Business delegations from China are heading for global destinations to boost trade and investment in overseas markets as the country has optimized its COVID-19 response, presenting new opportunities for Chinese enterprises as well as their global partners.
Organizing business forums, catching up with old friends and making acquaintance with new customers, the delegations from a number of Chinese provinces and municipalities are bringing with them ample business proposals and investment offers, sharing with the world development dividends of China.
"It is the first time in three years that we have received a Chinese business delegation," said Dieter Boening, chairman of the Association of German Hidden Champions, when meeting with delegates from China's Hubei Province.
The provincial delegation made a business trip to Germany and Sweden on December 15-22 to promote overseas investment.
Uwe Michel, executive vice president and head of Asia division of Allianz Group, shared Boening's sentiment when meeting with the Hubei delegation. "The group is confident in the development of Allianz in Wuhan," he said, referring to Hubei's provincial capital city.
An economic and trade delegation from Hubei's neighbouring province Hunan made a business trip to such African countries as Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar in December.
The delegation held multiple promotional activities and meetings with representatives from the African side. In Tanzania, they met with delegates from sectors including trade, fishery, animal husbandry, mining, and import and export processing to carry out exchanges and explore cooperation opportunities.
They also visited the Palm Bay commercial complex and residential real estate project, as well as a local hospital to check for cooperation potential in the medical field.
In Tokyo, Japan, a "Hainan Free Trade Port Policy and Investment Opportunity Briefing" was held on December 6, which attracted over 50 Japanese enterprises and institutions, including the Japan Association for the Promotion of International Trade, Mitsubishi Corporation, Itochu Corporation and Rakuten Group, Inc.
"The Hainan merchants group is the first Chinese merchants' group to visit the Mitsubishi headquarters in the past three years," said Tetsuya Shinohara, a senior vice president of Mitsubishi Corporation. "After hearing the introduction of the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port, we are thrilled."
Mitsubishi is very optimistic about the Hainan market, and its affiliated Lawson convenience chain stores have already expanded to over 100 in Hainan province, he said.
A delegation from northeast China's Jilin Province made a week-long business trip to South Korea, boosting confidence from the South Korean side in China's economic development and winning support for bilateral trade.
The trip mainly focused on food, chemical, environmental protection materials, warehousing and logistics, culture and tourism, as well as negotiations and cooperation with relevant associations and enterprises in South Korea, such as Samsung C&T and LG Chem.
On December 26, Beijing dispatched its first outbound investment promotion team since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The delegation carried out a series of activities to attract investment from overseas partners in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
A number of other provinces and municipalities have made swift moves globally to seek business opportunities, and more Chinese business delegations are on the way.
At the beginning of December 2022, Zhejiang Province took the lead in launching business delegations. The first business group sent by the provincial government went to Europe to participate in exhibitions and seek new cooperation.
The trip turned out to be fruitful. On average, each exhibitor met with more than 50 partners, of which 80 percent were new customers. The total number of deals, including intentional deals, reached US$152 million.
Zhejiang Shangfang Biotechnology Co., Ltd. participated in related exhibitions held in Paris during the trip and negotiated an order of about 30 million yuan (4.34 million dollars).
Wang Jifeng, manager of the company's sales centre in Europe, said new orders were made and new customers were found during the trip, which enhanced the confidence of not only the company but also its partners around the world.
Earlier in December, China(Jinhua)-Indonesia Economic and Trade Fair and China(Ningbo)-Indonesia Economic and Trade Matchmaking Conference were held in Indonesia's Jakarta. As an important trade partner of Jinhua, Ningbo and other cities in China's Zhejiang province, Indonesia has absorbed nearly 3.5 billion dollars from Jinhua's enterprises alone.
Flora Tedjo Prawiro, executive director of the Indonesia Retail & Tenant Association, said the Indonesian business community yearns for more investment from Chinese enterprises, so as to further frequent trade exchanges and realize mutual benefits and win-win cooperation.
In Tanzania, the delegation from Hunan Province discussed with their local partners' cooperation in agricultural fields, including the export of cassava, nuts, coffee and aquatic products to China as well as supplying agricultural machinery to the Tanzanian market.
"The meeting is very meaningful and fruitful, during which the two sides have made in-depth discussions about the economic and trade issues of common concern," said Christopher J. Mramba, an official from Tanzania's Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade.
Hunan, which is scheduled to host the Third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo in June, has become one of the most active Chinese provinces in economic and trade cooperation with Africa. The latest trip further strengthened cooperation between the two sides.
For the Jilin business delegation, many of its South Korean partners expressed the hope to accelerate investment and tap trade opportunities.
South Korean rice cooker manufacturer Cuckoo Electronics said that as the three northeastern Chinese provinces of Jilin, Heilongjiang and Liaoning account for a large proportion of its offline market in China, the company considers expanding its market to eastern and southern China and hopes to send representatives to visit Jilin as soon as possible to discuss cooperation projects.
As these business trips have proved fruitful, more Chinese companies are expected to follow suit, injecting strong momentum into the efforts to accelerate trade and investment between China and the world.
Thanks to the country's higher-standard opening up, many Chinese provinces, including Hunan, have seized opportunities to give full play to their advantages and characteristics, and actively acted as pioneers in trade with Africa.
Data from the customs shows Hunan's trade volume with Africa increased from US$2.16 billion in 2012 to US$5.8 billion in 2021. The story between Hunan and Africa is just one example of how China shares development dividends with the world.
China, the world's second-largest economy, has been advancing economic globalization with openness and a vision for common prosperity. Over the years, the country has unveiled multiple measures to lower market access thresholds to share market opportunities with the rest of the world.
In the meantime, initiatives including the Belt and Road Initiative and Global Development Initiative have helped to provide more development opportunities to all nations – developed and developing ones alike.
For 13 consecutive years, China has remained Malaysia's top trade partner. Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said a large number of high-quality, professional and cutting-edge Chinese enterprises have entered Malaysia, injecting vitality and hope into Malaysia's development and prosperity.
"Malaysia will keep deepening the Belt and Road communication and cooperation with China. Malaysia-China trade can't prosper without the active participation and contribution of Chinese enterprises," he noted.
The rich opportunities in China are attractive to business people around the world.
"I have not been able to visit China personally for the past three years, and I look forward to visiting China as soon as conditions permit," said Hueck Thomas, chief economist at Robert Bosch GmbH, recently when receiving a business delegation from Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.
Thomas said the company is considering further increasing investment and expanding production capacity in China around high-end automotive parts.