People visit the exhibition hall of Swarovski at the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in east China's Shanghai, Nov. 6, 2023. (Xinhua/Jin Liangkuai)
by Xinhua Writer Huang Shuo
SHANGHAI, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- The sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) -- the first complete return to in-person exhibitions since the onset of COVID-19 -- is a display of not only new products, technologies, and services worldwide, but also foreign businesses' strong confidence in the Chinese economy and market.
The CIIE this year features a larger business exhibition area and a higher number of participating Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders compared with previous editions. Many "old friends" and "new faces" in attendance expressed their commitment to and interest in exploring opportunities in the world's second-largest economy.
In particular, over 200 U.S. exhibitors in sectors including semiconductors, medical devices, new energy vehicles and cosmetics are attending the annual import expo this year, marking the largest U.S. presence in the history of the CIIE. Among the exhibitors are 17 from the agricultural and food industry, led by the U.S. government for the first time.
The expo itself is a major driver and platform of China's high-standard opening up, sharing China's enormous market with the world. Addressing the opening ceremony on Sunday, Chinese Premier Li Qiang said China has always been willing to share its market opportunities, vowing efforts to further expand opening up and ease market access.
With a population of over 1.4 billion and a middle-income group of over 400 million people, China presents huge potential in terms of market demand. Its commitment to opening up and jointly expanding the pie of the global market and its concrete actions in this regard further consolidate multinationals' confidence in the country.
At the ongoing expo, Julian Blissett, General Motors (GM) executive vice president and president of GM China, said the automobile giant is "looking forward to further tapping the huge potential of the Chinese market, which has great appeal with its dynamism and openness."
An exhibitor (L) introduces Siemens's hydrogen solutions model at the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in east China's Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2023. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)
Despite sluggish global trade since the beginning of the year, China's imports and exports have remained stable, with a growing accumulation of positive factors. Official data released on Tuesday showed that in October, China's imports increased by 6.4 percent year on year. In the first 10 months of 2023, its total imports and exports of goods expanded 0.03 percent year on year, reversing from a decrease of 0.2 percent in the first three quarters.
In the next five years, China's total trade in goods and services is expected to reach 32 trillion U.S. dollars and 5 trillion U.S. dollars, respectively, creating enormous market opportunities for the world.
"We will open 800 outlets in China this year, bringing the total to over 3,000," said Willie Tan, CEO of Skechers China, the Republic of Korea, and Southeast Asia markets. "China's market mechanism continues to improve and its high-level opening up has kept expanding. For foreign companies, an excellent business environment is a shot in the arm."
China's real gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow by 5.4 percent in 2023, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) statement said on Tuesday. "The Chinese economy is on track to meet the government's 2023 growth target, reflecting a strong post-COVID recovery."
Just as what entrepreneurs have sensed at the CIIE, the Chinese economy will continue to function as an engine of global growth, injecting more positive energy into the world economy through its high-level opening-up.