With China creating more favorable conditions for global companies to grow in its vast, lucrative market, the annual China International Import Expo will help promote investment opportunities, executives at several multinational companies said.
This year's expo, which has been held in Shanghai every year since 2018, ran from Nov 5 to 10.
The executives said that the CIIE reflects the Chinese market's growing significance to the global economy and to its dual circulation growth paradigm — in which the domestic and international markets complement each other, with the domestic market as the focal point.
"For five years, the CIIE has not only served as the optimal choice for multinational companies to debut new products and pioneering technologies, but it has also witnessed the transition of many participants from exhibitors to investors," said Sheng Qiuping, China's vice-minister of commerce.
Once such transitions are consolidated, foreign companies will seek more trade, investment and cooperation opportunities. This will better enable China to reinforce its economic and trade ties with other economies, said Hong Junjie, vice-president of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.
Such positive sentiment is shared by Lars Eckerlein, general manager of ABB (China) Ltd, the local branch of Swiss technology company ABB Group, which has participated in all five CIIE events.
Eckerlein said that as a major global trade fair promoting globalization and openness, the CIIE is an important platform in which ABB can share its latest digital technologies and work with customers and partners toward high-quality growth and a more sustainable future.
The Swiss company's robotics mega factory will enter operation in Shanghai in December. It represents the next level of ABB's manufacturing technology and will deploy the latest manufacturing processes, including machine learning, as well as digital and collaborative solutions. It will be the group's most advanced automated and flexible factory, where robots will make robots.
With the outdoors market growing rapidly in China in recent years, French sporting goods retailer Decathlon has launched a number of innovative products, including more environmentally friendly mountain bikes, at the CIIEs to meet consumers' demands for home fitness, camping, kitesurfing and other emerging sports and activities.
Pascal Bizard, senior vice-president of Decathlon China, said that the CIIE has been witness to the company's growth in China in recent years. China is Decathlon's first overseas market outside of France with a whole industrial chain presence.
After seeing sales revenues register an increase of 20 percent year-on-year last year, Wilo Group, a German provider of pumps and pump systems and a two-time participant of the CIIE, will open an Industry 4.0 standard plant in Changzhou in Jiangsu province early next year. Its products will be sold in both the Chinese and international markets.
According to Lyman Tu, Wilo's vice-president for China and Southeast Asia, with the growing importance of the Chinese market — which became Wilo's second-largest last year — the company has announced plans to further invest in research and development and enlarge its product portfolio in China as part of its 2025 strategy.
The country's broad market prospects, integrated supply chain and improving the market environment are the main reasons behind Wilo's plans to expand its presence, he said, adding that China will likely become the group's largest market by 2023.
"These facts show that most investment decisions by global companies are based on market conditions and growth potential, and they are acutely aware that no economy can independently provide all the resources and innovation other markets need, or offer all the goods and services that consumers demand," said Xu Mingqi, a researcher with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.