SHANGHAI, Dec. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The "Better Life and Beyond"-themed Belt & Road Brand Expo 2017 came to a successful close at the Shanghai Exhibition Center on December 10, 2017.
As the first edition of the event, the 10,000-square-meter exhibition assembled under one roof over 160 companies from 26 countries and regions, among them the host country, China, as well as Australia, Croatia, Cuba, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey. Exhibitors from around the world showcased their best products, technologies and cultural artifacts in the food and beverage, cosmetics and skin care, handicrafts, home improvement, jewelry and gems, fashion and accessories, lifestyle, tourism and culture, as well as investment and trade sectors.
The upcoming China International Import Expo in 2018 was announced at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing in May 2017, further evidencing China's determination to continue its efforts in opening up its market to the world. Recently rolled-out policies are providing companies with investment and trade support as well as creating a friendly legal business environment that assists them in expanding on their globalization efforts. All of these actions are aligned with the guidelines of the Chinese government's One Belt, One Road Initiative. At the same time, the high level of engagement among professional buyers as well as by general visitors at the event reflected the new momentum in China's liberalization of trade.
The Iran exhibition zone had on display hand-knitted Persian carpets, a handicraft dated back to as long as 260 years ago. In addition to carpets on display with lifelike images woven into the pattern reflecting the superior level of skill, Iranian companies also provided customized carpets, frames and cushions that meet the differing preferences of home owners, renters and decorators. Several Iranian exhibitors who attended a Chinese exhibition for the first time were deeply impressed by the huge market and high purchasing power of China's consumers. They quickly became cognizant of the vast potential behind the business opportunity and the enhanced access to the favorable business environment in China by participating in the event. High-end fine hand-knitted carpets that are well suited to enhance the decor of a Chinese home were on display, while affordable middle-end machine-made carpets attracted much attention from professional buyers. During the expo, the Iranian exhibitors showcased Persian culture as well as the country's centuries-old handicraft art with the aim of providing Chinese consumers with access to products embodying Iran's culture.
Attendees had an opportunity to enjoy the aroma of Ceylon black tea from Sri Lanka. The island country's exhibitors said the popularity of Ceylon tea among Chinese consumers has continued to increase over last few years. Show visitors were provided an opportunity to sample the many flavors of the black tea. The exhibitors observed a strong preference for the tea among Shanghai-based visitors and, as a result, plan to focus on expanding their presence in Shanghai. An exhibitor from the island nation who engages primarily in Sri Lankan cotton products noted that it was his first visit to Shanghai, however, the positive feedback the exhibitor received during the three-day exhibition made him feel that he had found an exciting new market for his products. Consequently, he plans to open an online store working with one of the cross-border e-commerce firms, targeting the local Shanghai market. Sri Lankan sapphires showcased at a booth, despite the booth's non-prominent location, still drew an immense crowd and attention.
Pakistan-based companies displayed their handicraft and jade creations that feature the country's national colors. An exhibitor from the South Asian country said their presence at the event allowed Shanghainese shoppers to gain direct access to Pakistani specialty products, while his hand-made rosewood furniture on display received many positive comments from buyers and visitors passing by the booth. He said that he believes the One Belt, One Road initiative is sure to create more business opportunities for companies in Pakistan.
Russian exhibitors said they made contacts with more than 30 trading partners during the expo. They showcased Russian ice cream, biscuits and puffed grains, all of which drew the attention of visitors. The Russian exhibitors explained that the event served as a networking platform that helps them expand into the Chinese market. They plan to build a showroom in Shanghai, where they will showcase Russia's specialty products as well as products that have a Russian cultural basis.
A cigar agent from the Dominican Republic said the event gave visitors an opportunity learn about Shanghai-based companies specializing in the promotion of the cigar culture. Leading Dominican cigar masters were invited to put on an on-site cigar rolling performance, drawing the attention of many visitors and helping promote the culture that has grown up around the cigar.
