A record number of Hong Kong exhibitors are attending this year’s China International Import Expo which began on Thursday in a bid to inject life into their businesses amid the global economic downturn. Now in its third year, the CIIE welcomed nearly 240 Hong Kong exhibitors – up 20 percent from last year’s expo – despite the travel restrictions and logistical hurdles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hong Kong exhibitors are pinning hopes on the Chinese import expo with the mainland’s economy rebounding swiftly despite the public health crisis. The expo saw exhibitors from Japan up 10 percent from last year and French exhibitors up by 7 percent, according to the organizer.
They are eyeing the 400,000 professional buyers registered for the six-day event, which covers six areas – automobiles, food and agricultural products, sci-tech life, quality life, trade-in service, as well as medical equipment and health products.
Exhibitors from the special administrative region will display their goods and services in all the sectors during the event, which runs from Thursday to Tuesday.
Juliet Zhou, general manager of Roger Kam & Co – a local accounting firm – is perceptive of the aspirations of the exhibitors from around the world. Her company is attending the expo for the first time.
Since the Chinese mainland is still the only economy showing positive growth amid the pandemic, she expects to see many high-caliber international companies taking part as they would like to tap into the mainland market as well, said Zhou.
Zhou sees unlimited opportunities at the CIIE, as Hong Kong’s accounting services have always been holistic and professional.
“For international clients who want to invest on the mainland, we can offer them insights into the country’s financial and taxation systems. As for mainland enterprises seeking to list in Hong Kong’s stock market, we could provide substantial advice as well,” she added.
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For a three-time participant, Hong Kong fintech firm Allinpay Financial Holdings, which focuses on providing efficient cross-boundary renminbi trade-settlement services, the expo offers the company an excellent networking platform for new e-commerce clients from various mainland provinces.
Leo Leung, operation director of Allinpay Financial Holdings, said although the company did not secure any deal on the spot during the previous two expos, the event has brought plenty of valuable contacts that can help his company generate immense sales opportunities.
He pointed out a lot of mainland e-commerce sellers would like to promote their products on international internet sales websites such as Amazon or eBay, but it’s still difficult for them to set up a foreign bank account.
“So, our Hong Kong-based company offers financial services that act as a ‘springboard’ for these mainland sellers to explore international markets. Mainland clients are extremely interested in working with us as Hong Kong is well-known for its robust financial infrastructure and free flow of capital,” said Leung.
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Local high-tech manufacturer SkyTech Creations is making its debut at CIIE this year.
As one of the suppliers of quarantine trackers to support the local government’s “StayHomeSafe” anti-epidemic program since February, the company’s business development assistant, Samantha Shao, said her company’s excited to take part in the expo which can attract government organizations and private enterprises.
Against the backdrop of China-US trade war and global economic gloom, we hope to make inroads into the mainland market, she said.
SkyTech set up a booth at CES Asia in Shanghai in 2019. “Although we did not make any huge business deal back then, we still regard it as an extremely valuable opportunity for us to get to know customers on the mainland,” she pointed out.
The company’s booth showcases brand-new products named “student sports training system”. “We know the mainland education system attaches great importance to students’ physical education, so we hope the newly-designed tracking wristband and tracking software could suit the needs of mainland sports teachers,” Shao said.
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Seeing the expo as a “gateway” for the new market, Ankur Bordia, director of Valentine Jewels (HK), said his company is also making its first appearance at the expo. Bordia, who has been doing business in Hong Kong for 13 years, said the pandemic has affected his jewelry and gemstone operations.
“After all, it’s a luxury business and people will only buy our products when they’re happy and with extra money to spend,” he said.
With a huge population and high purchasing power, the mainland offers abundant opportunities for his business, he said.
Valentine Jewels used to focus on the US market but is now shifting its attention to the Chinese and Asian markets. “Fifteen years ago, about 85 percent of our business deals originated from the US market, but there has been a steady decline, Nowadays, maybe only 60 percent of our business is done in the US,” he said.
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“Whereas, for the Chinese mainland, 15 years back, less than 5 percent of my business was conducted there 15 years ago. It has now gone up to at least 25 percent.”
Uncertainties over the US-China trade tensions are one of the reasons that caused Bordia to shift his business focus away from the US.
The veteran jeweler has set his sights on Asian markets, such as the Chinese mainland, Singapore, Japan and Malaysia, to gain new traction for his business.