Chengdu places huge orders at China International Import Expo
Industrial powerhouse city is drawing greater attention from around the world, Yuan Shenggao reports.
Chengdu has reaped a heavy harvest at the ongoing China International Import Expo in Shanghai, with businesses from the city in Southwest China placing huge orders with various countries, including the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.
A total of 14 deals were inked at a procurement signing ceremony hosted by the Chengdu city government on Tuesday. The transactions covered a variety of sectors, including intelligent manufacturing, automotive, energy investment and trade in services.
The government also took the opportunity to brief visitors on its opening-up policies and market with enormous potential to tap into.
Nearly 2,000 professional buyers from Chengdu attended the special session.
The event showcased Chengdu’s allure as a major export destination and as a big spender, which would promote the city’s international competitiveness, its organizers said.
“It provides participants with a unique opportunity to broaden their horizons and accelerate the pace of going global and bringing in brands, investment, technology and management expertise,” said Liu Yunqiang, rotating president of alcoholic beverage retail outlet 1919.
The event facilitated his company’s business cooperation with renowned overseas winemakers and distillers, he added.
The reportedly largest online alcohol retailer by sales in China signed agreements with Pernod Ricard (China) and another trade firm based in Shanghai to increase its imports of wine and whiskey.
In the next five years, the retail portal said its imports will reach 1 billion yuan ($144.5 million).
The company has joined the ranks of other unicorns — startups valued at $1 billion or more — after it announced last month that it had secured investment worth 2 billion yuan from e-commerce giant Alibaba.
With the investment, which left Alibaba holding a roughly 29 percent stake in the startup headquartered in Chengdu and becoming its second largest shareholder, 1919 is valued by financiers at more than 7 billion yuan.
During the expo, the retailer also promoted major alcohol brands in Sichuan province, including Wuliangye, Langjiu and Jiannanchun.
Another major buyer from Chengdu is the Hongqi convenience store chain, reportedly the first of its kind publicly traded on the stock market on the Chinese mainland.
During the expo, Hongqi signed a purchase contract worth 200 million yuan with an Australian food company to import milk and wine, among other commodities. It also inked a deal to import daily goods from Italy.
“While Chengdu seems far away from foreign countries, they’re actually in close proximity to each other,” said Li Xiaoping, deputy general manager of Hongqi.
“Imported milk powder, beer and everyday chemical goods are offered in our chain market, while Chengdu specialties have been sold worldwide via our online sales platform,” he said.
The convenience store chain plans to purchase imports worth more than 2 billion yuan over the next five years, Li revealed.
With the progress in the Belt and Road Initiative, new types of businesses, including cross-border e-commerce, are increasingly becoming a new engine to boost high-quality growth in foreign trade, industry insiders said.
Against such a backdrop, Chengdu is growing into a key hub for cross-border e-commerce, partly due to its distinct advantages in international flights, railway links and professional services, local officials said.
China-Africa E-commerce Co, an online company that operates a business-to-business online sales platform focusing on promoting trade with Africa, signed agreements with the Senegalese Export Promotion Agency and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Cote d’lvoire during the expo.
“Cross-border payments, settlements in foreign exchange and customs declarations are pain points in international trade,” said Hou Zhigang, chairman of the company.
To address the issues and facilitate transnational transactions, the China-Africa trade portal offers one-stop services and helps its users to work online, enabling them to sign contracts, make payments and settlements in foreign exchange and customs declarations.
Data from the Chengdu commission of commerce show that six industrial parks focusing on cross-border e-commerce are in operation in the city, with hundreds of companies involved in the industry.
The city’s cross-border e-commerce sector is projected to generate more than 10 billion yuan in sales this year, an estimated surge of more than 120 percent from a year ago, according to the commission.
A global service resources center dedicated to cross-border e-commerce was inaugurated in Chengdu at the end of October, the first of its kind in the city. The center aims to help Chengdu to attract over 10,000 companies, 5,000 service institutes and 100,000 experts on innovation and founders of startup companies in the industry, local officials said.
The city government has rolled out a series of policies to support the growth of the sector. The goal is to draw e-commerce resources to Chengdu, including trade platforms, comprehensive supply chains, third-party service providers and unicorns in the sector.
Chengdu is stepping up efforts to build itself into a hub of international exchanges in western China and become the pinnacle of opening-up in inland regions, in a bid to advance high-quality development of its open economy, local officials said.
The city has established economic relations with nearly 230 countries and regions, with its foreign trade reaching 351.7 billion yuan in the first three quarters of this year, an increase of 26.7 percent on the same period in 2017.
To date, 285 Fortune Global 500 companies have made a presence in Chengdu, where 17 countries including the US, Germany and South Korea have established consulates.
An influx of foreign investment and increasing international exchanges have helped to boost the local economy.
Currently, there are two lucrative industrial parks in the city, each capable of generating 100 billion yuan in annual industrial output value — the Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone and the Chengdu Economic and Technological Development Zone.
Seven pillar industries in Chengdu, including electronic information, auto and machinery manufacturing, are each capable of generating 100 billion yuan in annual industrial output value.
Government data show that the city’s GDP was reported at 1.1 trillion yuan in the first nine months of this year, ranking it at the forefront of Chinese cities.
Chengdu is home to the giant panda, which is the mascot of the first China International Import Expo held in Shanghai from Nov 5 to 10.
Models of the Fuxing fleet of bullet trains catch attention of visitors to the expo. Some of the key components in the trains are made in Chengdu.
From left: Participants show keen interest at a briefing about Chengdu’s opening-up policies. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY A model of the C919 China-developed passenger jet airliner is on display. Chengdu provides some of the key components for the plane.