A large delegation of US retail buyers is set to arrive in China later this month to look for Chinese partners and set up five purchasing centers.
The team, which will come on February 26, has plans to purchase up to US$400 million of Chinese-made goods each year.
The delegation is organized by the China Chamber of Commerce in America, Pacific Development Group, the Chain Retail Enterprises Association of the United States and the American Purchaser Union.
A similar visit last year was unsuccessful because of the US team's poor understanding of Chinese trade and domestic companies' weakness in the area of e-commerce.
After researching the Chinese manufacturing sector, the purchasing team changed its strategy.
It contracted Chinese Internet companies ce.net and datachina.com.cn to recommend 5,000 to 10,000 qualified domestic manufacturers and to set up a database for Chinese non-governmental enterprises.
The US team is looking for manufacturers that can take online orders and produce toys, handicrafts, textile, shoes or electrical and machinery products.
Wang Zhanghua, leader of the team, said China had the natural and labour resources to produce high-quality retail products.
He added that the effective transport system covering Hong Kong and South Korea allowed for the convenient shipping of Chinese commodities to the United States.
"The purchasing team's visit to China is to promote direct trade between Chinese and US businesses, to reduce costs and increase efficiency,," Wang Zhihai, chief executive officer of the US purchasing network www.66us.com, said.
United States imported goods worth US$81.79 billion from China in 1999 and a further US$72.77 billion-worth from January to September last year.
In August 2000, www.66us.com was set up to provide a platform to bring US buyers and Chinese manufacturers together.
Up until the end of January, total Sino-US trade volume on the website had exceeded 500 million yuan (US$60.24 million).
"Online trade offers golden opportunities for China's small and medium-sized enterprises, especially the non-governmental ones, to present their products and quickly gain business information," Wang said.
As exported goods need to be of international standard, small and medium-sized manufacturers have increased their technology and upgraded the quality of their products.
Statistics show only 1 percent of Chinese enterprises can carry out online business.
Industry experts said this hindered communication and cooperation with US buyers.
(China Daily 02/21/2001)