Despite the COVID-19 pandemic raging globally, the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) saw a record total value of deals signed, outperforming the past two events, official data showed Tuesday.
The third CIIE, which concluded here Tuesday, saw 72.62 billion U.S. dollars' worth of deals reached for intended one-year purchases of goods and services, up 2.1 percent from the last expo, Sun Chenghai, deputy director of the CIIE Bureau, told a press conference.
This follows 57.83 billion dollars of deals for intended purchases inked at the inaugural expo in 2018, and 71.13 billion dollars' worth of tentative deals at the second expo last year.
Though restrictions were in place due to virus containment, this year's CIIE had an exhibition area of 360,000 square meters, almost 30,000 square meters larger than last year's event. Nearly 400,000 visitors from across the world signed up for the event, Sun said.
Nearly 80 percent of the world's top 500 companies and industry leaders that participated in previous expos returned to Shanghai this year, he added, noting that up to 411 new products, technologies and services were launched at the 3rd CIIE.
Matchmaking sessions for investors and exhibitors at the third CIIE were productive, with up to 861 cooperation intention deals reached at online or offline sessions attended by 674 exhibitors and 1,351 buyers, according to the organizer.
Encouraged by opportunities seen at the expo, hundreds of enterprises have signed up for the fourth CIIE next year, Sun said.
Before the opening of the third CIIE, nearly 100 exhibitors, including Hyundai Motor Group, Shiseido and Michelin, had already signed with the bureau to attend the expo for the next three years.
The early booking is evidence of "recognition of the CIIE and confidence in the Chinese market," said Wang Bingnan, director of the CIIE Bureau and China's vice-minister of commerce.
Pavol Dobrocky, head of Human Pharma, Boehringer-Ingelheim China, said his company reaped "very fruitful" outcomes at the third CIIE and has already secured a place for next year.
During the expo, Boehringer Ingelheim, the world's leading pharmaceutical company, officially launched its Stroke Care Total Solution product and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese Stroke Association.
Regarding the Chinese market as the company's largest future growth engine, Dobrocky revealed that Boehringer Ingelheim will increase its investment in China by 451 million euro (about 533 million U.S. dollars) over the next five years.
"The CIIE is one of our most anticipated events of the year," said Robert Aspell, president of Asia Pacific for Cargill. At this year's expo, the U.S. agribusiness giant showcased a plant-based "meat" product.
"At CIIE, we can feel the enthusiasm and vitality of the market, especially on new innovations," Aspell told Xinhua, noting that the expo is an important platform for making exchanges and learning from peer companies.
Bolivian exporters, who brought quinoa, beef and alpaca products all the way from the small South American nation thousands of kilometers away, have also found the expo very rewarding.
Sandra Mabel Mariscal, business secretary to the chairman of the Bolivia Trade and Investment Department, said the department intended to seek cooperation with large Chinese enterprises, local stores and supermarkets on agricultural commodities.
"To our delight, the Bolivian booth has attracted quite some visitors and potential buyers," she told Xinhua, adding that the department has locked in a cooperation plan of 10 million U.S. dollars covering the next five years.
China's imports climbed 0.9 percent year on year to 1.22 trillion yuan (about 185 billion U.S. dollars) in October, according to official data.