CIIE preparations highlight confidence in China market

Huang Yixuan
This year's expo will see participation from even more of the world's leading companies, as well as larger exhibition areas.
Huang Yixuan

As the third China International Import Expo is around the corner, more foreign enterprises have revealed their plans to seize the opportunity to further expand their business in China despite the present uncertainties.

Compared with the previous sessions, the CIIE this year saw more renowned enterprises registering for participation, with the average exhibition area of Fortune Global 500 enterprises and leading enterprises in various industries increasing by around 14 percent from the second CIIE, which demonstrates the confidence of global enterprises in China’s economic growth and future development prospects.

German retail company Metro AG, an exhibitor and also a supplier for the exhibition venue of the third CIIE, said the expo is a good opportunity to show the quality and safety of their food products to Chinese customers.

"At a time of increased uncertainties in global trade, the CIIE provides a valuable platform for global companies to demonstrate their key products or services and build communication with potential partners," said Claude Sarrailh, president of Metro AG China.

"In the previous two sessions, we successfully established strategic partnerships with many well-known enterprises. We look forward to exploring more cooperation opportunities with Chinese and international companies at the third expo to inject momentum for accelerating our development in China," Sarrailh said.

To further expand its business in China, the company has made plans to open more stores and develop its online sales channels, according to Bertrand Mothe, vice president of offer management at Metro AG.

Cargill, an American food corporation, announced at the second expo that it would set up its Asia-Pacific headquarters for agricultural supply chain in Shanghai. 

Although faced with headwinds from this year’s COVID-19 outbreak, the company, with the support of local authorities, continued to push forward the project and saw it come to fruition in August 2020, to be the fourth regional headquarters for Cargill’s agricultural supply chain after Sao Paulo, Geneva and Minneapolis.

David MacLennan, chairman and chief executive officer of Cargill, said that the reason for the company's choice of Shanghai was closely related to the expo. 

"After participating in the CIIE for two consecutive years, we have felt the important role of this platform and the charm of the Chinese market. We have upgraded our China headquarters to our Asia-Pacific headquarters. We will continue to increase our investment in China in the future," according to MacLennan.

German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer, meanwhile, announced to expand its expo booth this year to 400 square meters, doubling its size from the previous two sessions. 

At the same time, the company revealed plans to invest an additional 50 million euros (US$58 million) to increase the production capacity of its prescription drug factory in Beijing. The project will be equipped with a new high-speed automatic production line and a supporting automatic logistics system.

In addition, Sweden’s home furnishing retailer IKEA, which will also take part in the CIIE for the third consecutive year, plans to invest 200 million yuan (US$29.32 million) into China to optimize product manufacturing, design and logistics. It will also add more stores in Shanghai, the Guangdong-Hong Hong-Macau Greater Bay area, and in cities including Fuzhou, Nanning and Kunming.

"The excellent performance of the Chinese market made us decide to participate more deeply in the third expo," said Francois Brenti, vice president of IKEA China.

The company showed up at the Swedish pavilion in the first expo and set up an independent exhibition booth in the second session. At the third CIIE this year, IKEA will double the size of exhibition area to 360 square meters, according to Brenti.

"We hope to make good use of the platform to show our innovative home life solutions to more consumers. We also regard the expo as a great opportunity for us to contact and communicate with various stakeholders including customers, suppliers, employees and investors," Brenti added.

Despite the recent uncertainties led by the COVID-19 epidemic and the complex international trade situation, a recent survey by the Ministry of Commerce showed that 99.1 percent of foreign-funded enterprises said they would continue to invest and do business in China.

In the period from January to August, the actual use of foreign capital added up to US$89 billion, down slightly by 0.3 percent from the same period last year. In particular, the decline in the utilization of foreign capital narrowed month by month since April, which was better than expected, according to the ministry.

A report by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said that, despite the Trump administration’s push for US companies to reshore their operations, more than three-quarters of respondents (78.6 percent) reported no change in their investment strategy allocations, a 5.1 percent increase compared with 2019.

Also, according to the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, in the areas where the chamber members are able to participate in China’s economy, they reported no significant change in plans to redirect current or planned investments elsewhere. 

Results from the chamber’s annual business confidence survey showed that only 11 percent of member companies were considering doing so, which was toward the lower end of the norm for the past decade.

Preparations for the third China International Import Expo have entered a crucial sprint phase, as Saturday marks the 40-day countdown to the expo.

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