People visit the Hainan Exhibition Area during the first China International Consumer Products Expo in Haikou, capital of Hainan Province, on May 7 (XINHUA)
The first China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE) concluded on May 10 in Haikou, the capital of Hainan Province.
A total of 70 countries and regions attended the four-day expo, and 2,628 brands under 1,505 enterprises from home and abroad participated in the exhibitions. Covering 80,000 square meters, the expo also attracted more than 240,000 visitors.
Major e-commerce platforms including JD Worldwide and Tmall Global also joined the expo with global brands. Livestreaming rooms garnered over 16 million viewers, with a total turnover of 68 million yuan ($10.4 million), said Han Shengjian, director of the Hainan bureau of international economic development.
The first group of companies from sectors including fashion, life services, travel services, service consumption, food, health products and jewelry have already signed up for the second CICPE. Over 80 percent of exhibitors this year expressed willingness to participate in the second CICPE.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging and the world economy continuing to drag, the expo has provided a new platform for global enterprises to share the development opportunities brought by the Chinese market and inject new growth momentum into global economic recovery.
Aerial photo taken on May 3, 2021 shows a bridge in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province (XINHUA)
U.S. luxury fashion company Tapestry was in the first group of enterprises to sign up for the second China International Consumer Products Expo on Monday.
"We released several new products at the expo and visitors were very interested. We have seen the huge potential of the Chinese market," said Zhou Guanghua, vice president of Tapestry.
China was the only major economy in the world to achieve positive growth in 2020, with its GDP up 2.3 percent year on year. According to China's Ministry of Commerce, imports of consumer goods grew 8.2 percent in 2020, reaching 1.57 trillion yuan.
"The expo has brought new opportunities for global high-end brands to enter and expand the Chinese market," said Swiss Ambassador to China Bernardino Regazzoni. "The expo also marks another big step forward in the construction of the Hainan free trade port (FTP) and the acceleration of China's integration into the global economic system."
China in 2018 proposed the establishment of a free trade zone in Hainan and began construction of the Hainan FTP last year to build the island into a globally influential and high-level free trade port by the middle of the century.
Hainan has implemented a package of favorable policies to ease market access and further facilitate free trade, investment and cross-border capital flows. According to the provincial government, direct foreign investment in Hainan grew from 340 million U.S. dollars in 2017 to 3.03 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.
"This is our first exhibition in China. We hope to use the platform to enter Hainan's duty-free market and reach cooperation with China's duty-free enterprises," said Chilli Zhou, country sales director of Swiss luxury underwear brand Zimmerli Textil AG.
Official data shows that sales of offshore duty-free shops in Hainan reached nearly 5 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, and the duty-free shopping industry on the island is likely to become a 100-billion-yuan industry in the next few years, insiders said.
China will further expand domestic demand and unleash the potential of the world's largest consumption market, said Ales Cervinka, director of the Czech Trade Promotion Agency in China. "I expect that we will find more business partners to help our product to enter duty-free outlets here."
"By holding the expo, we will give further play to the policy advantages of the Hainan free trade port, effectively promote the accumulation of global high-end goods, capital, talent and other resources, and vigorously promote the development of the services sector, such as exhibitions, and commerce and trade," said Rong Yansong, deputy director of the Hainan provincial department of commerce.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the consumer products expo has given a strong boost to global economic recovery.
"Despite facing challenges in the past year, the strong resilience and growth potential of China's consumer market has greatly impressed the world," said Yann Bozec, president of Tapestry Asia Pacific.
With a total population of over 1.4 billion and more than 400 million middle-income residents, China has become the world's most promising consumer market.
The retail sales of consumer goods in the first quarter of the year, a major indicator of the country's consumption strength, edged up 33.9 percent year on year to over 10.5 trillion yuan, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Justin Yifu Lin, honorary dean of the National Development Research Institute of Peking University, said at an expo forum that the event will become a new growth driver for Hainan's high-quality development.
He added that China has the conditions to double its GDP scale by 2035, or its per capita income level in urban and rural areas, on the basis of 2020. He said that as people become wealthier, their demand for better lives will also be enhanced.
The constant upgrading of Chinese consumer demand has brought new trends and opportunities to the market, becoming a powerful driving force for the growth of the global market, added Yann Bozec.
Italy, an important participating country at the Hainan expo, brought more than 50 brands to take part. Paolo Bazzoni, chairman of the Italy Chamber of Commerce, said Hainan is becoming the number-one location for quality retail travel. "We are here to interact with the local government in order to be more present and to give more opportunities to our companies in Hainan," he said.
The expo pooled global high-end consumer brands to tap into the market potential of the world's second-largest economy, and the country's consumption demand is expected to expand substantially and continuously.
The consumption rate of residents in China is currently less than 40 percent, far below the level in line with the current economic volume, said Long Guoqiang, deputy head of the Development Research Center of the State Council, at an expo forum.
Shanghai-headquartered Fosun International Limited, with 25 years of business experience on the island in sectors including tourism, participated in the expo with products in diverse areas. "The expo not only facilitates international brands entering the Chinese market, but also domestic brands going global," said Qian Jiannong, board chairman and chief executive officer of the Fosun Tourism Group.
China's rate of contribution to global economic growth is likely to be maintained within a range of 25 percent to 30 percent over the next five to 10 years, said Chi Fulin, head of the Hainan-based China Institute for Reform and Development, at an expo forum.