SMEs look to CIIE for growth opportunities in China

Wang Yanlin Yang Meiping Ding Yining
Small and medium-sized enterprises from various countries, and across a wide range of industries, perceive the CIIE as an ideal platform to get engaged with the Chinese market.
Wang Yanlin Yang Meiping Ding Yining
SMEs look to CIIE for growth opportunities in China
Wang Yanlin / SHINE

The Poland National Pavilion at the 6th China International Import Expo.

This is the fifth year that the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, a unit of Poland's Ministry of Economy, has organized enterprises from the central European country to participate in the China International Import Expo.

Since 2018, more than 170 Polish companies have attended the CIIE, and nearly 90 percent of them small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

"The CIIE is a very important platform for Polish exhibitors to get close to Chinese consumers and sell their products in China," said Andrzej Juchniewicz, chief representative of the agency. "They hope to find ideal partners, importers and quality agents at this large-scale platform."

Not just SMEs from Poland but those from various other countries, and across a wide range of industries, perceive the CIIE an ideal platform to get engaged with the Chinese market.

Among them, around 100 participating companies from 30 of the least developed countries will continue to enjoy free booth policies. Meanwhile, an alliance of SMEs from the US, as well as Korea SMEs and Startups Agency, join the expo for the first time, while an African agricultural products section has made its debut and an enterprise matchmaking meeting will be held.

SMEs look to CIIE for growth opportunities in China

Korea SMEs and Startups Agency joins the CIIE for the first time, exhibiting more than 50 products, including masks and toothpastes that are household names in South Korea. With an agreement signed on Monday, the products will be presented soon in the E-Innovation Valley in Minhang District under a partnership with the Eland Group.

Among the 3,486 CIIE exhibitors this year, more than 1,500 are SMEs. They boast an exhibition area of more than 46,000 square meters, an increase of 40 percent in the number and area of participation compared with the previous edition of the expo.

Ning Feng, general manager of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the CIIE venue in Qingpu District, has witnessed the growing popularity of the expo among SMEs.

"SMEs hope to share the development opportunities of the Chinese market through the CIIE platform, seize the dividend of opening up to the outside world, which is also one of the purposes of the expo," Ning said.

Polish exhibitors, covering food, agricultural and sideline products, consumer goods, high-end technology, manufacturing, medical care, logistics, service trade and amber jewelry, have already found a position in China, which is seeking high-quality growth and try to unleash the country's consumption potential to accelerate the growth.

"In recent years Poland has become the main exporter of dairy products to China. Especially during the pandemic, many Polish dairy product brands entered the Chinese market. Polish cosmetics are also welcomed by Chinese consumers, mainly through cross-border e-commerce," said Juchniewicz.

Poland remains China's largest trading partner and largest export market among Central and Eastern European countries, while China is Poland's second largest trading partner and second largest source of imports. In 2022, China-Poland trade reached US$43.2 billion.

As one of the main export markets in the European Union, with about 80 percent of Poland's exports going to other European countries such as Germany, France and Belgium, Poland hopes that its companies and products can go beyond the halo of Europe or the EU, Juchniewicz noted.

"I believe the figures of CIIE speak for themselves. Enterprises from all over the world hope to come to China and promote the quality products of different countries in China," Juchniewicz said.

"I believe that China is the only country in the world that can hold such an excellent, open and inclusive exhibition."

SMEs look to CIIE for growth opportunities in China

Italian handmade jewelry maker Marco Russo (center behind) is also a beneficiary of the CIIE.

Italian handmade jewelry maker Marco Russo is also a beneficiary of the CIIE. He is the fourth generation of the family from Naples, returning for the first time since 2020 and has brought a new collection for the local market.

China now makes up about one third of the firm's total business following Russo's presence at the 2019 and 2020 editions of the CIIE.

Russo hopes this year's event will further boost his the business growth in the Chinese market, having brought a new collection for men featuring dragon patterns, a special legendary symbol in Chinese culture, to the expo.

Russo's family specializes in creating cameos, a type of jewelry with carving on shells deemed to be a symbol of power, wealth, and status.

He also is considering adding phoenix elements to his future designs of necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings, which could be appealing to Chinese customers.

"The CIIE sets up a stage for all, and the future is also shared by all," Ning said.

Special Reports