NANNING, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- This year's China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) has witnessed an increasing number of companies in the region striving to expand their footprints in the Chinese market against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, they are also invigorating the region's digital economy through cross-border e-commerce, including live streaming sales, online shops and sub-applications on mobile devices.
It has been seven years since Kaldu Sari Nabati Indonesia entered the Chinese market, yet it was the Indonesian snacks and beverages manufacturer's first time to participate in the CAEXPO, with the hope to make a difference online.
"It is actually beyond my expectation. All the visitors have gone through COVID-19 test. And I did not expect that so many people attend this expo. Well, you can see the crowd now. And we are nearly out of stock currently," said Kalina Wong, an online distributor for Nabati, adding that they got "a new interested party that wants to be our retailer" on the second day of the expo.
During the four-day CAEXPO, Nabati has planned to do live streaming every day on major Chinese e-commerce platforms, including Alibaba-backed Taobao, Pinduoduo and JD. com, as well as sensational video-sharing social networking service Douyin.
"Indeed, China's live streaming market is a trend now. Because of the pandemic, clients like to use live streaming to purchase," Wong said. On Nov. 27, the first day of the expo, the company managed to gain up to 1,000 orders through live streaming.
"China is a good potential market actually ... I gained a lot of business opportunities through this expo. Our retail has been very well. Our online (sale) is also doing very well through the China expo. We wish to attend the next China-ASEAN Expo next year," she noted.
"No doubt China is the best country in the world in containing COVID-19 and I can see the economy grows very, very fast. So I'm actually confident to build up our market share in China," Wong added.
It was Loh Wee Keng's third time to come to the CAEXPO as an exhibitor for Regal Mart International Sdn. Bhd, a Malaysian company that imports and exports foodstuffs.
The general manager of the company called the expo "a very good platform for us to come into the Chinese market" and "a very good window for us to promote our products," because major expos like the CAEXPO and China International Import Expo show the world that "how China can attract all the big players in the world to come to China. And we can distribute our products through China to other countries."
Loh also mentioned this year, they have invited an KOL (Key Opinion Leader) to enrich the company's promotion, as they noticed an array of live streaming sales activities for the past few months in China. "So we can see for the next five years, online business will be booming."
He noted that the Chinese government has emphasized that in the future China will concentrate more on digital economy and how to utilize e-commerce platforms.
"I think this is a very good indicator for us businessmen to follow the country's policy, and we will focus on e-commerce. This is the development for the future," he said.
In this aspect, Zeng Jinsong, vice president of the Bangkok-based Charoen Pokphand Group, also noted that with much resource devoted, China has been a major player in developing digital economy in the global arena.
He then expressed optimism about a bright prospect for digital economy in not only China, but also the whole Asia, thanks to the signing of the landmark Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which includes the 10-member ASEAN, and other five signatories including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
The entrepreneur also hailed the CAEXPO as a key platform that brings more and more opportunities for cooperation and communication, and allows various enterprises, big or small, to establish partnership in the region.
For start-ups like BebeBalm, a Philippine skincare products manufacturer, both offline exhibitions and online applications are effective ways to seek out a niche market in China.
Founded in 2018, BebeBalm first came into public sight in bazaars in Shanghai, where it gained a crowd of customers, many being foreigners and expatriates in China.
Apart from offline promotion activities, Carol Ong, the founder of the company, also set up an online selling channel on Mini Program, a sub-application built within China's social networking giant Wechat, to solicit more business opportunities.
Yet owing to COVID-19, the CAEXPO was the firm's first on-site exhibition this year and it was also the first time BebeBalm got involved in a multiple-nation event.
"What we're trying to do right now is hopefully with this expo, we can reach out more to the Chinese market," Ong said, adding that they were looking for Chinese sellers to help them, but has also obtained commercial contacts from other countries in the expo.
"I came here with the intent of really talking to more China sellers. And then it's a bonus that there are businessmen from other countries as far as Dubai, Egypt and Africa, who are interested in our products," the female entrepreneur noted.
"Yesterday some people bought our products. And they already came back today," she said. "What I like about it (the CAEXPO) is that the people (here) are very receptive. And our department of trade said this is a good test market, because if people like it (the brand) here, customers in different parts of China also likely like it."
Ong said they now focus more on online selling through WeChat Mini Program in the post-pandemic era in China and would like to attend the CAEXPO next year. "I would say for us it's a beneficial way to explore the Chinese market after the pandemic, because we're so small right now, and would like to go to all these different channels." Enditem
(Xinhua reporters Qin Xingxing and Fan Chao in Nanning also contributed to the story.)