My stories with China-South Asia Expo
My stories with China-South Asia Expo
Collated by Dai Chuan
Located near beareas. The 4th Expo will increase the number of South Asia exhibition pavilions to two, and at the same time keep two ASEAN pavilions, so as to highlight the active involvement of South and Southeast Asian countries.
Diverse activities for participants have been one of the highlights of the Expo. Apart from the China-South Asia Business Forum, the ASEAN Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs Conference, the GMS Economic Corridor Week and other institutional activities taking place concurrently with the Expo, this year the organizing committee will cooperate with relevant ministries to hold the International Industry Capacity Cooperation Forum, the FTA Development Symposium and the Cross-Border Tourism Forum.
International and professional levels of this year’s Expo will also be elevated. The number of overseas booths is expected to exceed 50% of the total. Overseas booths are also set in pavilions besides the eight dedicated overseas pavilions, including one International Industry Capacity Pavilion, two ASEAN Pavilions, two South Asia Pavilions, one International Pavilion, one pavilion for Japan, the ROK, China’s Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, and one China’s Taiwan Pavilion.
The Maldives will take the rotating presidency of this year’s Expo and China-South Asia Business Forum, while Vietnam will be the guest of honor at the China Kunming Import and Export Fair.
The success of the previous three sessions of the China-South Asia Expo have built a favorable platform for deeper economic, diplomatic and cultural exchanges and cooperation among China, Southeast Asia, South Asia and beyond. In the future, the Expo aims to establish itself as a large-scale international exposition that integrates economic and trade cooperation, technology innovation, financial services and cultural exchanges in the context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Come and join a splendid Expo
A gigantic complex that stretches 2,600 meters from north to south and 1,000 meters from east to west, the Kunming Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center looks like a peacock opening its tail when pictured from the sky. The most dazzling part of the complex are the pavilions located on the “peacock tail”, sending the message to the world that China and South Asia are sharing development opportunities brought by the Expo.
The exhibition halls of the Kunming Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center cover a building area of 1.17 million square meters. The pavilions and ancillary facilities are not only the first-class in China but also second to none in Asia. The 23 pavilions each have an indoor exhibition area of over 10,000 square meters. In addition, there is an outdoor exhibition area of 100,000 square meters.
The magnificence of this Convention and Exhibition Center lies in that it was designed to be “a domestic first-class and worldwide leading convention center” when Yunnan provincial authorities decided to build it.
Kunming Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center bears the important mission of enhancing the opening up of Yunnan and southwest China to the outside world. Therefore, the Yunnan government has positioned the convention and exhibition center as an important international business platform connecting markets in China, South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
The" vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road", jointly issued by National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce, explicitly states that the China-South Asia Expo will continue to play its that constructive role in the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Kunming Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center is the permanent venue of the Expo.
In 2015, the Third China-South Asia Expo, held at the Kunming Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center, witnessed foreign trade turnover of 25.19 billion US dollars, saw 903 foreign investment projects signed with a contract value of 785 billion yuan; and a new record of 740,000 visitors.
CSA Expo Chronicle
In 1993, the first China Kunming Export Commodities Fair was held in Kunming, Yunnan Province
In 2003, the Kunming Fair set up an ASEAN Pavilion exclusively for exhibitors from Southeast Asia countries. All ten ASEAN countries were represented in the pavilion, which realized the full docking of China and ASEAN at the Fair for the first time.
In 2004, the Kunming Fair was renamed the “China Kunming Import and Export Commodities Fair”, officially changing into a two-way trade fair.
In 2010, the South Asian Countries Commodity Fair held concurrently with the Kunming Fair also settled permanently in Kunming, initiating an important platform for Yunnan’s opening-up and dialogue with South Asia.
In 2011, the 19th Kunming Fair and the 4th South Asian Countries Commodity Fair resumed a rotating presidency mechanism.
On October 30, 2012, approved by China's State Council, the South Asian Countries Commodity Fair was upgraded to the China-South Asia Exposition.
From June 6 to 10, 2013, the first China-South Asia Expo was held in Kunming concurrently with the 21st Kunming Import and Export Fair.
From June 12 to 16, 2015, the 3rd China-South Asia Expo and the 23rd Kunming Import and Export Fair was relocated to the Kunming Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center with doubled exhibition areas and exhibition booths for sister cities for the first time.
