What does CIIE mean for foreign companies in China?
Editor's Note: China International Import Expo (CIIE) is a China-held annual event, beginning in 2018, in support of free trade and globalization; it symbolizes the country's continual opening-up. Brandy Niu, general manager of Mars Pet Nutrition China, shares her views on how foreign companies in China benefit from their participation in the CIIE. The views expressed in the video are her own, and do not necessarily reflect those of CGTN. The interview was conducted in Chinese; the following is an edited translation of the transcript.
CGTN: Why is the CIIE attractive for foreign companies in China?
Niu: The CIIE is the largest expo in China in terms of imports. Almost all provincial and municipal governments will participate in the event, including departments overseeing customs and trade, and also, some foreign trade agencies.
As a company, it's very easy for us to talk with them so that we can understand how it is like to work with them and get support; it helps us prepare for future business as we receive very good advice from them, so the CIIE is a platform where you can have many things done as a business.
CGTN: How has participating in the CIIE made a difference to foreign companies' operations in China?
Niu: During the CIIE, we will have many clients and partners coming to our booth to taste and test our products. We can analyze what the cost structure would be like to work together, and negotiate with our clients. We can make some preliminary progress with that.
The indication of interest in our products can strengthen our confidence in investing in the Chinese market. So we will make decisions quickly in the next year.
Last year was the first time that Mars participated in the CIIE. In fact, we showcased many of our new products. During the expo, these products were well-received by our clients and partners, which boosted our confidence.
So in the following year, we have decided to introduce these products to the Chinese market, either through imports, or through building factories in China to produce them locally, for example, we decided to produce our products, Be-kind in China following last year's CIIE.
CGTN: Why do you think China is hosting an import expo?
Niu: The whole nation is very willing to open up the market and promote trade. I believe this is the main goal of the expo. In addition, the CIIE provides a very good promotional platform for companies to bring in new products, during this process we introduce more products to the Chinese market and invest here and become more confident in doing so. This also means more tax revenues and more employment opportunities for local people, which will have a more positive impact on the Chinese economy.
CGTN: What are some of the other measures China has adopted to indicate the country's further opening-up?
Niu: Over the past few years, we can see that the government has made great efforts to promote further opening-up.
I can give you some examples. The first is the Foreign Investment Law. Since the law was passed, we have continuously increased our investment in China. Next, we will invest nearly 200 million U.S. dollars in a new pet food factory in Tianjin.
We will work closely with the local government. The Foreign Investment Law guarantees that our funds are in place; it provides procedural certainty and protects the IPR, such as brand name and trademark, of our products to be produced in China.
In addition, we have access to cross-border e-commerce and cross-border import channels such as those made possible by the Free Trade Zone pilot programs. These innovative and progressive efforts have been very helpful to us.
I think the most remarkable thing in China is that we are at the forefront of the global digital revolution. We can carry out innovative projects with our partners on digitization and use digital tools to analyze consumer data and demands, among others. This enables us to import products welcomed by Chinese consumers.
From these examples, we can see that China, an open country with a population of 1.4 billion, is full of business opportunities.
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