Successful debuts of foreign exhibitors at CIIE reflect shared opportunities

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This photo taken on Nov. 3, 2023 shows the south square of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the main venue for the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE), in east China's Shanghai. [Photo/Xinhua]

Hector Timal, a merchant from Honduras, introduced his collection of 62 gin varieties, created to delight the palates of the Chinese people, at the ongoing sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

"Many potential cooperative partners have shown interest, and I'm confident to fulfill my target," said Timal, adding that he wanted to make full use of the CIIE to tap into the Chinese market.

Honduras is one of the guest countries of honor of the 6th CIIE and over 40 Honduran enterprises debuted at the expo. China and Honduras established diplomatic relations in March this year.

"It brings huge development opportunities to Honduran enterprises, and the CIIE each year in the future will be a grand economic and trade event expected by Honduran people," said Rodolfo Pastor de Maria, secretary of the presidency of Honduras.

As the world's first import-themed national-level expo, the CIIE aims to promote high-level opening-up and share opportunities generated by China's vast market of 1.4 billion people with the rest of the world.

This year, over 500 small and medium-sized enterprises attended the expo for the first time, and over 400 new products, technologies and services made their debuts.

In less than 12 hours, a digitally dyed carpet, spanning 150 square meters and weighing 450 kilograms, displayed at the exhibition area of Milliken & Company, a U.S.-based manufacturer of textile and chemical products, was swiftly reserved and prepared for relocation to its "new home" in Beijing.

"Almost the whole Chinese market is in front of us," said Zhao Xiaodong, senior vice president and Asia managing director of the company, adding that they have reached out to a number of Chinese customers from the country's central and western regions or third and fourth-tier cities during the company's first exhibition at the CIIE.

Many exhibitors here are also investors, and they not only attach importance to orders from the Chinese market but are optimistic about their development in China as well.

The Japanese lifestyle brand Muji is also participating in the CIIE for the first time, showcasing over 5,000 commodities produced in China, including cotton and linen clothes from northeast China's Harbin and shoes made of recycled plastics.

For Winnie Shao, chief marketing officer of Muji (Shanghai) Company Limited, the Chinese market means opportunities to learn and grow.

In China, 90 percent of Muji shops can introduce instant retail businesses, riding the wave of the country's advanced digitalization, Shao said, adding that various local specialties serve as an endless well of inspiration for designers, while the large consumer base encourages the company to open over 50 new shops each year.

Besides attesting to the magnetism of the Chinese market, the CIIE also provides a cooperation platform for international enterprises despite the challenges facing globalization.

"We are all passengers who want to take the express train of the Belt and Road Initiative, using China as a transit to transport our products to the rest of the world," said Charlon Golden, chief executive officer of an aquatic products company based in Malta, at the CIIE.

Over 1,500 enterprises from Belt and Road partner countries have participated in the expo, with their exhibition area totaling nearly 80,000 square meters, an increase of 30 percent from last year's event.

Recognizing the immense potential of China's holiday travel market, Julia Repnikova, chief executive officer of BigCountry Travel, a Russian tourism company, has introduced 101 tourist route plans at the sixth CIIE, with the goal of introducing new products, forging new connections, and becoming a cherished participant in future CIIE events.

"We are embracing a 'golden period' for businesses at the expo," she said.

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