The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has brought more business opportunities to the China Import and Export Fair, commonly known as the Canton Fair. Trade associations reported rises in the number of buyers from countries along the Belt and Road (B&R), contributing to a growth in transaction volume at the world's largest comprehensive trade fair, according to Xinhua reports. Boosted by market recovery and the BRI, nearly 80 percent of exhibitors reported increases in buyers, according to the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Imports & Exports.
Old friends of the Canton Fair from countries and regions along the B&R have not only witnessed the growth of the fair, but have also carried the benefits of the trade fair back to their home countries.
Indispensable gateway for Indonesian enterprises
"I can't remember how many sessions I've attended. The Canton Fair is not only a window for Chinese enterprises to go global, but also a platform for buyers from all over the world to develop their business and strengthen cooperation. This is why I keep on coming," said Mr. Alim Markus, Chairman of the Indonesia China Business Council and President of the Maspion Group in an interview.
The Maspion chain supermarkets under the Maspion Group purchased quite a lot of products through the Canton Fair. Alim Markus said, "The Canton Fair is an indispensable gateway for Indonesian enterprises to explore the Chinese market, and that opportunity cannot be missed."
Since the launch of the BRI in 2013, the purchase value from countries and regions along the B&R has accounted for about 40% of the total export turnover, and about 5,000 buyers from Indonesia have attended each session of the fair.
Over the past six years, Maspion Group has insisted on participating in the Canton Fair, displaying products like small household appliances and kitchen utensils mostly. For them, it is not only the Chinese market, but also the buyers from more than 200 countries and regions in the world who come to each session of the Canton Fair, that represent a global business resource that cannot be accessed through any other exhibitions in South East Asia. This is also an important reason why Maspion Group does purchasing and exhibiting now, vs. only sending purchasing personnel to attend the fair in the past.
Since 1992, Maspion Group has invested hundreds of millions of USDs into the construction of eight enterprises in Fujian, including an aluminum processing plant, a tooth socket plant, a soap factory and an ink factory.
The ICBC was established in 2002, and is aimed at strengthening the business ties between Indonesia and China. In 2011, the ICBC officially became one of the most important business partners of the Canton Fair in Indonesia and continues to be so.
"2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC). I'll definitely be there for the Canton Fair in Autumn," Alim Markus added.
Bring business model back to Malaysia
Ethnically Chinese, Dato' Chong Chong Tik, Chairman of the M-CCPIT and Director of the ES Event Management SDN. BHD., has for decades been promoting the development of exchange between China and Malaysia.
Since the 100th Canton Fair in 2006 when the import exhibition was first established, ES Event Management has brought 1,297 Malaysian exhibitors to the fair, bringing enterprises from various industries in Malaysia such as food and beverage, electronic appliances, machinery and equipment, hardware and building materials, textiles and consumer goods, etc. into the Chinese market.
Following the launch of the BRI, the Canton Fair has focused on attracting exhibitors from countries and regions along the B&R to the import exhibition area, so that more Malaysian enterprises can participate in the Canton Fair and explore the Chinese market.
Chong said, "The most important part is the ability to pick up advanced production and management ideas and experience when we come to the Canton Fair and China." Chong found some Chinese business models to be very adaptable, for example the "One Town, One Industry, and One Village, One Product", he believes to be suitable for Malaysian agriculture. Through study of this Chinese model, the Malaysian fruit farmers improved their production efficiency and market competitiveness. Meanwhile, they have a stable supply of high-quality products and better develop their exportation to the Chinese market!
"I have devoted most of my life to developing trade between Malaysia and China, because I think it is a very meaningful thing and my mission as Chairman of the M-CCPIT."
Made in China linking up thousands of islands
Due to the unique geography of the Indonesian archipelago, the isolation brought by the vast ocean, agricultural irrigation, production and daily use of water and electricity have all caused problems on the islands. To solve this problem, Kawan Lama Group purchased mechanical and electrical products in bulk through the Multinationals Sourcing Service of Canton Fair. These products are small in size (being fully portable), large in power, perform well, and most importantly, reasonably priced, and have solved the local people's problems around water and electricity supply.
Kawan Lama Group sends nearly 50 buyers to attend the Canton Fair every year, to both Spring and Autumn sessions. "The Canton Fair is the purchasing base for Kawan Lama. Most of our products are purchased at the fair," said William Widjaja, Purchasing Director of Kawan Lama Group.
On April 17th, 2018, Kawan Lama Group and Zhejiang Leo Group held a partnership signing ceremony at the 123rd Canton Fair. According to the agreement, the two enterprises will invest in the construction of a pumping plant in Indonesia.
Mr. Kuncoro Wibowo said, "The proposal and implementation of the BRI not only enables Kawan Lama Group to do business in China, but also to achieve positive results with our other global partners and promote the common development of all nations, which is very much in line with the way Kawan Lama Group operates."