The China-South Asia Exposition, which kicked off on Wednesday in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan province, has grown into an important platform for strengthening trade partnerships, investment promotion and tourism cooperation between China and South Asian countries, said participants and experts.
Scheduled to run until Sunday, the expo, the seventh since 2013, resumed all on-site activities this year. Leveraging a venue that covers 150,000 square meters, the event rolled out 15 exhibition sections themed around biomedicine and health, advanced manufacturing, tourism culture, digital economy and others.
According to the expo organizer, this year's event has attracted more than 30,000 exhibitors from over 85 countries and regions, as well as international organizations, to participate via both offline and online channels.
Fully Light Travels & Tours Co Ltd, a travel service provider from Myanmar, is a first-timer to the event and hopes to reach out to more clients and expand its business network during the five-day session.
Kyaw Khing, the company's director, said: "China has a super-large market with strong consumption capability and massive business opportunities. For any enterprise looking forward to exploring overseas markets, China remains high on its cooperation agenda."
In particular, there is burgeoning demand from Chinese tourists to travel abroad after the country optimized its COVID-19 response measures. The expo could act as a great platform to help the company build relationships with Chinese travel agencies and scale up business cooperation for win-win results, he added.
In addition to many event newcomers, quite a few have been here several times already.
Tikaram Bhusal, a Nepali businessman who sells handwoven cashmere scarves, shawls and wraps, first took part in the expo in 2014 without too many expectations. Buyers from Beijing and Shanghai, however, placed long-term orders with him, helping him find a ready market.
Coming for the sixth time with his newly designed products in various patterns and colors to help meet the aesthetic demands of Chinese customers, Bhusal said he was more than happy to revisit Kunming after three years due to the pandemic.
"I hope to make up for the lost time over the past three years during this expo, reconnect with old friends in person and meet new clients," he said. "Face-to-face communication always helps me land orders more easily."
Over 100 Nepali businesspersons are participating in the expo and showcasing 80-plus local specialties including cashmere shawls and handicrafts, said Ram Sahaya Prasad Yadav, vice-president of Nepal, adding that the fair could serve as an important bridge between vendors and buyers in Nepal and China to boost bilateral trade.
Going forward, the two countries can strengthen cooperation in the fields of highways, railroads, border infrastructure and trade exchanges. Chinese investors are more than welcome to invest in Nepal in sectors including telecommunications, manufacturing, energy and high-tech, he added.
Xu Hongcai, deputy director of the China Association of Policy Science's Economic Policy Committee in Beijing, said that the China-South Asia Expo is held in Yunnan because it is a border province in Southwest China and a gateway to Southeast Asia and South Asia.
The event is well positioned to offer accurate and efficient matchmaking services for businesses in China and South Asia, so as to boost trade and investment cooperation, he added.
The annual trade volume between China and South Asian countries came in at under $100 billion a decade ago, but the figure neared $200 billion last year, representing an average annual increase of 8.3 percent, said the Ministry of Commerce.
This year's expo will launch a digital platform and provide livestreaming services to enable online conferencing, business discussions and the signing of agreements for vendors and buyers who cannot participate in the offline events.