023. (Xinhua/Mao Siqian)
"The expo shows that China is open for business with the rest of the world. It's a great opportunity for multinationals such as Henkel to showcase our technologies. It's a place that is attracting visitors from all across the country as well as many visitors from around the world, affording us the chance to engage with our existing clients and forge connections with potential future partners," said the senior executive.
Some of the CIIE "loyal fans" have already signed up for the next edition of the expo. The CIIE Bureau revealed that the recruitment for the 7th CIIE began as early as June this year. As of mid-September, the contracted exhibition area has exceeded 40,000 square meters.
Among the trendsetters is L'Oréal. According to Fabrice Megarbane, L'Oréal North Asia Zone president and chief executive officer of L'Oréal China, the country holds a position of great significance within L'Oréal, representing the second-largest market and a robust source of future growth for L'Oréal.
L'Oréal's engagement within China's advanced digital ecosystem has been a valuable experience. It has not only positioned the group for success within China but has also facilitated the transfer of substantial insights and expertise beyond China's borders, said Megarbane. (Video reporters: Sun Qing, Zhou Rui, Cen Zhilian; Video editors: Zhang Qiru, Zhao Xiaoqing, Zheng Xin) ■