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CIIE 2021

The China International Import Expo 2021: Sustainability, health and winter sports highlighted for future development

The 4th edition of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai ended on November 10th. Similar to past years, the Expo acted as a sounding board for reiterating China’s commitment to open up its domestic market to the world economy.

President Xi Jinping announced for the first time its intention to hold an import exhibition on a yearly basis in 2017, as an attempt to cope with global resentment towards China’s trade practices and promote the image of a free and open Chinese market. CIIE took place for the first time in 2018, attracting over one million attendees from 172 countries, more than 3,600 enterprises, and leading to 57.8 billion USD worth deals.

All about CIIE 2021

The 2021 edition took place from November 5th to November 10th, and had strict containment measures aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants had to go through a 14-day quarantine, plus a 7-day health monitoring at home. Moreover, they had to be fully vaccinated within 14 days before their access to the fair premises and upload a valid negative nucleic acid test in order to obtain the admission ticket to CIIE. According to the deputy director-general of CIIE, this time the exhibition led to 72.62 billion USD worth deals, recording a 2.6% drop year-on-year, due to the ongoing pandemic.

However, about 2,900 businesses from 127 countries joined the Shanghai Import Expo in 2021, while at least 58 countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) took part to the online exhibition. CIIE is an occasion for China to deepen its bonds with the least developed countries: 2021 edition hit a record high in terms of number of enterprises from BRI signatories, Central and Eastern Europe, and other developing countries. The total exhibition area of the CIIE 2021 covered an area of 366,000m2, about 6,000m2 more than the previous year. It included 6 macro-areas: Food and Agriculture, Automotive, Smart Industry & IT, Consumer Goods, Healthcare, and Services, as well as 13 subsections.

Medical equipment and Healthcare products hold the lion share of new products released at the event, while consumer goods covered the largest exhibition area.

Introducing technical solutions with low environmental impact

As China aims at curbing its carbon footprint and becoming a net zero emitter by 2060, “sustainability” and “low carbon” were major topics of the CIIE 2021. According to Saw Choon Seong, China President of Air Products, an industrial gas company, China’s carbon ambitions will bring new opportunities for enterprises.

Earlier this year, Air Products concluded its first hydrogen fueling station in Zhangjiakou which will to come into operation for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. On the fourth day of the CIIE, the global technology company Schunk Group launched its Automotive Underbody Smart Charging System in China. By installing such retractable recharging system on the driveway and building a docking module on vehicles, it will be possible to have a safe, efficient, comfortable, and autonomous recharging of different electric vehicle types within a few minutes. The large group of companies releasing innovative products in green tech, smart home appliances and e-mobility includes Johnson Controls, BIBOT, Emove Inc., Trumpf, and Covestro, among others.

Automotive Underbody Smart Charging System CIIE 2021
Source: Schunk Official Website, Automotive Underbody Smart Charging System

Beijing 2022 boosting Chinese consumers’ interest in winter sports

The 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place in Beijing and Hebei province between February 4th and February 10th 2022. The event sparked a keen interest in winter sports also due to China’s ambitious plan to bolster its ice and snow industry by 2025, when it is expected to generate 1 trillion RMB. As a result, winter sports were among the main protagonists of the CIIE 2021. As official partner of Beijing Winter Games, Bank of China set up a large exhibition area including VR skiing simulators as well as ice rinks for practicing curling and hockey.

French sporting goods retailer Decathlon showcased its new outdoor sports equipment, such as its inflatable car rooftop tent and its new children snowboards. Moreover, the French retailer installed a skiing simulator, giving the public a truly unforgettable experience.

The Italian activewear brand Fila joined the 4th edition of the CIIE as well, launching its innovative anti-frost waterproof breathable ski suits.

new ski suit collection by Fila CIIE 2021
Source: Weibo, new ski suit collection by Fila

Health as a key topic in this edition of the Shanghai Import Expo

Starting from January 2021, China reduced tariffs on raw materials for pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and infant formulas, this included hearing aids, anti-cancer drugs and heart valve protheses. The country is the second-largest pharmaceuticals market in the world after the US.

As the population ages and the global pandemic boosted health awareness among Chinese consumers, medical equipment and healthcare products impose themselves as the true stars of the CIIE 2021. Industry giants such as AstraZeneca, Fosun BioNTech, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novo Nordisk and Bayer were some of the most noticeable exhibitors in Shanghai Import Expo. Some of the leading brands in the healthcare market decided to use the CIIE 2021 as a springboard for global debuts. For instance, the US-based company Varian released its AI-driven highly automated and contactless radiotherapy suite, designed to offer adaptive treatments to cancer patients and make clinicians workflow more efficient. Fortune 500 companies like Siemens Healthineers and Thermo Fisher Scientific chose the CIIE for either their global or regional launches as well.

Path CRX was one of the new products showcased by Siemens Healthineers during CIIE 2021 CIIE 2021
Source: Corindus Official Webpage, Corindus Path CRX was one of the new products showcased by Siemens Healthineers during CIIE 2021

Takeaways from CIIE 2021

  • Held from November 5th to November 10th, CIIE 2021 went smoothly despite the strict containment measures required due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The event attracted about 2,900 enterprises from 127 countries and catalyzed 72.62 billion USD worth of deals.
  • As China plans to become a net zero emitter by 2060, green technologies are going to play a major role in the following years. Indeed, low carbon devices were among the main protagonists of the 4th edition of CIIE.
  • Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics sparked great interest in winter sports. Thus, it is not surprising that several brands decided to showcase products related to the ice and snow industry during the exhibition.
  • Medical equipment and Healthcare products hold the lion share of new products released at the event. Several Fortune 500 and leading pharmaceutical companies, such as Siemens Healthineers, Varian and Thermo Fisher Scientific, chose the CIIE 2021 as a launchpad for their new releases.

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