Visitors learn about a smart sewing machine at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Thursday. (Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily)
The import of consumer goods to China is expected to maintain rapid growth, driven by China's economic development and people's increasing incomes, a national organization said on Thursday.
"In recent years, China has released a series of measures to facilitate international trade, such as cutting tariffs for consumer goods, including some luxury goods, which effectively spurred the growth of imports," said Li Wenfeng, vice-president of China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Light Industrial Products and Arts-Crafts.
"With Chinese people's incomes continuing to increase, and the expansion of the middle class, China has great potential in the importation of consumer goods," Li said.
Imports of consumer goods rose 53 percent in China last year to $202 billion, driven by increasing demand for high-end products and government measures to encourage imports, according to a report released by the chamber on Thursday during the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
Zeng Xiwen, Unilever's vice-president for North Asia, said China is an important market for the company, and there is still big potential for business growth in China.
Of more than 400 international brands held by the company, only about 30 are available in China, he said.
"We are very confident in the Chinese market," Zeng said. "With the upgrading of consumption in China, we hope more of our products can enter China to provide more choices for Chinese customers."
The company has about 400 kinds of products on display at the expo, but 90 percent of them are still not available in the Chinese market, he said.
Adam Wieczorek, general manager of Kosmed, a cosmetics and healthcare products maker in Poland, said that while the company's products are not available in China yet, several of its products are now under inspection and testing by China's drug authorities. He hoped they would be available in China within two months.
"We are very glad that our company was chosen by the Polish government to attend the expo," he said. "The expo has provided a good opportunity to show our products to the Chinese."