The event also proved successful for exhibitors from Kazakhstan as they were able to establish connections with leading Chinese e-commerce firms, including JD.com and Suning.cn. They said they plan to work with these Chinese firms to open online stores with the goal of introducing organic and green products from the Central Asian country into the Chinese market.
At the Poland exhibition zone, the exhibits that attracted the most attention were those displaying chrysophoron and beeswax, known in the Eastern European country as "living gems". In addition to being presented with a dizzying array of accessories, visitors were given an opportunity to get a close look at the country's signature products. The Polish exhibitors said they experienced better-than-expected outcomes and plan to attend future editions of the event, adding that they would come regardless of whether subsequent events are held in Shanghai or elsewhere in China.
Exhibitors from Mauritius provided visitors an opportunity to taste their specialty rums, a product that has been proving to be an online sensation. An executive from a participating Mauritius-based company said, even as he first entered the business at quite a young age, he had already become aware of the enthusiasm that Chinese shoppers has expressed about Mauritian rums and was confident about his expansion into China.
Exquisite thangkas were on display at the Nepal exhibition zone. Skilled painters delivered an on-site drawing performance with natural mineral pigments of different colors, leaving a deep impression on attendees. Additionally, the on-site wood carving performance and the showcase of Buddha sound bowls were events that drew large crowds. Attendees expressed their interest in the Kopi Luwak or civet coffee displayed at the Indonesia exhibition zone, while giving high praise to the preservative-free seven-layer honey cakes made primarily from honey and walnuts after tasting them in the area reserved for exhibitors from the Czech Republic. The exhibitors who had established online stores on Taobao.com, China's leading online marketplace for retailers, saw the traffic to their store skyrocket as a result of their presence at the expo. Roses from Ecuador, among other little-known products displayed at the exhibition, gave attendees a chance to get a real and authentic sense of the culture, customs and lifestyles that define each of the 26 countries participating in the event.
Chinese companies were the main exhibitors in the enterprise pavilions, with product displays from companies located in Ordos (Inner Mongolia), Huzhou (Zhejiang Province), Hong Kong and Taiwan being featured. Bright Food Group and its subsidiary Shanghai Tangjiu Group, Shanghai Yimin Commercial Group, Liangyou Group, Bright Dairy & Food and Shanghai Maling Aquarius each had exhibits. The Shanghai Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives teamed up with the city's time-honored brands to showcase their products. In the role of both traders and exhibitors, they sought opportunities in terms of networking, exchanges and partnerships with companies participating in the event.
During the expo, a comprehensive series of concurrent events were held, including 12 forums and promotional conferences, several of which were hosted by consul generals, commercial attachés and other official representatives of countries with a presence in Shanghai, with a focus on investment and trade, tourism and culture as well as education in the folkloric traditions of each of the participating countries. The planned events included nearly 50 business matching sessions, attended by leading supermarket brands, including Bailian Group, RT-Mart, Auchan, Metro, JD.com, Suning.cn and Yhd.com, as well as several other leading Chinese e-commerce companies. Some sessions featured exotic performances that delivered an education in the tea and incense ceremonies that prevailed during the Han Dynasty. A few specialized events focused on scenario-based and "hands-on" experiences with many of the products on display throughout the expo.
The three-day event brought together companies from across the world with the aim of leveraging the opportunities created by the One Belt, One Road Initiative as well as building an international platform for China and countries targeted by the Initiative where they could display their high-quality specialty products, engage in cultural exchanges with other participating countries at the event as well as generally promote trade exchanges and other forms of cooperation. Future editions of the event will be committed to showcasing branding products from a wider range of countries and providing visitors with an even more diverse set of exotic experiences. In addition to helping Chinese companies expand beyond the home market and introducing products from around the world, the event shares the vision of the One Belt, One Road initiative while responding to the expectation among Chinese consumers for an enhanced standard of living.
SOURCE Shanghai International Exhibition Co., Ltd.