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CIIE, a national import exhibition for the world to enter

China International Import Expo (CIIE) is an import-themed exposition on national-level organized by the Chinese government every November. This year’s CIIE has attracted more than 3,800 companies, in which the number of American companies ranked first. Although ongoing negotiations between China and the US have resulted in a trade war, still 192 American companies participated in the second CIIE, which is 18% more compared to the first edition last year.  

China has been working on improving the international market environment for years, publishing many policies and regulations to facilitate for importing advanced products, developing domestic innovations and advanced manufacturing capacity.  

General Electric Inc.  

General Electric has successfully participated in the CIIE for both years. This year, General Electric launched and showcased their latest products at the CIIE. In addition, General Electric is investing more and more in China by announcing several important strategic programs. 

Johnson & Johnson  

The biggest exhibitor of medical equipment in the healthcare area last year. Based on their first-year experience, they focused their latest healthcare solutions and innovative products in China on medical equipment, pharmacy and consumer areas. Moreover, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with dozens of well-established Chinese hospitals and distributors.1 The largest signed order amount for Johnson & Johnson reached over 5 billion RMB at this year’s CIIE. 

Both General Electric and Johnson & Johnson have confirmed and signed agreements to be exhibitors of the 3rd CIIE next year. 

Not only opening up to the developed world, the CIIE also provides a platform of opportunities for undeveloped countries. 

Madagascar 

One of the most undeveloped countries in the world, attracted many purchasers in CIIE food and agricultural products area with their big lobsters, cashews, peppers and vanillas, amongst other food product 

Bangladesh 

Handicrafts woven by Bangladeshi women attracted many customers to their booth, who are interested in their products and stories. 

For many undeveloped countries, the CIIE provides a platform with opportunities in the China market, opportunities that otherwise would not be available to them. 


For companies that are new to the Chinese market, some of the bottlenecks are questions regarding basic items such as 

  • When we want to do business in China, do we need to register a company?  
  • Should we try online or offline sales channels 
  • Is there any other cost-efficient channel to enter the Chinese market?  

According to data from China Customs, new trade solutions like online bonded shopping are growing rapidly in China. In the first three quarters of this year, the import turnover of CIIE exhibition cargos which were imported as online bonded shopping reached 8.24 billion with a growth of 40.3%.2 

Tips on online bonded shopping: 

From a legal perspective, there are two main models of cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) retail imports: Bonded Imports and Direct Purchase Imports. For these types of imports, the import tariff, VAT and consumption tax will be levied upon customs clearance3. 

Bonded Warehouse Model: B2B2C 

‘Stock first, order later’: Products on the positive list can be imported in bulk into approved CBEC bonded warehouse zones across China. After Chinese consumers place orders through CBEC sites, these products go through customs clearance directly in the bonded area and are then delivered. Consumers will normally receive their goods within 2-3 days.  

Direct Purchase Imports: B2C 

‘Order first, deliver later’: After consumers place orders on registered CBEC platforms, the platform needs to submit the records of order, shipment and payment to customs. Only then will the products be shipped from an overseas distribution centre that is linked to Chinese customs.  

The General Administration of Customs mentioned that China’s foreign trade volume over the first 11 months of 2019 expanded 2.4 percent year-on-year to 28.5 trillion yuan ($4.14 trillion), registering steady growth. 

The European Union was China’s largest trading partner from January to November, with the bilateral trade volume up 7.7% year-on-year to 4.4 trillion yuan. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was the second largest, up 12.7 percent to 3.98 trillion yuan.4 

Up to the end of this year’s CIIE, more than 230 enterprises have already confirmed and signed up for the next CIIE. Among them, there are more than 80 world top 500 leading enterprises that will fill an exhibition area of more than 50,000 square meters. Not only the exhibitors but also many visitors of this year have mentioned they will return for the 3rd CIIE next year.  

Do you want to be at the 3rd CIIE next year? 

If you are interested in the CIIE or want to find a partner in China, please do not hesitate to contact us at shanghai@dr2consultants.eu!