Webinar: Explore the Chinese market at the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) – 26 May 2023

Webinar: Explore the Chinese market at the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) – 26 May 2023

The Flanders-China Chamber of Commerce (FCCC), supported by Flanders Investment & Trade, held a webinar, “Explore the Chinese Market at the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE)” to inform about the 6th CIIE trade fair in Shanghai from 5 to 10 November 2023. The webinar took place on May 26, 2023.

Ms. Gwenn Sonck, Executive Director of the Flanders-China Chamber of Commerce (FCCC) welcomed the participants to the webinar to learn about the benefits of participating in the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE). This is an excellent opportunity to export your products and contact potential business partners. The CIIE is one of the largest annual fairs in China. Representatives of the CIIE and of Bank of China (BOC) will explain the opportunities and activities at the CIIE. During the Expo you can increase your brand exposure in the huge Chinese consumer market. With its growing middle class and increasing demand for quality consumer products and services, China still presents a significant potential for our companies looking to expand their customer base and increase their revenue by stepping into the market.

A recent report on China's consumer market predicted that from 2022 to 2030, China's middle and upper classes will increase by over 800 million, to account for 40% of the country's total population. China's economy expanded by 4.5% in the first quarter of 2023, which is better than expected and indicates that China's economic recovery is right on track. The growth rate for the Chinese economy for this year is set a 5%. Two-way trade between the EU and China has maintained a steady growth, with the daily trade volume exceeding €2 billion, making the two sides each other's second biggest trading partners.

Flanders' exports to China in 2022 declined by 5%, reflecting the backlash of the atypical rise of pharmaceutical exports during the corona year of 2020. Flanders' exports to China reached almost €7 billion, while imports from China reached almost €33 billion, an increase of almost 46%. This increase is remarkable and mainly due to Chinese electric vehicle imports. Our main exports from Flanders to China were chemicals and pharmaceuticals (30%), machines and appliances, electronic equipment and plastics.

Mr Li Weixin, Director of the Exhibition Department of the China International Import-Export Bureau, expressed its gratitude to Belgium for its long-time attention and support to the CIIE and welcomed the participants to the online promotion event. The CIIE has been held for the past five years with continued improvement in policies and benefits. Its international influence has become increasingly extensive. Its main functions are international procurement and investment promotion. Cultural exchanges and cooperation have played an increasingly prominent role. The CIIE has become a window for China to build a new development paradigm for promoting high-level opening up.

Belgium is an important participating country in the CIIE. Its many high-quality companies in sectors such as fruit and agricultural products, industry and information technology, medical equipment and health care, the port of Antwerp and the world-famous chocolate brand Guylian, took part in the 3rd, 4th and 5th CIIE and have signed contracts during the CIIE. UCB, one of the global top 100 companies, also participated in the last CIIE. Last month, Deputy Director General Sun Chenghai of the CIIE Bureau, visited Belgium and held talks with Umicore and the Flanders-China Chamber of Commerce to invite more SMEs to participate in the 6th CIIE.

The 6th CIIE will be held in Shanghai from 5 to 10 November, consisting of the country exhibition, enterprise and business exhibitions, the Hongqiao Forum and professional activities and cultural exchange events. Preparations are progressing comprehensively. The country exhibition will be held off-line. Major exhibition areas are food and agriculture; automobiles; information technologies; consumer goods, medical equipment and health products; and trade in services. The exhibition area is over 290,000 sq m. Many CEOs of multinationals have confirmed their participation at the CIIE.

The Hongqiao Forum will invite national leaders and industrial insiders to conduct dialogue on the theme of global openness. The preparations for professional activities and cultural exchange events are also steadily progressing. Next month, the CIIE Bureau will invite exhibitors to Yunnan and members of the FCCC are welcome to join. We will optimize and enhance the exhibition experience and build an internationally high-quality expo and a global high-level forum and continue to write a new chapter in the CIIE's story of openness, cooperation and double-win outcome. Mr. Li invited the member companies of the FCCC to participate in the CIIE, sharing the great opportunities in the Chinese market. Mr. Li said he was looking forward to meet everyone at the CIIE venue.

