Published: 11:22, November 4, 2021 | Updated: 11:22, November 4, 2021
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CIIE huge platform for multinational companies
By ​He Wei in Shanghai

A statue of Jinbao, the panda mascot of the China International Import Expo, is seen in Shanghai. (PHOTO / IC)

Multinational corporations are eagerly anticipating the fourth China International Import Expo, which is hailed as a signature event of China's opening-up, an avenue to showcase innovative solutions and an unrivaled occasion to tap into the potential of the country's vast market.

President Xi Jinping will deliver the keynote speech via video at the opening ceremony of the CIIE and the Hongqiao International Economic Forum, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said on Wednesday. The opening ceremony will be held in Shanghai on Thursday.

Nearly 3,000 exhibitors from 127 countries and regions have confirmed their participation in the expo, using a combined exhibition space of over 360,000 square meters, the CIIE Bureau, which organized the event, said at a news conference last week.

More than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies and industry-leading enterprises are participating for at least the second time, and the total number of participants has surpassed that of the previous expo.

United States-based company DuPont sees itself as a beneficiary of the CIIE's spillover effect. An intention to collaborate that surfaced during the inaugural CIIE in 2018 has materialized into a $30 million investment four years later.

A groundbreaking ceremony for an adhesives manufacturing facility in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province, is scheduled for Wednesday. The plant will address two mega trends in the automobile industry: vehicle electrification applications and light-weighting-an auto industry approach to building lighter vehicles to achieve better fuel efficiency and handling.

"So we do see our business focuses to be highly aligned with China's development agenda, which features innovation and sustainability," said Zhang Yi, regional president of DuPont Asia-Pacific.

China was an important overseas market in 2020 for DuPont's $13.7 billion business, which comprises electronics and industrial, clean water and protective equipment, and mobility and materials segments.

Zhang believes these three business segments all enjoy tremendous growth potential, since they address the most pressing tasks of modern life and answer China's ambitious carbon neutrality goal.

German pharmaceutical company Bayer sees the CIIE as a "bridge "between China and the rest of the world, with life science innovations being the backbone.

Werner Baumann, chairman of Bayer, said the company understands the significant role that the CIIE plays, not only as a trade fair, but also as an example of China's substantial contribution to economic globalization.

"Combined with (China's) GDP growth rate of 12.7 percent in the first half of 2021, the CIIE underlines China's role as a major driving force for the recovery of the global economy," he said.

The CIIE has managed to help Bayer increase public awareness of a variety of its science-based solutions. For example, Bayer's cooperation with Jiangnan University and probiotics manufacturer Wecare-Bio led to the launch of the company's first probiotic product, which is specifically developed as a patented Chinese probiotic strain that helps promote intestinal health.

Conglomerate Honeywell, a fourth-time participant, is introducing a suite of new technologies that it hopes will facilitate the achievement of China's carbon goals.

Steven Lien, president of Honeywell China and Aerospace Asia-Pacific, called the CIIE "a world-class event of open collaboration" to showcase cutting-edge technologies in the areas of low-carbon technologies, advanced manufacturing and digitalization.

Xinhua contributed to this story.