China’s consumer products expo presents recovery opportunities by connecting markets

A visitor smells a bottle of perfume during the first China International Consumer Products Expo in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province, May 8, 2021. (Xinhua/Zhou Jiayi)

  A visitor smells a bottle of perfume during the first China International Consumer Products Expo in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province, May 8, 2021. (Xinhua/Zhou Jiayi)

HAIKOU, May 9 (Xinhua) — In recent days, thousands of consumers and business persons in Haikou, capital of China’s southernmost Hainan province, have witnessed the economic vitality at the first China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE).

The expo running from May 7 to May 10 has attracted 648 foreign enterprises showcasing over 1,300 brands in Haikou, and is expected to be the largest consumer goods expo in the Asia-Pacific region.

Striving for post-pandemic recovery, multinational giants came to the expo to debut their new products and showcase their top-notch goods, and overseas small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also flocked here to observe the booming Chinese market.

Fabrice Megarbane, L’Oreal’s president for North Asia Zone and chief executive officer (CEO) of L’Oreal China, told Xinhua that with the prevention and control measures of COVID-19 pandemic entering a regular basis, China continues to open up to the world with a positive and enterprising attitude, setting an example for other countries.

Expressing his belief that China’s business environment will be more friendly as the opening up measures will continue to deepen, Megarbane said by connecting China’s domestic and international markets, multinational enterprises have the opportunity to obtain a wider range of resources.

U.S. luxury fashion company Tapestry thinks alike. Yann Bozec, president of Tapestry Asia Pacific, said at the scene, “the expo is not only an innovative platform bringing together high-quality products and services from all over the world, but also an important opportunity to showcase our brand concepts, expand market channels and innovate consumer trends.”

“The constant upgrading of Chinese consumer demand and rising standards has brought new trends and opportunities to the market, becoming a powerful driving force for the growth of the global market,” Bozec said.

As the pandemic continues to batter world economy, the first trade fair in China’s biggest free trade port has not only attracted global giants, but also groups of foreign SMEs.

Showing Xinhua reporters around the Irish pavilion, Gareth Hargadon, head of Economic Section with the Irish Embassy in China, proudly introduced products ranging from food and beverage to animal nutrition, luxury home wares and babycare products, calling them unique offerings of Ireland.

Though Ireland is a small country, its brands are active participants of physical expos in China, such as last year’s China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing and China International Import Expo in Shanghai, he noted.

“I think the more these trade fairs happen, the more opportunities for Irish companies to promote their products, because China is a massive market … There is a big opportunity for us here,” Hargadon said.

Lee Junhyung, CEO of Sunwah-Fonwin Korea Inc, said Korean companies came here with “high expectations” and many of them had achieved results beyond expectations on the first day of the expo.

“The (South) Korean companies need this kind of expo to enter the Chinese market and to find buyers,” he said.

Suppara Seakacharn, commercial consul with Thai Consulate-General in Guangzhou, told Xinhua that many Thai companies interested in joining the CICPE failed to come to China due to the pandemic, so the commercial section offered those companies online channels to tap into the Chinese market.

In the opinion of Paolo Bazzoni, chairman of China-Italy Chamber of Commerce (CICC), the expo is a very important message from China, which is significant for Italy.

Noting that China is unlike many places of the world that forbid travels, Bazzoni said the CICC “will facilitate all the exhibitions in China, in order to attract our company to follow.”

“I think China has a role to demonstrate to the world that is possible to recover, it’s possible to continue and grow,” he said.

He said the open free trade and offshore duty-free policy and new development paradigm of “dual circulation” have given Hainan unprecedented advantages, pushing the province to a leading place in the world in terms of business growth.

A report jointly released recently by KPMG China and The Moodie Davitt found that the Hainan free trade port will likely become the world’s biggest duty-free market in the near term if it continues on its current growth curve.

By the end of 2020, offshore duty-free business in Hainan was worth approximately 5 billion U.S. dollars, boosted by an enhanced shopping policy, said the report.

Promoting trade and connecting world markets not only benefit China, but also bring recovery hope and inject impetus to the world economy.

“China’s recovery from the pandemic gives hope to the world, Hainan’s International Consumer Products Expo is a practical step to bring such hope to other countries,” said Xiong Yu, a professor at the Britain-based Surrey Business School of the University of Surrey.

Jack Chan, chairman of services company EY China, said the CICPE provides a vast stage for quality goods from across the world, which will definitely promote the global supply of high-end consumer goods and services.

Besides driving forward consumption, the expo can also accelerate the development of modern service industry in sectors like finance, exhibition, freight and logistics, Chan said. Enditem

(Xinhua reporters Sun Xiaoling in London and Song Yu in Bangkok also contributed to the story.)

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