China Market Insider Positive conclusion for the Chinese import fair CIIE
The Chinese import fair CIIE was held at the beginning of November. In 2020, the number of sales contracts and declarations of intent is expected to be 2.1 % higher than in the previous year.
China’s import trade fair CIIE has generated purchase contracts and contracts of intent (MOUs) worth 72.62 billion dollar (around 61.36 billion euro), Chinese media report. The six-day mega-fair, which ended on 10 November, is thus one of the largest industrial exhibitions in the world that could be held this year despite the corona crisis. Advanced manufacturing equipment, medical devices and new e-cars were among the crowd pullers this year.
Despite strict Corona measures, the organisers still counted almost 400,000 visitors to the fair, about a fifth less than last year. Foreign company representatives arriving from outside China were first quarantined in a hotel for 14 days. While last year 6000 foreign visitors were counted, this time the exhibitors did not give any details.
Despite these somewhat difficult circumstances, many European companies were not deterred from participating. Large companies, including those from the German manufacturing industry, have branches in China anyway. As in previous years, they used the event to maintain important government and customer contacts. The “smooth running” of the third CIIE at such a special time strengthened his confidence in the recovery of the Chinese economy, Chen Yudong, president of Bosch (China) Investment Co Ltd, told China Daily.
Lothar Herrmann, CEO of Siemens China, spoke of the “enormous potential of the Chinese market” at the import trade fair. This was the third time that the German technology group took part in the CIIE in Shanghai. Herrmann was also able to report this year on a “great desire of Chinese companies” to “expand their cooperation with Siemens”, the China Daily quoted him as saying.
The CIIE was launched in 2018 with the direct participation of the Chinese party and state leader Xi Jinping. He wanted to demonstrate China's openness towards foreign countries and its adherence to globalisation in the face of the trade war with the USA led by Donald Trump.
With this history of origins, it is clear that such a political signal project can only ever achieve new successes in China's party media. This year, there is talk of a 2.1 % increase in sales contracts and declarations of intent compared with last year.
But propaganda aside, many foreign companies were actually pleased to receive concrete orders from Chinese customers, which were sealed during the import fair. Among the most active buyers were Chinese state companies and delegations of provincial governments.
The province of Zhejiang south of Shanghai, for example — a stronghold of the advanced manufacturing industry in China - was represented by a delegation of 28 companies, which signed 31 purchase contracts with German, Japanese and also US-American suppliers. A total of 12.79 billion yuan (around 1.6 billion euro) worth of mechanical and medical equipment was sold to China from abroad at the CIIE.
One German company that had reason to celebrate this time was Herrenknecht from Schwanau-Allmannsweier in Baden-Württemberg, a company internationally renowned for its high-quality tunnel boring machines. A 15.56-metre diameter pressurised-sludge tunnel boring machine was sold during the fair, and will soon be digging motorway tunnels near Shanghai, China Daily quoted company spokesman Rainer Hirsch.
Such export successes and the high-ranking political tailwind for CIIE clearly show that China does not want to close itself off from foreign countries despite trade wars and epidemics. For the German manufacturing industry, on the contrary, the importance of the Chinese market has only just increased significantly due to the corona lockdowns in Germany, which are damaging to the domestic economy.
This assessment is probably still valid when you hear on the sidelines of the fair that some companies are still waiting for the Chinese orders from the first CIIE in 2018 to be fulfilled. So there is a lot of hot air in the overall figures and success stories, but that is always part of business in China.