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Australian businesses still confident showcasing their products at the China International Import Expo

A record number of Australian companies are participating in the third China International Import Expo (CIIE), open from 5 to 10 November 2020. The annual event is hosted by China in Shanghai and is the world’s first import-themed trade fair.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 and trade tensions between Australia and China, more than 180 Australian firms are exhibiting, with a third of these coming from Victoria. This is despite the state coming out of its second COVID-19 lockdown in October.

For the first time, the Victorian government has a pavilion at CIIE, and 25 of the 60 Victorian exhibitors are jointly promoting products in the food and agricultural hall.

The majority of Australian exhibitors are showcasing products and services under four main categories: food and beverage, agricultural products, consumer goods, medical equipment & healthcare products.

Australian businesses still confident showcasing their products at the China International Import Expo

Strong demand for Australian products from Chinese consumers

During an interview, Shanghai-based Austrade Trade Commissioner Esther Sun told Dynamic Business that Austrade continues to see strong demand for Australian products and services from Chinese consumers.

“We know that Chinese consumers continue to value Australian products such as health and well-being supplements for their high quality, particularly our food and beverages and horticulture products for their freshness and excellent provenance, and we envisage this continuing,” said Ms Sun.

Austrade data shows a steady 20 per cent annual increase in the number of Australian companies participating in the CIIE over the last two years.

Ms Sun said the number speaks for itself. “Businesses are deciding themselves that CIIE is a good platform for them to showcase their products to the Chinese business communities and Chinese consumers.”

Online business matching program brings businesses together

Because of the challenges presented by the pandemic, this year Austrade is running an online business matching program.

The digital marketing campaign promotes Australian businesses to Chinese businesses and consumers where they can browse Australian product catalogues online on WeChat, the social media platform widely used in China. 

And it also helps to connect businesses virtually across borders.

Ms Sun said the program facilitates real-time online matching through the WeChat platform.

It enables Chinese businesses to request virtual meetings with Australian business owners.

“The feedback so far has been quite incredible,” said Ms Sun. “We have facilitated over 150 business dialogues within a week, and we are encouraged to see that the Chinese buyers are interested in Australian products.”

Advice on trading with China in the long term

Ms Sun said China remains an important market for Australia and noted that there are still opportunities for Australian businesses, based on the positive first-hand feedback from Chinese consumers.

“Acknowledging the current disruptions and issues around a number of our key product lines, it’s important that government and industry continue to work closely together,” she said. “It’s also important that businesses keep the communications channels open with frequent dialogue with their China partners and importers.”

She stressed that Austrade can support Australian businesses on their journey and alleviate some of the challenges they potentially face when entering the market.

“We do have offices and staff on the ground that will be able to provide businesses with insights and information around the (Chinese) market, so that they will be informed and make better business decisions on when, where and how they should enter the market.” 

Graham Fletcher, the Australian Ambassador to China, has travelled from Beijing to Shanghai to support the Australian exhibited team during the third import expo.

The fourth China International Import Expo for 2021 is open for registration, and more information can be found from: https://www.ciie.org/zbh/en/.

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Shengyin Li

Shengyin Li

Shengyin Li is an intern journalist at Dynamic Business with a background in the corporate accounting and finance. She is interested in renewable energy, geopolitics and Asian economy

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