Hong Kong’s first-time exhibitors, much sought after during China import expo, are confident about deals

·3-min read

First-time exhibitors from Hong Kong said they were confident about generating business at the China International Import Expo (CIIE), which is being held in Shanghai.

Exhibitors from the city were representing the services, equipment, science and education, lifestyle, food, health care and medical devices industries at the event, which kicked off on Friday last week and ended on Wednesday.

Food companies were, in particular, highly sought after by mainland Chinese merchants amid a growing appetite for healthy and safe food products among Chinese consumers.

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“Some local government officials, medical experts and merchants, including e-commerce platforms, have shown a keen interest in bringing our products to the market,” said Haylie Chau, a co-founder of Senior Deli, which develops products for people with dysphagia, or difficulty in swallowing. “In a market with a huge ageing population, our products are in high demand,” she added.

CIIE was launched in 2018, during a simmering trade war with the United States, and is aimed at encouraging mainland companies to buy imported goods and services as a way of showing Beijing’s willingness to further open up its markets.

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Senior Deli, which was founded by a team of young researchers and specialists in Hong Kong, was among 240 Hong Kong companies exhibiting their goods and services at CIIE this year. This number was nearly unchanged from last year, when 242 firms represented Hong Kong at the event.

The CIIE bureau, which organises the event, said earlier this year that Hong Kong companies were an important part of the show, as the city played an important role in helping the mainland economy integrate with the rest of the world.

On the other hand, CIIE “offers Hong Kong food brands access to the mainland market at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic still restricts travel by mainland tourists [to Hong Kong]”, said Chai Xiangfei, an executive at Umami Renzhi Management Consulting, the sales agent for Hong Kong food brands Chan Chi Mei, Tso Hin Kee and Pun Chun.

“Visitors to the event, ranging from senior managers of e-commerce companies to executives of wholesalers and retailers, and catering businesses, appeared to be astute at sniffing out opportunities,” he said, adding that a big volume of orders was in the pipeline following the event.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council said in a statement that it had organised 700 business meetings between 700 potential buyers and the 57 exhibitors that it had brought to the CIIE over the past six days.

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