(Yicai Global) Nov. 22 -- The debut China International Import Expo, the world's first ever import-only trade show, showed China's popularity and market potential to the world, and has left many exhibitors still busy after its conclusion.
"We became busier after the fair," Arthur Wu, president of China-Chile Central in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, told Yicai Global. "Foreign companies asked us how to enter China quickly and effectively, and domestic ones also wanted to collect more overseas materials through us."
"These machines have just been shipped and are still being debugged," said Zhen Chao, general manager of Australian-owned ANCA Machine Tool Shanghai, as some large smart manufacturing equipment arrived at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone from a pavilion at the CIIE on Nov. 14.
Besides selling machines during the expo, the company also signed a number of high-value future deals, Zhao said, adding that he is busy with all the requisite follow-up work.
The machine maker isn't the only company busy after the expo.
"I just met a customer from Sichuan province this morning," said Zhu Hunan, manager for the Chinese market and channel management at Hurco Companies. "He made use of the last few hours before his plane took off in the afternoon to negotiate with us."
Zhu said the customer in question had originally planned to visit another Shanghai-based manufacturer, but after learning about Hurco's products at the CIIE, he changed his mind.
Held in Shanghai between Nov. 5 and 10, more than 3,600 overseas businesses registered for the CIIE, of which 200 were on the Fortune Global 500 list. Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered the keynote speech at the opening ceremony, wishing "all friends participating in this Expo a most pleasant and rewarding experience."
The CIIE "demonstrated China's market sentiment effect and allowed the world to see China's market potential," according to Quan Heng, vice director of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and director of the World Economic Research Institute under SASS.
Besides customers with intent and growing orders, the CIIE has also helped overseas exhibitors improve their level of trade service.
For China-Chile Central, Chile's national pavilion at the Shanghai FTZ, hunting for business opportunities was not its sole reason to participate in the expo, it also wanted to improve its service level.
Upgrading to set a standard for a single good from just providing import and export services is the first step, Central's President Wu told Yicai Global. "For example, Central began formulating a standard for qualified Chilean cherries for export to China last year, which was recognized at the fair."
About 80 percent of Chilean cherries will be sold to China this year. The delivery time has been cut to three days at most from 30 days though the two countries are thousands of miles apart. It is not so difficult now to enjoy fresh products from the South American country in China, thanks to science and technology and trade facilitation policies.
In the post-CIIE period, Central is no longer satisfied with merely providing services for single product dealers. It hopes to effectively serve local import and export firms through cooperation with the whole region, and thereby achieve service upgrade, Wu added.
Wu said he always wanted to upgrade Central's position from being Chile's national pavilion to a pavilion of Latin American countries, and the CIIE made this possible. "We communicated with various Latin American countries, including Chile, over this idea during the expo and signed related agreements and service deals with them. I believe it will be realized before the Spring Festival."
To allow more global high-quality goods and services to easily enter the Chinese market, districts in Shanghai will open some regular imported goods exhibition and sales centers to provide one-stop service, such as customs clearance, logistics distribution, processing and warehousing, distribution, and supply and demand connection, for global companies to promote the monetization of their exhibits.
The number of customers calling and visiting has shot up after the expo, an employee at the year-round display trading platform -- Shanghai FTZ parallel imported car display trading center -- told Yicai Global.
"This regular exhibition and trading platform provides an organic linkage to the entry of imported goods into the domestic retail market," Xu Mingqi, a researcher at the World Economic Research Institute under SASS, told Yicai Global.
Though the expo has ended, the alliance is still collecting follow-up feedback from exhibitors since it can't formulate plans and services to promote the transactions otherwise, according to Li Nan, secretary general of Software Business Union of Shanghai.
"Feedback over SBUS and exhibitors is expected to become more intense at the end of November," he said "We'll summarize and analyze specific suggestions and problems for further advancement and connection with foreign companies."
Some regular trading and service platforms have started to consider how to better serve the next CIIE. After the expo, Central is looking into how to coordinate with other regular exhibition and trading platforms to promote follow-up work and prepare for next year's event, Wu said.
"We've held internal meetings to discuss how to expand the spillover effects of services during the expo," he said. "Central is studying how to provide more and better services to countries and companies that participated this year and will also participate next year, so that customers may have the same benefits and opportunities they enjoyed during the fair at any time of a year."