China’s intensive international events share its massive market with global firms

This aerial drone photo taken on April 11, 2024 shows the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center, the main venue for the upcoming fourth China International Consumer Products Expo, in Haikou, south China's Hainan Province. The event will open on Saturday in Haikou, the capital city of south China's Hainan Province.(Photo: Xinhua)

This aerial drone photo taken on April 11, 2024 shows the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center, the main venue for the upcoming fourth China International Consumer Products Expo, in Haikou, south China’s Hainan Province. The event will open on Saturday in Haikou, the capital city of south China’s Hainan Province.(Photo: Xinhua)

China is set to embrace another wave of intensive international events starting from this weekend, with the fourth China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE) to open in South China’s Hainan Province on Saturday, the main intentional expo held in China this year. It will be followed by the 135th Canton Fair in South China’s Guangdong Province scheduled to open on Monday.

The expos, which come on the heels of a slew of high-level meetings including the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) and China Development Forum (CDF) in March, offer opportunities for foreign investors to share in China’s massive market. By hosting international exhibitions, China is actively promoting openness and cooperation, demonstrating its commitment to opening-up and boosting global economic growth.

The warm and inviting atmosphere was immediately apparent to people upon arrival at Hainan’s Haikou Meilan International Airport. The Global Times reporter, when stepping off the plane, was greeted by colorful banners and a vibrant billboard inviting guests to leave their names and best wishes for the CICPE. The billboard was adorned with signatures in several languages, creating a lively and welcoming environment.

A billboard for the fourth China International Consumer Products Expo is seen at the Haikou Meilan International Airport in South China’s Hainan Province, on April 12, 2024. Photo: Qi Xijia/GT

A billboard for the fourth China International Consumer Products Expo is seen at the Haikou Meilan International Airport in South China’s Hainan Province, on April 12, 2024. Photo: Qi Xijia/GT

As an important part of the year-long campaign to boost consumption in China, the CICPE brings together global consumer goods and professional buyers and sellers, providing ample business opportunities for companies from all countries to share the benefits of the China market.

The 4th CICPE will feature over 4,000 brands from 71 countries and regions, with an expected indoor exhibition area of 128,000 square meters, surpassing previous editions. This year, the expo will highlight green and digital features in its organization, according to the Ministry of Commerce of China.

The expo, which runs through April 18, is expected to receive a total of 55,000 purchasers and professional visitors, officials told a press conference in March. The CICPE will be held across various venues, with the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center serving as the main venue, and will also feature themed exhibitions on yachts, duty-free shopping, health consumption, and various other activities, showcasing the new consumption momentum.

This year, Ireland has been invited as the country of honor at the expo to showcase its industrial strength in areas such as technological innovation, educational investment, tourism, and cultural experiences. Countries such as the UK, Mongolia, and Malaysia will be participating in the exhibition for the first time.

Ann Derwin, Ambassador of Ireland to China, told the Global Times that expos such as the CICPE “are wonderful opportunities to promote Ireland and what it has to offer, and are excellent platforms for Irish companies to introduce themselves to Chinese consumers. Quite a few Irish companies return again and again to these expos.”

The Ireland Pavilion will bring together representatives from 29 participating companies and organizations, presenting over 200 exhibits from more than 50 Irish brands.

“China’s consumer market is one of the biggest in the world, and somewhere we see a lot of scope for trade and investment,” Derwin said.

China’s total retail sales of consumer goods in the first two months of 2024 hit 8.13 trillion yuan ($1.13 trillion), increasing 5.5 percent year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

“Favorable conditions support stable consumption growth, and positive changes in the consumption sector are expected to continue, based on the NBS data,” Jack Chan, EY China Chairman, told the Global Times recently.

For the fourth CICPE, EY will focus on essential topics such as expanding consumption, sustainable development, going global, and innovation in free trade zones this year.

“In 2024, we expect increased consumer confidence and sustained growth in consumer demand,” Chan said.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will empower consumer scenarios, stimulating the gradual formation of a new consumption ecosystem. The demand for upgrading consumption will develop new economic growth points. As growth engines, the health, green, digital, and other service consumption sectors will also bring new opportunities for investment cooperation and business development, Chan noted.

This year, China has been increasing efforts to boost consumption by promoting large equipment upgrades and consumer goods trade-ins, as well as accelerating the development of new quality productive forces.

“I believe that China has excellent development prospects, and Ireland hopes to continue to be very much a part of China’s trade with the rest of the world. Much of China’s new productive forces include those key to the green transition – something where China has a lot to offer the world and where Ireland sees scope for much cooperation,” Derwin said.

Foreign investors’ confidence in China is on the rise. The country improved its ranking as an attractive destination to invest over the next three years, jumping to third place in 2024 from seventh in 2023, and continues to lead emerging markets, according to a report released by consulting firm Kearney on Monday.