China International Import Expo: Your Gateway to China

China International Import Expo could be your gateway to China if you intend to tap the most dynamic consumer market in the world.

“Economic globalization represents the trend of history. Like the world’s great rivers, the Yangtze, the Nile, the Amazon and the Danube — they all surge forward in relentless flow, and nothing can stop their mighty movement.”

In those terms President Xi Jinping addressed the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

The entrance to China International Import Expo in Shanghai (November 2019)

Last week Shanghai was abuzz with guests from across the globe coming to town to take part in the 2nd China International Import Expo. President Xi Jinping comes to Shanghai every November to kick off the event and set the tone with powerful political and economic messages.

In line with President Xi’s message, the China International Import Expo markets itself as an exhibition that provides new channels to promote trade liberalization, economic cooperation, and the opening of the Chinese market.

However, some business communities remain sceptical about the last part of that message that alludes to “the openness” of the Chinese market. The European Chamber keeps echoing the reservations it hears from its members in no-nonsense stances, that talk about “timid approach to reform” and “insufficient concrete measures.” You can read here their full stance regarding China International Import Expo. It’s a fun read!

With 3,800 participating companies from 180 countries, CIIE is where you could probably experience Canton fair, CES, and Import fair all under the same roof. From healthcare to jewelry, to electronics, to food. You name it. If you intend to enter or accelerate in the Chinese market, you should come attend the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

Getting involved, as a visitor or exhibitor

It’s highly recommended for foreign exporting companies to participate at the fair, at least as a visitor for a first time to get a feel of the event. Registrations for both visitors and exhibitors can be done online on CIIE’s website. For exhibitors, I listed a few directions below.


Companies can pre-register right now, and book a booth today on CIIE’s official website.

How much?

300 USD/m² for raw space (min. 36m²)
3,000 USD/9m² for standard booth


Because you don’t want your competitors to beat you to this attractive market.


The most popular industries of the 2nd CIIE edition were food, agricultural products, medical care, and quality life. I advise all businesses engaging with China to read the latest Five-Year Plan to get a sense of what the Government encourages, and what it frowns upon. Watch for healthcare, innovation, and greening as the trending industries.  


Remember to approach your country’s chamber of commerce in China to see what resources they can pull to support your China plans. Or seek guidance from my friends at the Global Chamber.

Also remember to talk to your lawyer to make sure you understand China’s basics regarding IP protection. Be mindful of the fact that if you don’t protect your trademark/IP in China before attending the fair, anybody can register it as theirs, and make your life complicated.

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  1. […] my visit to CIIE this month, I had the chance to engage with a few foreign businesses looking into entering the […]

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