Zheng Yike, Vice Chairman of the Yunnan-Taiwan ASEAN Business & Culture Promotion Association, is a Taiwanese who has lived in Thailand for 25 years. He has commuted from Thailand to China’s Yunnan Province for five years on account of his job, thus he knows well the cultures of Thailand, Yunnan and Taiwan of China. Every year the Yunnan Taiwan Trade Fair is held at the same time the China South-Asia Expo takes place. Zheng has participated in the Fair three times and achieved his initial intent of cooperating with several enterprises on this platform. Some of the projects are going as planned. “Yunnan is a place full of business opportunities.” Zheng hopes to do more with Yunnan-Taiwan cooperation. In the coming two years, he intends to travel to Yunnan with his family. “People here are out-going, honest and hospitable,” he said.
Camping along the Kunming-Bangkok Highway possible in near future
By Zhang Lin
Willing to be a communication bridge
In early April, Zheng made a trip to Kunming to prepare for the Yunnan Taiwan Trade Fair, which will be held concurrently with the 4th China-South Asia Expo this June. He had already attended the event three times, and this year, he invited his business partners to exhibit at the Expo. He considered his role a “bridge” connecting Thailand, Yunnan and Taiwan of China, “to promote cross-strait and Sino-Thai exchanges in economics, trade, and culture, so that people can interact more closely with one another,” he said.
Before attending the Yunnan Taiwan Trade Fair, Zheng had little knowledge of Yunnan. “I only knew that Yunnan is home to ethnic minorities and has diverse ethnic culture. It also has breathtaking landscapes, various flowers, beautiful natural scenery and unique food culture. Considering both Yunnan and Taiwan are home to ethnic minorities, the idea came to me that we could launch several ethnic exchange activitie in relation to food or culture. Or, we could have mutually beneficial cooperation in agriculture or education. For example, helping local kids go to school and improving the quality of education.”
Bearing this in mind, Zheng began to carry out his ideas gradually. Apart from participating in the Yunnan-Taiwan Trade Fair, Zheng is committed to seeking cooperation opportunities through the platform, while promoting further cooperation and exchanges. In 2015, Zheng and his association signed a cooperation agreement on developing an 8,237-acre organic vegetable base in Zhaotong City.
“Yunnan sits at a high altitude with a good natural environment. By proper planning and management, Yunnan will be an excellent place for organic farming,” he said. His organic vegetable base project has officially kicked off. In the same year, they also exported several Zhaotong fruits to Thailand. As logistics along the Kunming-Bangkok Highway improve, Yunnan and Thailand have more and more exchanges by virtue of geographical proximity.
“We plan to build a campground along the Kunming-Bangkok Highway in cooperation with others. Now this project is being planned.” Earlier this year, a strategic cooperation agreement was signed between the Yunnan-Taiwan ASEAN Business & Culture Promotion Association and the Yunnan International Trade Academy, covering fields such as consulting, personnel training and project development.” When it came to promoting cross-strait cultural exchanges and Sino-Thai cooperation, Zheng said he still had many ideas and hopes all his ideas could come true.
“I feel that Yunnan is a place with huge business opportunities, especially in the fields of agriculture, tourism, border trade and logistics,” Zheng said. “Soon after attending the first China-South Asia Expo, I started my tour around Yunnan. I found that there must be loads of business opportunities between Taiwan and Yunnan, and am waiting for more businesses to explore .”
Falling in love with fried Er’kuai
During his five years commuting between Yunnan and Thailand, Zheng has been to Kunming, Wenshan, Zhaotong, Songming, Shilin, Yiliang, Luoping, Lijiang and many other places in Yunnan. Speaking of Yunnan, “the hospitality and honesty of the local people” first comes to Zheng’s mind.
“I went to celebrate the Torch Festival in Yunnan, and have been to the western Grand Canyon in northeast Yunnan’s Shuifu County.” Zheng also invited several Thai artists to perform and traved in the province for a few days. “There were many tourists coming from different places. We danced and sang songs around the bonfire during the Torch Festival. It was a big occasion.” The reporter can feel Zheng’s happiness during the phone interview.
