New era, shared future
Upcoming China International Import Expo offers big opportunities for foreign products
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As CIIE fast approaches, how much do foreigners know about the expo? What messages do foreigners think China hopes to convey to the world by organizing this groundbreaking event? And most importantly, what are potential opportunities that CIIE will bring to the rest of the world?
Some foreigners in Shanghai shared their opinions with the Global Times about CIIE. Anna from Germany said she has heard of the expo. “It is pretty well-known in Germany, especially in my company,” she told the Global Times.
Anna said that, as a foreigner, she would like to know the procedures of setting up a business in China through this event. “Basically, just the transparency of how I do business in China, how I can set up my company and how to work things like visas,” she added.
Italian Edoardo has visited China a few times and said he learned about CIIE through his friends. He said he would like to see a wide variety of products, from food to machinery to whatever else China is ready to import from Italy.
Likewise, Grace from the US told the Global Times that she was informed about this event by her friends in Shanghai. She said she is interested in seeing technological products in particular. Another interviewee, Mexican national Homero, said he has seen advertising about CIIE at local airports and streets.
So what are some messages that China might intend to tell the world by organizing CIIE? Obed from Kenya said, “It is a clear message to the world that you can also export things to China.”
He explained that, previously, China was known as a major exporter to other countries. But with CIIE, people in other countries now know China is also open to importing products.
Similar ideas were echoed by Edoardo, who thinks that China is telling the world that it is the right time for foreigners to sell their products in China. As for Grace, she believes CIIE shows that China wants to create relationships with other countries, make meaningful connections and do business deals. “I think this is really smart,” she added.
Likewise, Anna said that China may want to convey a message that it is an important player in global business, and that the prestigious event is “a really good opportunity for investors from all over the world to get to know China and seize their chance of opening a business here.”
It is noteworthy that all of our interviewees agreed that the organizing of CIIE shows that China intends to open up further to the rest of the world.
“I’ve been to China a couple of times in the span of five years. Each time I have come, it seems much more open; it keeps changing and modernizing. It has become more international and open,” Grace told the Global Times.
Diversification of demands
“I came to China for the first time in 2012, and compared to now, I think it has changed so much. I think it is impressive how fast and open-minded China is now. I like it,” Anna told the Global Times.
Edoardo believes opening up to the world is the right path for China. “I guess that the entire world, especially Europe and Italy, has been waiting for this,” he said. “I’m sure that now China can buy many products from us [Italy] and maybe help our economy grow again.”
So what new opportunities does China intend to bring to the rest of world? Many interviewees said the expo is a good chance for foreign investors and manufacturers to know more about the Chinese market and Chinese clients.
Mexican Homero believes CIIE pro-
vides a platform for foreigners to see the “diversification of demands” in China. “There are examples of every type of taste and preference at this expo. So for a lot of brands and producers, it is really meaningful to understand that kind of information,” he said.
African interviewee Obed said CIIE is an opportunity for foreign businessmen to come to China and meet potential clients more directly. Anna said many people around the world still are not familiar with China.
One billion consumers
“A lot of people in Europe, for example, they have different ideas of China. They think ‘China I don’t know’,” Anna added. “But with this import expo, they can know China a little better and seize opportunities here.”
Similarly, Edoardo said China itself is a big opportunity. “You have over one billion people, so basically one billion consumers who are now discovering the rest of the world. I hope you will love my country and our products,” he said.
When asked what products from their country should be exported to China, our interviewees gave different answers. Obed, for instance, said Kenya is known mostly for agricultural products, such as tea, flowers and coffee, as well as the mineral iron.
Homero thinks Chinese consumers might be interested in Mexican handicrafts. Edoardo said Italy is known for high-end car brands like Ferrari and Maserati, foods and furniture, which are all ideal products for export.
“In Italy, we like Chinese products very much, so I guess the Chinese will love Italian products,” he added.
“It is hard to say what I want to export, because I think China and Germany are already maintaining really good business relations. You have many German cars here, and we have a lot of Chinese products in Germany,” Anna told the Global Times.
Workers decorate steps outside the National Exhibition and Convention Center to welcome the China International Import Expo.
Anna from Germany Homero from Mexico Grace from the US
Obed from Kenya Edoardo from Italy Main: People walk on the square in front of the National Exhibition and Convention Center, which is designed with CIIE elements; Below: Pillars decorated with plants and flowers on a square of the venue