Giant international import show reveals huge overseas business interest in the China market.

Many foreign enterprises are eager to test the water in the Chinese market as the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) gathers pace this week.

For example, the UK-headquartered bio-pharmaceutical enterprise AstraZeneca has meticulously planned the layout of its exhibition booth and brought the most cutting-edge products to the event and Chinese buyers as CIIE runs this week until November 10.

"AstraZeneca is a beneficiary of China's opening up and import expansion and it has achieved fruitful results in the alignment between the world's wisdom and Chinese opportunities," said Leon Wang, Executive Vice-President of International at AstraZeneca.

He told People's Daily that the company has introduced over 30 innovative medicines since it entered Chinese market 25 years ago, and China has become the company's second largest market in the world.

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The country plays an increasingly vital role in AstraZeneca's global operation whether in R&D, production, or business innovation, he added.

American multinational conglomerate 3M will debut a series of products during the CIIE, such as the smart car air purifier, the formaldehyde-degradation car floor mat, and children's PM2.5-filtering mask.

3M has invested a total of over $1 billion in China since establishing an exclusively foreign-owned enterprise in the country in 1984. It has built nine production bases, four technological centres and two R&D centres in China.

A spokesman told People's Daily that 3M is showcasing cutting-edge technologies and innovative products at the CIIE: "We are confident about China's future economic development, and are willing to expand investment and business in the country."

"The opening up of the Chinese market and the CIIE will boost economic and trade exchanges among countries and promote growth of global trade and world economy,"

said a spokesman for Bosch Home Appliances (BHA). BHA would support the opening up of the Chinese market and trade facilitation and keep enhancing its local production and R&D in China.

China's efforts to expand imports in recent years have helped businesses from more countries as regions board the express train of China's development. China these days has strong purchasing power in its consumer market thanks to the growth in people's income.

One in every three vehicles sold in the world is bought by Chinese. The per customer transaction of fresh food made by Chinese urban families averages $15 and each urban household makes 121 such transactions each year.

China also surpassed Japan to become the largest life insurance market in Asia with nearly 80 per cent of the newly added premiums coming from the Chinese market.

China has also lowered tariffs on many daily supplies. For instance, wines from Chile and Georgia, which were subject to a tariff of 14 to 30 per cent, can now enter China tariff-free; the tariff on tropical fruits from Association of Southeast Asian Nations such as durians, litchi and pitayas has been reduced to zero from 15 to 30 per cent; and salmon from Iceland have also been exempted from customs duty that stood at 10 to 12 per cent.

The tariff on some Swiss watches is now cut by half; South Korean fridges and electric cooker tariffs have dropped by 40 per cent and will be entirely removed in the next few years.

China is importing not only products but also services. China's open up policy has accelerated the pace of foreign education, healthcare and finance sector entry to the Chinese market, giving Chinese consumers high-quality and internationalised services without going abroad.

"Expanding imports not only meets short-term consumption demands but also has a clear spillover effect on the transformation and upgrading of domestic industries," said Zhao Ping, director of the international trade research department under the Academy of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Further opening up steps would force domestic service providers to upgrade and finally enhance their supply capacity, Zhao said – a situation that all the Chinese consumers would like to see.

Content sourced from the People's Daily Online here