Chengdu places huge or­ders at China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo

In­dus­trial pow­er­house city is draw­ing greater at­ten­tion from around the world, Yuan Shenggao re­ports.

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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.

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

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.

ZHU XINGXIN / CHINA DAILY

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.

ZHU XINGXIN / CHINA DAILY

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.

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