More U.S. companies are flocking to China for the CIIE, here's why
U.S. companies occupy the largest exhibition area at the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. Measuring 47,500 square meters, it is more than double last year's.
192 U.S. companies have come to China hoping to seize more opportunities in the market. The number of American firms in attendance is up 18 percent year-on-year, and includes a wide range of sectors from communications to healthcare.
New healthcare for the Chinese market
"We were here last year and we're pleased to be back. China is a really important market for Intuitive and it's an opportunity for us to meet healthcare professionals and other officials here," said Dave Rosa, executive vice president and chief business officer of Intuitive Surgical, a company that develops robotic technology to be used in surgery.
This year, the company exhibited its da Vinci Xi robotic system and has received approval for the technology to be sold in China. In 2018, the company's fourth generation da Vinci robotic system found success at the inaugural CIIE.
"We have formed a joint venture with (Chinese pharmaceutical company) Fosunpharma and established a joint venture facility in Shanghai," said Rosa. He added that Intuitive Surgical has just begun manufacturing various components for its latest robotic assisted, minimally invasive system as part of the joint enterprise.
By the end of September this year, the Da Vinci surgical system had been used in 120,000 operations in 84 hospitals in China.
The "da Vinci robot brings technology that allows surgeons to offer a very precise surgery," Rosa said, adding that it also reduces pain and time spent in hospital for patients.
Customizing for Chinese consumers
"P&G Ventures only operates in China and the United States," He Yabin, president of P&G Greater China Grooming and P&G Ventures told CGTN at the CIIE. "China owns one of the most innovative and dynamic ecosystems in the world," he added.
"One of our main venture strategies is to launch new categories and brands based on the future consumer demands of China's middle class," said He, adding that in the past few years, this demographic has become one of the choosiest groups of consumers.
He further explained that products meeting the needs of European and American consumers no longer satisfy their counterparts in China. "However, if you can meet the needs of the middle class in China, you can usually meet the needs of consumers in other regions. So, if you can win in China, you can win in the world."
"The [Chinese] market is very big, with stable growth and a bright future. P&G has been operating in China for three decades," said He, recalling that in the first ten years, the company only had to bring products designed for European and American consumers to China since they would also meet the requirements of their Chinese equivalents.
For all categories at P&G, China's growth is twice that of the United States. Together, these two countries account for 70 percent of P&G's global growth, according to He.
Benefiting from a better Chinese market
"Kohler Power's business in China has been driven by the development of the internet," said Dong Chongqing, senior marketing manager of Kohler Engines China.
"The trend of big data in China provides Kohler Power an opportunity to explore its new practice in (the country), namely a large order of generating units for the data centers of internet giants like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent," Dong told CGTN.
He added that Kohler Power has actively participated in many major Chinese infrastructure projects. "Kohler Power provides 14 diesel generator sets as backup for the Daxing International Airport in Beijing, which opened to flights in September, to ensure that the airport is powered in a timely and stable manner during a power failure."
"The trade frictions do have negative impacts on our business although Kohler Power is a family company," said Dong, adding that consumer confidence in U.S. companies is most affected by trade tension and policy uncertainty.
"But, Kohler Power still regards China as a very important market and has established 14 factories in China" Dong told CGTN, detailing that three were newly opened in 2019. He stressed that all 14 factories were generally treated well by local governments.
"Products of Kohler Power are globally made, different components come from different countries," Dong said.
This year, the company applied for an area of 50 square meters to display its products at the CIIE, an increase of 32 square meters on last year.
The firm signed an order on Wednesday for 960 engines imported from the U.S. with Chinese machinery company SUMEC Group Corporation. The two firms already worked together on nearly 600 engines at last year's CIIE.
Calling for cooperation in an open world
"We are greatly impressed by President Xi Jinping's speech at the opening ceremony that China will further deepen opening up at a higher level with concrete measures," said Frank Meng, chairman of Qualcomm China. This "will make us more confident on cooperation and investment in China," he added.
He firmly agreed with President Xi's call that the world needs to facilitate the integration of science and technology with economic growth, and increase the sharing of innovation.
2019 marks the first year of 5G commercialization worldwide. China has exerted a leading role in the global 5G development process.
The development of 5G and AI needs cooperation, Richard Li, director of technical marketing of Qualcomm, told CGTN. A single country or company cannot succeed alone in these fields.
This year, more than 3,000 companies from about 150 countries and regions are participating in the CIIE. The event occupies an area of 330,000 square meters, with more representatives from the Fortune Global 500 list compared to the first expo which took place last year.
The second CIIE consists of three parts: a country exhibition with 64 countries and three international organizations; a business exhibition; and the Second Hongqiao International Economic Forum.
The week-long expo began at a time when Chinese and U.S. officials are still hammering out a trade deal.
Despite a chilly China-U.S. trade relationship, the enthusiasm of U.S. companies for tapping into the Chinese market remains high. This indicates that the CIIE has become an important venue to promote trade and economic interaction between China and the rest of the world.