As buyers or curious visitors, those who have an interest in Japan will not be disappointed at the ongoing China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.
Pay a visit to the booth of Japanese electronics manufacturer Omron Corporation and one can find that in addition to business negotiations and contracts, there is also an opportunity to really flex one's muscles -- by playing a game of ping pong with a robot.
People queue eagerly to challenge the ping pong-playing robot, which is equipped with the company's advanced factory automation (FA) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, enabling the bot to collect sensing data, calculate and make judgements, and control its arm to respond within a very short time.
Omron believes that with these technologies, the company will be able to provide solutions to Chinese clients and their needs for intelligent production.
The expo presents not only eye-catching blockbusters from world-famous Japanese brands, but also fine crafts and innovative ideas from Japanese small and medium-sized enterprises, which make up the bulk of enterprises in the country.
For Ogura Jewel Industry, an enterprise with no more than 200 employees but over 100 years of history and ultra-precision fine processing technologies to produce industrial components that meet individual customers' requirements, attending the expo is not only about touting for business, but also a tentative reach for the Chinese market.
"The manufacturing industry in China is developing rapidly, and we believe the need for high-accuracy tools and parts will also grow. That will be exactly what we will specialize in," said Yin Mingshan, chief of the enterprise's sales department.
Takumi Okamoto, representative of Yashironi, a Kyoto-based producer of traditional Kyoto silk fabrics, has taken the expo as a chance to promote the time-honored beauty of traditional textile Nishijin-ori among Chinese people, especially the younger generation.
Founded in the 18th century, Yashironi was once a producer of kimono textiles for the Japanese imperial family and the shogun military commander.
"The techniques of making Japanese silk fabrics come from ancient China, and I also hope to take this chance to have some exchanges with our Chinese peers to improve our skills, so that craftspeople in both countries can better carry forward this precious art," Okamoto said.
In addition to industrial products, elements of Japanese popular culture such as anime characters and tourism promotion can also be found at the CIIE.
Japan has the largest number of exhibitors attending the expo, with about 450 companies and institutions showcasing their eye-catching products and cutting-edge technologies, according to statistics from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).
Japanese enterprises have shown great zeal for the CIIE, said Yasuyuki Murahashi, director-general of JETRO's manufacturing industry department, adding that many Japanese exhibitors were introduced to Chinese consumers at the expo for the first time and they are eager to promote their products in China and beyond via the expo.
JETRO, a Japanese government-related organization promoting foreign trade and investment, formed a 50-member working team to publicize the world's first import-themed national-level expo among Japanese companies through online campaigns or roadshows in Japanese cities, resulting in the active participation of many Japanese enterprises in the event.
"With a large population that is witnessing rapid consumption upgrading, China has huge market potential," said Murahashi. "Japanese firms hope to seize the opportunity of offering high-quality products, technologies and services to Chinese consumers, so as to benefit the development of both countries."
Noting that economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has increasingly expanded and deepened, he said the CIIE and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent visit to China are expected to inject new impetus into bilateral cooperation.