Ms. Zhang Yaqi, Manager of the China International Import Expo Department of the National Exhibition and Convention Center's trade in services area, explained that the trade in services section focuses on the whole life cycle of commercial activities and gathers elements from four dimensions: business flow, logistics, information flow, and capital flow. It has sectors such as financial services, consulting services, a trade platform, shipping logistics and cultural tourism. Global leading enterprises are participating in the services area. The CIIE is a political and commercial platform and a business college of the world. The CIIE integrates offline and online activities to implement a new exhibition form. The Special Committee of the Smart Supply Chain will introduce new opportunities for cross-border e-commerce, and opportunities offered by the RCEP and by the digital economy. The trade in services section can be contacted at tradeinservice@ciie.org and tel.: +86-21-968888.

Ms. Zhang Erjia, Manager of the CIIE Department of the National Exhibition and Convention Center's Food and Agricultural Products Area, introduced the six themes presented in the 360,000 sq m exhibition area. The food exhibition area is 90,000 sq m with over a thousand enterprises from a hundred countries and regions participating, including Fortune 500 enterprises, organized in 39 trading groups and 600 subgroups. The intended turnover of the food exhibition is nearly USD20 billion. The price of a booth (raw space) is USD300/sq m with a minimum of 36 sq m or a standard booth at USD3,000 per 9 sq m. The National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) is the largest single exhibition building in operation and one of the landmarks of Shanghai. It includes exhibition areas, office buildings and hotels with a construction area of over 1.5 million sq m. Application email: exhibition@ciie.org

Ms. Chen Weicheng, Manager of Bank of China Shanghai Branch, talked about the financial services that the bank offers to participants of the fair. The Bank of China is also a long-time structural partner of the FCCC. BOC is offering comprehensive support to the CIIE. In 2017, President Xi Jinping attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and announced that China would hold the CIIE in 2018. After five years of successfully holding the Expo, the CIIE as a platform for international procurement, investment promotion, people-to-people exchange, and openness, and cooperation has become increasingly important as a link between China and the world.

Bank of China is a strategic partner and full-service banking partner of the CIIE. The CIIE is highly consistent with the BOC's mission. As the exclusive financial institution partner of the country exhibition, the BOC has offered comprehensive support to the offline pavilions display and online digital exhibition hall. Since the first CIIE, the BOC has offered full-process support in 63 countries and regions and 74 roadshows, and supported match-making activities. BOC also actively supported events at the Hongqiao International Economic Forum and is the exclusive host of the trade and investment matchmaking conference. The bank has developed a global matchmaking enterprise ecosystem. Since the first CIIE, BOC has provided one-to-one matchmaking services for 4,238 exhibitors and 8,631 buyers from more than 100 countries and regions and helped to seal 4,845 deals. During the Expo, the Bank of China also provides on-site financial services, such as the digital yuan corridor and the metaverse experience area.

For this year's CIIE, BOC has cooperated with the CIIE Bureau to carry out 21 roadshows in areas such as Hong Kong and Macao, and countries including Argentina, Panama, Singapore, Australia, France, Germany and Italy, and intends to support 13 more overseas promotion sessions in the coming months. The bank has set up the BOC Buyer Group and played a major role in carrying out domestic roadshows and hosting the trade and investment matchmaking conference. The BOC offers its comprehensive range of basic and customized financial services before, during and after the CIIE, including the BOC Global Matchmaking E-platform. The BOC is now working on the customized financial services solution for the 6th CIIE. The system offers more than 60 tradable currencies, more than 30 convertible currencies and 110 quotable foreign currencies for online and offline transactions.

Bank of China has six advantages:

• global network: nearly 600 branches in 63 countries and regions

• all-round services: covering commercial and investment banking, securities, insurance, fintech, etc.

• specialized in foreign trade finance: first in international and cross-border settlement volume

• vast experience in exhibitions: rich experience in hosting large-scale events

• onsite network: the largest bank outlet at the NECC

• international talent base: professionals in more than 30 languages

Bank of China is the only bank in China with more than 100 years of continuous operation and is the largest bank in the world in terms of international settlement volume. It ranked 4th in the Top 500 Global Banking Brands.

A Q&A session concluded the webinar. Is the CIIE also open for B2C business? Ms. Zuo Yimei: In previous years, the CIIE was only open to professional audiences, but this year, the last few days may be open to the general public. It is not only a B2B but also a B2C exhibition.