He also said regretfully, “I hadn’t tried as much ethnic food as possible. I only tried cross-bridge rice noodles a few times.” He went to the time-honored rice noodle restaurant in downtown Kunming. “Not bad. The soup is yummy.” Zheng enjoyed another snack much more—Er’kuai(a unique Chinese rice cake snack). “Cut Er’kuai into square slices, and cook together with ham, pickles and a variety of vegetables. The dish tastes yummy, salty and spicy with rich colors.” He even knew the stories of Er’kuai very well.
“I’ve been to Lijiang with my father. We visited the Old Town and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. We watched Zhang Yimou’s Impression Lijiang, and were really impressed.” Zheng said he had acrophobia, but he managed to climb up the mountain. “I was brave for the first time in my life. I was so excited,” Zheng said. “Over the last five years, I came to Kunming mainly on business trips, but I plan to show my family around Yunnan in the following two years. There are so many characteristic places here worth seeing.”
Thai business woman thrives on CSA Expo opportunities
By Wang Dan, Photographs by interviewee
Yaoyao, a Thai woman born in the 1980s, came to Yunnan for the first time in June 2014. In front of her booth at the Thailand Pavilion of the 2nd China-South Asia Expo, she introduced her hair-care products from Thailand. Over a few days, this little booth brought her 100,000 yuan.
At the 2015 Expo, Yaoyao’s turnover doubled. “We would come to the Expo every year. This is the best platform for our products in China.”
Now, Yaoyao is ready for the 2016 Expo.
Thai hair-care products sell well at CSA Expo
Yaoyao’s Thai name sounds similar to “Ying” in Chinese. In Yunnan, however, she prefers to be called “Yaoyao”, her Chinese name. Speaking of her family , Yaoyao thought for a while and said, “My grandma is a Thai native, previously a member of the royal family of Chiang Mai. They had a secret formula to grow hair and turn grey hair black. My grandpa is a Chinese born in Thailand, and the family members of his native home were inherited practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine from Shantou, Guangdong Province. When they got married, they decided to open a plant in Chiang Mai, make products with what they had learned, and sell them to local people.”
Now, Yaoyao’s grandparents’ plant has a history of 60 years. With a good reputation, the family has a decent income.
In 2014, Yaoyao graduated from university, and her cousin, who had been managing the plant, came to tell Yaoyao about her ambition.
“My cousin told me that she wanted to sell our products to China and benefit more people.” Her cousin believed that Yaoyao, who had spent her childhood in China, would be a key figure in introducing their products to China. “In fact, I followed my parents to China and my nationality is actually Chinese. I grew up in China and returned to Thailand only until high school.” Yaoyao speaks very good Chinese and Thai, and feels at ease when communicating with people from both countries.
In 2014, Yaoyao became a member of the China-Thailand Trade Association, and was invited to attend the 2nd China-South Asia Expo in Kunming. “In Thailand, there are a lot of associations inviting Thai businesspeople to attend exhibitions in China. Trade between the two countries is well developed. Yunnan is China’s closest province to Thailand, so it became the first stop on our way into the Chinese market.” Speaking of Kunming, she said, “My hometown Chiang Mai is a quiet place, while Kunming is a busy, lively and prosperous city day and night.”
Yaoyao can still remember clearly when she first attended the Expo: “Back in 2014, the Expo was held in the old convention and exhibition center. We had a small booth. There were a lot of visitors at the expo, but most knew little about our products. We invited some of them to try. Over the following days, we had a lot more clients. That’s the power of word of mouth.” The first Expo brought Yaoyao a net income of 100,000 yuan.
In 2015, Yaoyao brought a staff member with her and had a larger booth at the Expo.“At the end of the 2015 Expo, our net income totaled 200,000 yuan.” For the upcoming 2016 Expo, Yaoyao said, “This year, we are going to have two booths in Hall 6 and Hall 10. With government incentives, the rental fee for the booths is not high. But the most important thing is that we can promote our products here.”
Setted in Yunnan for more opportunities
Since first setting foot in Yunnan in 2014, Yaoyao has spent most of her time here.
“I only go back to Thailand once or twice a year.” Yaoyao enjoys the climate and lifestyle here: “Thailand is hot and humid. It’s more pleasant in Yunnan. The food here is also similar to that of Thailand, and I can enjoy both Thai food and Yunnan snacks. We have similar festivals, such as Songkran, the water-splashing festival. If we can’t go back to Thailand, we can also celebrate it in Xishuangbanna.”
