The booth of a Chinese exhibitor during the recent 13th China HomeLife Dubai 2022 in the United Arab Emirates. [Photo/XINHUA]
With China optimizing its COVID-19 response to provide stronger support for economic growth, business leaders from many provinces and cities have been chartering flights to visit overseas destinations, in order to win more business orders and fortify commercial ties with their peers across the world.
Trade observers describe such business trips as a “race against time” to boost subdued demand and build ties with new clients overseas via face-to-face communication.
Jet-setting emerged as an urgent response to a decline in overall export performance in recent months, affected mainly by the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and softening demand for goods in many countries, said Bai Ming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.
Xiang Lehong, chairman of Loctek Ergonomic Technology Corp, a Ningbo, Zhejiang province-based office products manufacturer, and executives of other companies, have been busy visiting port areas and making plans for building overseas warehouses, especially in California and Oregon. After arriving in the United States in mid-December, they have also been seeking business opportunities and negotiating deals with their US clients.
In addition to visiting existing clients’ stores and factories, and participating in trade exhibitions in developed markets, top executives and sales heads of many Chinese companies have been traveling to and from developing markets and signatory countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, where they see demand for Chinese goods surging. The RCEP agreement, which came into force on Jan 1, has already delivered considerable dividends to member economies via tariff concessions and trade facilitation, they said.
After taking part in the Fourth Malaysia-China Trade Expo in Kuala Lumpur in early November and the 13th China HomeLife Dubai 2022 in the United Arab Emirates earlier this month, Zhao Xianmei, president of Bella (Guangzhou) Intelligent Information Technology Co Ltd, a Guangdong-province based medical device supplier, said the company will encourage its teams to participate in more trade shows in overseas markets next year.
“By participating in these overseas exhibitions, we have met a large number of new clients and won new business orders,” said Zhao.
Of the 47 Guangdong-based companies, including Bella (Guangzhou), that participated in the Kuala Lumpur expo, 43 signed export deals and expressions of interest worth a potential $23.5 million.
Guangdong’s provincial department of commerce said last week that a delegation comprising 270 representatives of 140 companies based in the province, attended the Dubai show and won potential orders worth $1 billion earlier this month.
The department also said the Dubai fair was attended by around 1,200 Chinese companies from 13 provinces, including Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong and Fujian.
During the trade event, 17,000 business meetings were held among 10,280 buyers from 12 countries, involving Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the US, Russia and France. About 85 percent of exhibitors secured intended orders worth a potential $2.06 billion.
It is practical to have face-to-face meetings with foreign clients, particularly those in traditional manufacturing like clothing and industrial parts, said Zhang Yongjun, a researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges in Beijing.
He said as China optimizes more COVID-19 control measures, chartered flights may not be needed. Daily commercial flights surely can meet business travel demand in the coming months.
China’s foreign trade value rose 8.6 percent year-on-year to 38.34 trillion yuan ($5.5 trillion) during the January-November period this year. The country’s private companies, a major force in foreign trade, saw their exports surge 18.1 percent yearon-year to 13.22 trillion yuan during the period, accounting for 60.6 percent of the country’s total exports, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.