Imported food products on display in Shanghai on Wednesday during a preparatory event for the sixth China International Import Expo. （GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY）
The sixth China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai in November began a 100-day countdown on Thursday, with the organizers saying more Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders have signed up for this year's mega show compared with last year.
What is more, during a signing ceremony on Wednesday, 40 companies inked agreements to attend the seventh CIIE in 2024.During an offline event in June, 25 companies, including L'Oreal and BSH Home Appliances, had signed up for next year's CIIE.
Sun Chenghai, deputy director of the CIIE Bureau, told a news conference on Wednesday that the world's top 15 carmakers, including BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the 10 largest medical equipment companies such as Medtronic and Siemens Healthineers, and the top three mining giants, including BHP, will all be present at this year's event.
Nearly 20 Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders, including Nobilia, a German maker of fitted kitchens, and Muji, a Japanese retailer, will make their CIIE debut this year.
Another 500 small and medium-sized enterprises, including those specializing in niche technologies and commanding larger market shares, will participate in the CIIE for the first time this year, said Sun.
"The CIIE has facilitated China's industrial upgrade by demonstrating the latest trends in industrial development worldwide and frontier results. With more than 2,000 technologies and products making their regional or global debut over the past five editions of the show, the exhibition has also contributed to China's consumption upgrade."
According to the CIIE Bureau, more than 360,000 square meters of exhibition area has been booked already, equal to last year's scale based on data in the public domain.
The exhibition area for consumption-related sectors like wine, beverages, seafood, fashion, nutrition supplements and logistics will increase by 30 percent this year. And the area taken up by meat and seafood product providers will surge by 80 percent year-on-year.
About 200 companies will attend the exhibition for the sixth consecutive year. French yeast and fermentation product provider Lesaffre Group is one of them. Yu Zhiqiong, the company's chief marketing officer for China, said Lesaffre will bring to China one of its flavoring agents via the sixth CIIE.
At a business matchmaking event held in Sichuan province in April, Lesaffre signed an agreement with Chengdu Hongqi Chain Co Ltd to sell its yeast products through the latter's convenience stores, Yu said.
"The CIIE has created an amiable business environment where we can fully demonstrate our competitive products. With full confidence in the Chinese market, we will firmly increase our investment here given its huge potential in the consumption sector," she said.
Comvita, a New Zealand health supplement company known for its honey products, will attend this year's CIIE, marking its participation for the third time in a row. According to the company's China general manager Zheng Yan, Comvita will roll out more products in China targeting the younger generation and consumers in smaller cities.
China's General Administration of Customs introduced a new measure to strengthen the CIIE this year. Animal and plant products, and foods from countries and regions with no corresponding epidemic, will be allowed to enter the exhibition upon receiving a special approval. For the past five CIIE editions, 19 Customs clearance and market entry policies were introduced to make the exhibition process smoother.