In 2018, China hosted its first large-scale import show: the China International Import Expo (CIIE). The size of the Chinese market has long attracted companies from around the world but now with the CIIE, China is reaching a new level of cooperation with countries in a wide variety of sectors.
"CIIE is an important step for further opening up," said Bai Ming, professor from Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under Ministry of Commerce.
"The CIIE has created demand in the Chinese market, which enhances China's international status and helps China gain the upper hand in the trade war provoked by the U.S. under protectionism," he added.
China and the world
Over 40 years ago, China began the process of reform and opening up. Today, it has 17 free trade agreements and has established close ties with 25 economies around the world.
China's imports and exports totaled at 4.6 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018, among which imports took up 10.8 percent of global imports, ranking second globally.
One key project has been the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2018, the trade volume between China and Belt and Road countries reached almost 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars, up 16.3 percent from the previous year.
Meanwhile, completed projects in those countries amounted to 89.3 billion U.S. dollars, greatly contributing to the development of local economies.
China's economy is still changing with each passing day. And international trade has increasingly counted on the participation and support of the Chinese market.
An attractive market
The key appeal of the Chinese market is, of course, its size.
Retail sales of consumer goods reached over 38 trillion yuan (5.3 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2018, compared to 27.7 billion yuan in 1952. That's an average hike of 11.6 percent per year. That's an average hike of 11.6 percent per year. And consumers have seen more and more money in their wallets.
But the market has also matured. Between 1982 and 2018, imports and exports of knowledge-intensive services increased from one billion U.S. dollars to 256 billion U.S. dollars, an average annual hike of 16.6 percent.
Knowledge-intensive services accounted for 32.4 percent of total imports and exports of services in 2018.
The reason why CIIE attracts many countries is that China is a huge market of 1.4 billion people, Bai reckoned, stressing that "CIIE allows others to share the fruits of China's economic development, which helps them find better opportunities in China."
According to Ease of Doing Business 2020 released by World Bank this year, China ranked 31th in the world in terms of ease of doing business. Two years earlier, it was still 78th, representing a whopping 47-place jump, thanks to a series of reforms.
A large market can attract friends, and China wants to keep those friends. With a comfortable and convenient business environment, it hopes it can make those friends from around the world feel at home.