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China gears up for the First International Import Expo

2018-05-07 5 minute read China, Shanghai

President Xi Jinping speaking at the Belt and Road Forum, May 2017


  • The organisation of the Shanghai Expo as we know it so far
  • The opportunities CIIE offers for new and existing exporters
  • The size of China's market and it's continued dynamic growth

China to host First International Import Expo (CIIE) starting from November 2018, with focus on imported good and services. A world-class platform for companies from all over the world.

It’s been almost a year since President Xi Jinping first unveiled that Shanghai would host the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) from November 5 to 10, 2018. And the excitement keeps building.

Speaking at the grand opening of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BARF) in May 2017, President Xi’s keynote speech recounted the history of China’s cross-border trade relationships — connecting history and progress through one integral industry.

A Global Conference

The CIIE’s sole focus on imported goods and services will be the grandest exhibition of its kind in China. It’s a world-class platform with companies from all over the world showcasing their products and services to China, and the other 150+ countries invited to participate.

The expo follows February’s First Cross-Border E-Commerce Conference, organised by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which focused on the development of a global trading network.

Supporting this venture, alongside the WTO, is the CIIE Bureau and the venue in which the exhibition will be hosted: Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Centre (NECC), an archetype of the city’s distinctive artistic flair in design and architecture.

Starting from a central raised pavillion, the NECC extends into four sections to make an aerial bloomed flower. These petal sections host over sixty conference rooms and it’s throughout here that the exhibition stalls and booths will be displayed. Each petal is dedicated to a specialised trading platform and the expo encourages a variety of sectors to participate, including culture and creative design, tourism services, medical equipment & care products, consumer goods, emerging technologies, and logistics services amongst many more.

The expo’s activities are split into two major categories: Country Pavilion for Trade and Development, where country and region delegates will showcase their national trades and investments; and the Enterprise and Business exhibition, illustrating the newest innovations in goods and services.

An Open World Economy

Working together to create a network of people and businesses for a better world trade, are the CIIE’s hosts: China’s Ministry of Commerce and Shanghai’s Municipal People’s Government. The expo indicates China opening its trade to the world, but also becoming a hub of information and global exchange, hoping to drive a sustained development of the global economy.

The WTO’s involvement in the event, and support from organisations like United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation as well as the Chinese Government illustrates the growing encouragement and support for “the development of an open world economy.”

“You have to be fast. Don’t wait,” says our CEO, Anita Zhang. “If you explore that opportunity what could be the worst case scenario? You try and it didn’t work or you tried it this way and it didn’t work, but let’s find a way it does work.”

China is currently the 2nd largest economy in the world and 2nd largest county of consumption, with the 2nd largest import volume. It has a growing middle class that already exceeds 480 million, and imports are expected to surpass a worth of $10 trillion USD over the next five years. This expo presents an incredible opportunity for both multinational players and bright, creative SMEs with innovation, new technologies and incredible ideas.

Minister Counsellor Jin Xu of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, speaking at the Scottish Export Awards on March 22nd, is indicative of the Chinese government’s enthusiasm.

“The market is ready,” he affirmed. “The opportunity is ready.”