Magdalene Nyale, an exhibitor from Kenya, is marketing black tea and coffee that traveled thousands of miles from the African continent to China while treating a steady stream of visitors to cashew nuts at the world’s first import-themed national-level expo in the commercial hub of Shanghai.
Nyale said her Nairobi-based trading company is eager to tap into the Chinese market as the country is opening wider to the world, adding that the expo is a good platform to demonstrate their products and look for potential partners.
Nyale’s company is among the 1,000 plus firms from 58 countries along the Belt and Road at the inaugural China International Import Expo (CIIE). Firms are displaying a variety of products from agricultural products and consumer goods to garments and high technology equipment in a booth area of 45,000 square meters.
At another booth, visitors are queuing up to take a bite of an ice cream produced by the Russian company Iceberry, which has become a big hit among Chinese consumers after Russian President Vladimir Putin brought frozen snacks by the same ice-cream producer as a gift when he attended the G20 summit held in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou in 2016.
As one of the 12 guest countries of honor at the expo, Russia has more than 100 companies on hand, both large ones and representatives of small and medium businesses, stretching from dairy producers to high-tech equipment manufacturers.
“The CIIE is going to give an impulse to the development of collaboration between Russia and China. It is a serious opportunity for Russian companies to make themselves known, to show their goods to potential importers and consumers and to appreciate the competitive environment and get acquainted with manufacturers from other countries,” said Andrey Slepnev, director of the Russian Export Center.
Apart from food and agricultural products, a wealth of eye-catching products and cutting-edge technologies from countries along the Belt and Road have attracted the attention of visitors, including Slovakia’s AeroMobil flying car, Italian helicopters, German machine tools and Israeli medical products.
With the Belt and Road Initiative being further implemented, two-way investment and trade between China and partner countries have continued to gather pace. In the first five months of the year, trade with countries along the Belt and Road surged 11.1 percent year on year, outpacing overall trade growth by 2.3 percentage points, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce data showed.
The CIIE is expected to give new impetus to economic cooperation by helping companies promote brands and expand markets and add fuel to the already fast growth of trade between China and countries along the Belt and Road.
In just two hours on Tuesday morning, ZEISS, an enterprise specializing in optics and optoelectronics, made three deals with a combined value of more than 30 million yuan (4.3 million U.S. dollars), said the company, adding it became more determined to explore the Chinese market.
Nyale’s zeal has also paid off at the expo. Her coffee and black tea are very appealing to Lau Kam Lun, a buyer from Hong Kong, who is a frequent visitor to trade expositions around the world.
“The expo is so unique that it has gathered companies from all over the world, even those from the least developed countries which are little-known but have high-quality products,” said Lau.