While giving Chinese consumers an opportunity to learn more about overseas products, the China International Import Expo also works as an important gateway through which overseas companies can further look into the Chinese market, said top management from global leading fast-moving consumer goods company Unilever.
It is the third year in a row that Unilever has attended the CIIE. More than 400 products of Unilever's 20 best-selling brands are displayed at this year's show, including the well-established personal care brand Dove and US sustainable personal care brand Love Beauty and Planet. The Water Boost line under the UK's top professional sensitive skincare brand Simple made its debut in China during this year's edition of the CIIE.
Another highlight of Unilever's booth this year are premium brands within the company's portfolio, including US high-end laundry brand The Laundress, Korean premium SPA-level skincare brand AHC and Japanese essence expert brand Tunemakers.
According to Rohit Jawa, executive vice-president of Unilever, the introduction of more premium brands is "very relevant for the Chinese market", as people are looking for high quality products at all levels of income.
"China is a very broad market for Unilever. It is not a secret that most of the growth in the world in the next decade or so will come from China. We are highly committed to China and growing in China. In order for us to do that, we have got to make sure that we bring the best of our brands, products and technologies to serve the Chinese consumers," Jawa said.
At least 10 brands which were showcased at the CIIE in the past two years have been introduced into the Chinese market at a faster pace. The century-old UK hygiene brand Domestos is one of the best examples. After showcasing at the past two editions of the CIIE, the product was officially launched in China this August, which has also reflected the spillover effects of the exhibition, according to Jawa.
"The CIIE gives us a very big platform to showcase some of the interesting new ideas and products, test them, scale them and turn them into local successes for years to come," he said.
While Unilever's business in China, especially the business units closely related to food businesses and restaurants, saw a contraction during the early period of the epidemic, the company still noticed a huge sales increase in hygiene, home cooking, indulgence, and immunity boosting products. Business recovery started in the second quarter and the company has come back to growth in the third quarter. Stability can be expected early next year, according to Jawa.
"I think that is testimony to the resilience of the Chinese economy and the stability of the Chinese system. The market is absolutely promising and potential."
In order to allow more people who could not be present at the CIIE, Unilever launched a 720-degree online exhibition hall to provide cloud visits. The company also set up a live streaming room in the booth to serve as a prelude for the Singles Day shopping carnival, which falls on Nov 11 every year and connects the CIIE seamlessly.