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New event shows demand for consumer goods

By Zhongnan | China Daily | Updated: 2021-05-08


Visitors attend the Hainan pavilion at the first China International Consumer Products Expo, which opens in Haikou, capital of South China's Hainan province, on Friday. ZHANG WEI/CHINA DAILY

Hainan aiming to help global brands enter marketplace and benefit economy

The China International Consumer Products Expo, or the Hainan Expo, is a new platform to highlight China's consumption power globally and offer companies opportunities to diversify market channels, according to business leaders and government officials.

More than 1,300 brands from 69 countries and regions are participating in the flagship expo in South China's Hainan province from May 7-10. They said the event, held in Haikou, the provincial capital, not only builds a platform for global brands to enter the Chinese market via Hainan Free Trade Port, but helps them better tap into the latest industry trends and initiate new practices that could set the tone for growth in the country.

The expo covers 80,000 square meters, including 60,000 sq m of international exhibition space featuring leading-brand watches, cosmetics, jewelry, automobiles, yachts, consumer electronics, alcohol, food and health products, according to the Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development, one of the expo's organizers.

An official said that the fair aims to attract high-quality consumer products from home and abroad and help build the island into a global duty-free shopping and fashion consumption center. This will help with domestic consumption upgrades and improve people's living standards and consumption level.

Back in July, the duty-free shopping quota in Hainan was raised to 100,000 yuan ($15,450) per year from 30,000 yuan. Meanwhile, purchase limitations were significantly cut and more duty-free products were offered.

Purchases at the expo will not affect one's annual offshore duty-free shopping quota, said the Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Bingnan. He added that the event is expected to attract more than 20,000 buyers and over 200,000 visitors.

Together with the China Import and Export Fair-known as the Canton Fair-and the China International Import Expo, the Hainan Expo will provide a new platform to meet consumer demand as China pushes ahead to transform its economy into a consumption-based one, said Shi Zongwei, director-general of Haikou Customs District, a local unit of the General Administration of Customs.

Kentaro Fujiwara, CEO of Shiseido China, a Japanese cosmetics company, said the group is displaying and selling new brands not yet available in China at its 500-sq-m expo booth. The products will be introduced to the Chinese market soon.

The release of the Overall Plan for the Construction of Hainan Free Trade Port on June 1, 2020 and the Hainan Expo show China's determination of opening wider to the outside world to share development opportunities, he said.

With the most open attitude and helpful services, the Chinese government has built a professional, market-oriented and information-based international trade and investment platform for foreign companies across the world. It has also established a global consumer goods showcase and trading platform for multinational companies, he said.

As 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of Shiseido's entry into China, which has become its biggest overseas market for four consecutive years, Fujiwara said it expects to stay close to China's economic development through the country's open and impressive governmental platforms, such as the Hainan Expo.

With the theme of "wherever you go, travel together all the way," Australian natural health company Blackmores is showcasing its products at a 200-sq-m booth in the expo's premium food and health products section. It is focusing on five dimensions: exercise, stress relief, pregnancy care, and men and women's comprehensive health.

This expo is one of the highest-standard exhibitions in China. It gathers "new, excellent and special" consumer products and brings together extensive resources, providing globally renowned consumer brands with opportunities to exhibit, trade and establish partnerships, said Kitty Liu, managing director of Blackmores Group China. Blackmores is honored to participate in the event, she added.

"We hope that through this platform, we can get to know more partners with which we can jointly explore new opportunities to make a healthy and quality life more accessible, delivering more natural health solutions to Chinese consumers," Liu said.

There are a series of debut events being held during the expo. Companies and brands such as Swatch of Switzerland, Shiseido of Japan, and Tapestry and Dell Technologies of the United States are launching hundreds of new products this week. They cover more than 20 categories such as clothing and bags, cosmetics, foods, wines and jewelry, information from the Ministry of Commerce showed.

In addition to assisting the growth of the Hainan Free Trade Zone and expanding domestic demand, the event will help push the new development paradigm of "dual circulation". This allows the domestic and overseas markets to reinforce each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay, said Zhu Xiaoliang, director-general of the department of market operations and consumption promotion at the MOC.

Suning International, a business unit of Suning Holdings Group, is China's largest omnichannel retailer by sales revenue. It will launch a service it calls "a one-stop solution for overseas brands to enter China" by leveraging its international supply chains and capabilities of its partners.

Melody Jia, general manager of Suning International, said this service has two parts: cross-border trade solutions including supply chains, logistics, and other retail services; and localized, customized branding, marketing and consulting services.

As the expo serves as a bridge for overseas brands to learn about the opportunities and trends in the Chinese market, she said Suning International hopes to introduce its solutions, and contribute to China's dual-circulation growth pattern. It will do this by leveraging its capabilities in retail services, cross-border trade, and customized branding, marketing and consulting services.

Eager to enhance its earning strength in the Hainan FTZ, Suning started to build and expand its presence in Hainan in 2007. The group now runs more than 70 physical stores on the island.

Suning International signed a strategic partnership agreement with Hainan Tourism Investment Development, a State-owned company, in December. Both will use their respective advantages to focus on logistics, commercial real estate, tourism retail and other fields. They aim to carry out all-around and multilevel cooperation, integrate various industrial chains and support the growth of the Hainan FTZ.

Apart from holding a forum on consumption innovation, duty-free shopping and the tourism retail industry, new business models-such as cross-border e-commerce and livestreaming-are on display at the Hainan Expo, said Han Shengjian, director-general of the Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development.

China introduced 28 new measures to support the high-quality development of the Hainan FTZ in late April, with an added focus on aiding faster trade in goods and services.

Under the new policies, 13 measures focus on goods trade while the rest deal with services. The Yangpu bonded port in Hainan province will pilot a special customs supervision area. Imports and exports of crude and refined oil will not be subject to the general regulations governing enterprise qualification and quantity.