Published: 10:31, April 15, 2024
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Consumption expo in Hainan expected to bolster growth
By Zhu Wenqian in Haikou

Multinational companies say they plan to introduce more high-quality products

A customer tries on a crown designed for a beauty pageant at the Czech booth on Saturday during the Fourth China International Consumer Products Expo in Haikou, Hainan province. The expo is scheduled to run through April 11, 2024. (YUAN CHEN / FOR CHINA DAILY)

China's consumption market still holds enormous potential, and digital, green and healthy consumption are expected to become important drivers to promote the expansion of the market and boost economic growth.

Industry experts and top executives made the remarks during the fourth China International Consumer Products Expo, which opened on Saturday in Haikou, Hainan province. The expo runs through Thursday.

Fueled by the massive consumption growth potential of the country, major foreign companies said they would continue to increase investments in the Hainan Free Trade Port, and inject new vitality into the China market.

Attending the expo for the fourth consecutive year, French spirits and wine maker Pernod Ricard said it would continue to deepen the market layout in Hainan and promote sustainable development in the province.

The group, which achieved 6 percent year-on-year growth in China in 2023, said it will focus on premium and diversified products in the years ahead.

"Pernod Ricard has witnessed Hainan's rapid development and vitality. We are looking forward to introducing more high-quality products and exquisite experiences to the Chinese market," said Jerome Cottin-Bizonne, chief executive officer of Pernod Ricard China.

"China is Pernod Ricard's second-largest market, where we have had a presence for over 30 years. We will respond promptly to an ever-evolving market demand in the country," he said.

The consumer expo is China's first significant international expo this year and the largest consumer expo in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of scale. More than 4,000 brands, a record high, from 71 countries and regions are attending this year's event.

Speaking at the expo, Sheng Qiuping, vice-minister of commerce, said that China has a population of 1.4 billion and a middle-income group of over 400 million, and the per capita annual GDP has exceeded $12,000, making it a consumer market with the highest growth potential globally.

He said the Chinese economy boasts strong resilience, great potential and abundant vitality, and the long-term growth fundamentals remain unchanged.

In January and February, total retail sales of consumer goods in the country reached 8.1 trillion yuan ($1.12 trillion), up 5.5 percent year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

"The figures indicate the strong resilience of China's consumption market, and lays a foundation for stable and progressive consumption growth this year," Sheng said.

Denis MK Cheng, consumer sector leader of Ernst& Young China, said the Ministry of Commerce has designated 2024 as the year of consumption promotion, and this year will be important to stimulate consumption potential, expand consumption scale and improve consumption quality.

"The government's favorable measures to help consumer product enterprises and the consumer goods market to continuously develop in various dimensions are an important part of promoting domestic demand through consumption," Cheng said.

Meanwhile, United States-based skin care group Estee Lauder said that Hainan stands as one of the most popular travel destinations, and it has provided exciting business growth opportunities for global retail brands.

Israel Assa, global president of travel retail at Estee Lauder Companies, said that in 2023, Estee Lauder built its travel retail headquarters for China in Haikou to support its travel retail business in the country and the Asia-Pacific region. The company's research and development center in Shanghai plans to develop more beauty products catering to Chinese consumers.