Online and offline event attracts thousands of people and seals trade worth millions of dollars
The Trade and Investment Matchmaking Conference, a major event at the ongoing China International Import Expo, reaped a rich harvest with nearly 1,000 companies signing agreements.
The event, which was held on Friday and Saturday and combined online and offline negotiations, attracted thousands of businesspeople from more than 60 countries and regions.
Two minutes after the conference's opening at 10 am on Friday morning, the first online letter of intent was reached between Japanese food company Toyo Nut and a Shanghai-based trade company, worth 1 million yuan ($151,300) in contract value, Wenhui Daily reported.
About three minutes later, Le Burg Liquid, an exhibitor from South Africa, and Optoauto high-tech company headquartered in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, signed the first on-site memorandum of understanding, worth $1 million.
Behind the highly efficient pairings up were considerate services offered by Bank of China, a co-host of the event.
BOC staff members learned about Toyo Nut's needs when the Japanese company signed up for the matchmaking conference a couple of months ago.
Du Xinhua, an employee at Toyo Nut, told Shanghai-based Wenhua newspaper that the company was surprised to have such a perfect match recommended by the bank and was impressed by the efficiency.
Han Chaoling, an executive at the Shanghai trade company, the other party to the deal, said: "It came as a surprise to us to spot the new business partner in such a short time, especially since we couldn't present ourselves on-site due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic."
Each online matchmaking session lasted about half an hour. More than 10 minutes after its first deal, Toyo Nut secured another letter of intent with the aid of BOC.
It proved virtual business matchmaking can compete with physical face-to-face business talks. Indeed, the former has a higher efficiency, as it can overcome obstacles brought about by the pandemic and save in waiting time by reserving a negotiation space, according to the Japanese company.
This is the third time that BOC has co-hosted the matchmaking conference at the CIIE. The previous two sessions of the conference at the annual expo provided one-to-one business networking services for more than 2,500 exhibitors and some 4,500 buyers from over 100 countries and regions. More than 3,400 letters of intent were reached.
Using its global resources and comprehensive industrial strengths, BOC has made productive preparations for the matchmaking conference, an official from the Ministry of Commerce said.
Wang Jiang, governor of BOC, said that as the only Chinese bank operating continuously for more than a century and with the highest level of globalization and comprehensive business portfolio, BOC has expanded its overseas service network to more than 61 countries and regions, promoting international trade and economic cooperation.
In 2014, the bank launched its cross-border and cross-boundary matchmaking service, creating a global business platform for exchanges.
To date, BOC has staged 70 cross-border and cross-boundary business matchmaking events, attracting a total of more than 30,000 enterprises from 125 countries and regions, according to the company.
Continuing to serve as a strategic partner of the CIIE, BOC upgraded its services in two aspects, with a new section focused on investment promotion and 18 subvenues added for online business talks, Wang said.
"We have also undertaken new product launches and promote the CIIE premieres of products and services," he added.
Sasaki Nobuhiko, chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organization, said JETRO has participated in the CIIE matchmaking conference for three consecutive years.
This year, 156 Japanese companies from the equipment, pharmaceutical and healthcare products, food and agriculture products sectors attended the CIIE. Of them, some 70 signed up for the matchmaking conference. It was a valuable opportunity for Japanese businesses to find their potential partners, he said.
He said he had faith in the market prospects of China, hoping to introducing high-quality and safe Japanese products mainly from small－and medium-sized businesses.
Ho Meng Kit, CEO of the Singapore Business Federation, said that since the outbreak of the pandemic, the CIIE is the first international trade exhibition that Singaporean companies have participated in.
The cross-border and cross-boundary matchmaking services provided by BOC have benefited a great number of enterprises. With the quality services that BOC is committed to offering, the event would witness more or tighter cooperative ties, he said.
At the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the venue of the CIIE, the conference covered an area of nearly 10,000 square meters, where rows of separate desks were set up for individual business talks.
Backed by the upgraded version of the Global SME Matchmaking System－or more commonly known as GMS－which was developed by BOC, the two-day conference featured sections for trade negotiations, investment promotion, purchase and signing, and online business talks.
In concert with 18 subvenues set up nationwide, the section dedicated to online talks was established on-site at the CIIE. The online setup was for those unable to attend the event physically in Shanghai, to aid agreements reached online.
In the Guangdong subvenue, 220 companies moved online for business matchmaking. On the first day of the conference alone, letters of intent worth more than 400 million yuan in total were signed.
"BOC's cross-border and crossboundary matchmaking system is pretty good, which enables the online search of and contact with many overseas businesses. It is conducive to our business expansion," said an executive at iMKSun, a Dongguan-based company focused on the intelligent manufacturing industry.
In Jiangsu, more than 400 domestic companies met nearly 1,000 overseas exhibitors online. On Friday, they conducted close to 200 business talks with their counterparts from other parts of the country. As a result, 49 memorandums of understanding and 77 letters of intent were reached.
In Beijing, more than 10 matchmaking sessions were held on Friday. Local companies sought business partners from countries, including Singapore, Australia and Thailand.
"Since the outbreak of the pandemic, most of international exhibitions, held either in China or abroad, have been canceled, leaving us with few opportunities to reach overseas clients," said a representative of a small and medium-sized enterprise participating in the event. "The online matchmaking, orchestrated by BOC, provided a targeted pairing-up service and helped us expand our channels for increasing clients.
"Within a couple of hours, we have reached more than 10 potential clients, and built a sound foundation for further contact," he added.
In Suzhou, Jiangsu province, local businesses were impressed with the matchmaking event. On Friday, more than 30 online matchmaking sessions were launched.
In Shandong province, local businesses from the sectors of service trade, autos, technological equipment, consumer goods, medical equipment and healthcare products, as well as food and agricultural products participated in the online matchmaking, with the help of a volunteer team of 13 interpreters.
In Dalian, Liaoning province, a business representative said: "Many thanks to BOC, which created this international exchange platform, which enabled us to get in touch with overseas businesses without having to leave our city, greatly saving our time."
"I expect to participate in more such events in the future," he said.