Having spent a couple of years in Yunnan, Yaoyao saw great potential in Chinese market and achieved ever-growing sales. In 2016, she had a discussion with her cousin and decided to settle down in Yunnan.
“Thanks to business opportunities at the China-South Asia Expo, we have a lot of authorized dealers and agents here in China now. They take our products to other places in China. In 2016, we opened a subsidiary in Kunming.” Located at Heilinpu, the subsidiary has a monthly turnover of 60,000 yuan. “Yunnan and Thailand have a number of duty-free cooperation projects. We can enjoy many preferential policies here. With our base in Yunnan, we are able to sell products across China and even to Russia.”
In the future, Yaoyao told us that they will not only export Thai products, but also import Chinese products to Thailand in an effort to strengthen trade ties between the two countries: “There are many Chinese products in Thailand, and we plan to bring more there soon.”
China-South Asia Expo provides excellent business opportunities
By Yang XiuJie Photographs provided by the interviewee
On April 28, 2016, the annual European Fisheries Expo concluded in Brussels, capital of Belgium. After attending the expo, Nguyen Ho Nguyen and his colleagues returned to Vietnam in early May. He said that although the expo lasted only three days, his company had prepared for nearly a month to attend the world’s most influential seafood exposition.
In fact, they did exactly the same things when it came to the second China-South Asia Expo,which was held in June 2014.
2016年4月28日，一年一度的欧洲渔业博览会在比利时首都布鲁塞尔闭幕。5月初，结束展会的Nguyen Ho Nguyen随着公司的其他同事一起回到越南。Nguyen Ho Nguyen说，虽然展会只持续了三天，但其所在的公司为参加这个全球最有影响力的水产品贸易展准备了近一个月的时间。
2014年6月，Nguyen Ho Nguyen及其公司同事，也曾这么认真的准备参加了第二届中国—南亚博览会。
Yunnan:A promising seafood market
Nguyen works for Lenger Seafoods Vietnam under the Lenger Fisheries Group. According to him, Lenger started from traditional fishing in the north of the Netherlands about 80 years ago. Currently, the company has worldwide aquaculture businesses with modern technology and global procurement networks. “From Vietnam to Morocco, and from Ireland to Costa Rica, Lenger’s global suppliers have developed a complete sales network to meet the demand for a variety of high quality seafood around the world.” Its international businesses include fishing, cultivation, procurement, processing, storage and distribution.
In June 2014, Nguyen came to Yunnan to attend the Second China-South Asia Expo under his duel identity as a member of the Yunnan International Trade Association and staff member of the Trade Promotion Association under Vietnam's Agricultural Development Ministry.
“It was the first time I came to Yunnan.” Nguyen admitted that he saw tremendous prospects in the seafood market in Yunnan. For him, Yunnan and some mid-west provinces in China have a huge seafood market demand.
CSA Expo:An excellent platform for exchanges
Nguyen has participated in aquatic product exhibitions several times in Europe, Japan, Singapore and the United States. Compared to specialized exhibitions in other countries, Nguyen believes that the China-South Asia Expo provides a comprehensive platform for foreign businessmen to exhibit, exchange and learn from one another.
“I have a good impression for the Expo.” Nguyen said, “It is an excellent platform for exchanges and trade.” He thought that the participating companies were of strong competitiveness, and from diverse industries with unique characteristics; in addition, the Expo ensured professional organization and security.
Nguyen recalled that when they brought fresh shellfish, such as white clams, brown clams, Paphia undulata, Pacific oysters, as well as frozen products such as cooked clam meat, raw clams and raw Pacific oysters to the Expo, most of these products appealed to Chinese customers.
“A lot of customers from China wished to do shellfish business with us.” Nguyen explained that although the exhibition did not bring them orders, it was a good platform to explore future business opportunities.
“To get orders, you need to find business partners.” Nguyen admitted that they need help from Vietnam business authorities to help them enter China's market.
Finding reliable buyers in Yunnan
Nguyen’s company has no orders from China so far, but is currently considering expanding its business presence in Yunnan and other provinces. “I believe we can find reliable buyers in Yunnan, because the market here has potential.”
Nguyen said that Vietnam and China have a long- time business cooperation which benefits both sides. In strengthening the longstanding friendship between the two peoples, bilateral trade has made great contributions. Nguyen continued that his company is looking for better ways to do business in China.