After 18 years, China’s top cultural fair goes more global
  ·  2023-06-06  ·   Source: Shenzhen Daily
An international buyer takes an interest in silk products at the 18th ICIF last year (SHENZHEN DAILY)

The 19th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF), organized on a grander scale than ever, will unveil its gleaming pavilions on June 7 to greet over 300 international exhibitors.

Since the first ICIF was held in 2004, the fair, which is China’s only State-level, international and comprehensive cultural fair, and the country’s largest platform for foreign cultural trade and international cultural exchanges, has gained increasing global influence.

Data from the organizer showed the 300-plus overseas exhibitors will set up online and offline booths at the Belt and Road International Pavilion at this year’s fair, the biggest number in the fair’s history and triple the number in 2015 when the pavilion was first launched.

‘International gene’ 

ICIF was born with an “international gene” when it was inaugurated in 2004.

Among the 700 exhibitors attending the first ICIF, 102 enterprises came from more than 50 countries and regions.

The “international gene” grew in 2006 when ICIF was accredited by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) as the 46th member from China and the only comprehensive cultural industries fair from China.

Prior to the opening of the 19th ICIF, some international exhibitors had expressed their expectations.

In a short video, Bauwens Benjamin, CEO of Dirty Monitor, said he hopes to delve deeper into Chinese culture and incorporate its elements into their works. The Belgium-based company is an enthusiastic creative studio, pioneering in the field of content conception and realization for video mapping and other audiovisual productions.

“This year, we will make a presence at ICIF and have high expectations on it.”

Jeong Kwon-ho, director of the South Korea Traditional Cultural Industries Institute, will be participating in ICIF for the fifth time. His institute will organize 10 traditional cultural enterprises to the event, hoping to establish an effective communication platform and showcase traditional Korean commodities and culture at the fair.

The internationalization of this year’s fair features the diversification of participating countries, active overseas promotions, and a bigger role in boosting foreign cultural trade, according to the organizer.

International hall 

The Belt and Road International Pavilion at the 15th ICIF in 2019 made up 23.5% of the total exhibition area at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center in Futian District, with 132 participating overseas institutions from more than 50 countries and regions.

Turkish exhibitor Imran Rah had participated in ICIF for three consecutive years to promote Turkish culture. He thought the fair is a good opportunity for him to explore the Chinese market.

Lithuania has been a regular participant in ICIF since 2013 and was given the “Outstanding Organizer Award” by the fair’s organizing committee in 2017.

At the 15th ICIF in 2019, Rank Ross, lord provost of the city of Edinburgh, a sister city of Shenzhen, said Edinburgh would use the fair as a chance to introduce new companies to China. Ross and his delegation visited the international pavilion, where five Edinburgh enterprises displayed products at the Scotland Pavilion.

Archives show that by September 2022, Shenzhen had established friendship cities with 66 cities and sister cities with 24 cities from 57 countries on five continents, which helped expand ICIF’s circle of international friends.

For this year’s fair, the organizer will set up exhibition areas and cultural trade areas for Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America in the international pavilion.

Earlier in April, the fair organizer promoted the 19th ICIF in France, Germany and Switzerland, extending invitations to cultural organizations in these countries.

As of now, four agencies from France and three institutions from Belgium have confirmed their participation.

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