CIIE 2018: 10 things the world wants to sell to China at inaugural import fair

The inaugural China International Import Expo in Shanghai will bring together more than 3,000 foreign companies from 130 countries.
The inaugural China International Import Expo in Shanghai will bring together more than 3,000 foreign companies from 130 countries.PHOTO: AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday (Nov 5) opened the inaugural China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

The Nov 5-10 expo brings together more than 3,000 foreign companies from 130 countries around the world, offering them a platform to link up with potential buyers from the world's second biggest economy.

"CIIE is a major initiative by China to pro-actively open up its market to the world," Mr Xi said in his opening speech.

Here are some of the interesting exhibits that are being featured at the CIIE.

1. Flying car

Slovakian company AeroMobil's first flying car, the 1.4-tonne electric-hybrid 4.0 STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing Aircraft), is making its Asia debut in Shanghai this week.

The vehicle can travel both on land and in air, and can transform from car to flight mode in under three minutes.

The cars are slated to be delivered to customers between 2020 and 2021 upon successful regulatory approval.

China is home to Guangzhou-based drone maker Ehang, which in February conducted successful test flights of its electric single-seater drone taxi Ehang 184.

2. World's smallest heart pacemaker

United States medical technology firm Medtronic is bringing what it claims to be the world's smallest heart pacemaker to the CIIE. The wireless Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is less than 10 per cent the size of traditional pacemakers.

It is delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart without the need for any surgery or chest incisions.

The Micra TPS was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2016.

3. Italian-made helicopters

Priced at 200 million yuan (S$39.9 million), Leonardo Helicopter's AW189 is one of the most expensive exhibits at the CIIE.

Italian firm Leonardo Helicopter has brought three of its helicopter models to Shanghai. The AW189, a high-performance, 8.6-tonne twin-engine helicopter, is one of the three helicopter models that the Italian firm hope will appeal to China's jet-setting tycoons and businessmen.

It can be used not just in commercial passenger transport, but also search and rescue missions and offshore oil-exploration operations.

Leonardo also plans to establish a helicopter training centre and a final assembly workshop in China, reported Xinhua news agency.

4. New logistics technologies

Logistics is one of China's core industries, and American conglomerate Honeywell looks to leverage that growing demand in its second-biggest market, after the United States.

Honeywell, which has about 13,000 employees in 30 cities in China, is set to debut its new connected supply chain solution Connected Freight at the CIIE.

Connected Freight can provide real-time information about the location and condition of critical freight while in transit.

Using this system, shippers and logistics companies will be able to monitor shipments of high-value and perishable goods, which could help prevent costly damage and loss, Honeywell Global High Growth Regions' president Shane Tedjarati told Xinhua.

5. Eco-friendly cars

China's citizens are increasingly concerned about pollution in their cities, and electric cars are seen as a way to reduce emissions.

China is the world leader in sales of new-energy vehicles, and the sale of these vehicles is projected to be on an upward trend.

In line with the Chinese market's interest in low-emission vehicles, Finnish multinational corporation UPM's Biofore concept car will make its first appearance in China at the CIIE.

Created with renewable and recyclable materials and innovations from the forest industry, the car weighs 1.1kg and costs around 30,000 euros (S$47,000).

The Biofore concept car runs on renewable diesel, and emits 80 per cent less greenhouse gases than those that run on fossil fuel.

6. Bio-toilets

Singaporean biotech firm Westcom Technology is introducing its bio-toilets that can turn waste into fertiliser in 24 hours.

Each set of bio-toilet costs $2,000, and does not require water, electricity and complicated piping to operate.

 
 

Westcom Technology's chief executive David Tan told The Straits Times in an interview: "We want to bring in products that fit into what China wants to do, in terms of protecting the eco-system, toilet revolution and waste recycling."

These bio-toilets would help to address the lack of toilets and infrastructure in China, especially in the more remote tourist destinations, he added.

7. Diamond-crusted shoes

Luxury company Genavant, co-founded by renowned shoe designer Jimmy Choo and his godson Reggie Hung, is showcasing a pair of 30 million yuan (S$5.9 million) heels.

According to Choo, the diamond-crusted heels took almost one year to complete.

Created by Choo and Hung, the shoes feature 400 to 500 pink and white diamonds graded by the Gemological Institute of America and will be displayed alongside other bejewelled shoes.

Genavant's collection is said to represent Choo's ultimate goal of replacing engagement rings with shoes.

8. Foldable presbyopic glasses

Italian eyewear brand Nannini is bringing its revolutionary, ultra-thin glasses to the Chinese market. The reading glasses have rotatable nose bridges and can be folded and kept in a case 1.0mm thick, which means that they could be stashed in a jacket pocket easily.

The glasses, which are made in Modena, Italy, were recently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

9. Maori food produce

The HUI Maori Collective, comprising of 11 companies, looks to bring Maori-produced food and beverage products to China. The range of products include fruit bars, wine and Manuka honey.

New Zealand's Minister for Maori development Nanaia Mahuta said that for the very first time, Maori exporters can enter into the modern world of e-commerce in ways that will derive benefits for New Zealand's international status as a trading nation, CGTN reported.

Launched in China on Monday (Nov 5) at the CIIE, the HUI Maori Collective's product suite will be hosted on NZ Post's flagship store on the Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform Tmall Global.

These products will feature New Zealand's FernMark licence, which verifies that products are grown or made or designed in New Zealand by reputable New Zealand companies.

10. Premium Kenyan coffee

East African coffee chain Java House, which is based in Nairobi, Kenya, will be brewing its premium coffee at the CIIE. It is one of several African firms hoping to expand into the Chinese market, and has signed a distribution agreement with Shanghai-based logistics company Greechain International Ltd.

"High-quality Kenyan coffee has premium fruit acids and strong flavors," Greechain general manager Du Gongming told China Daily.

He added that Greechain and Java House will open the first coffee shop selling African coffee in Shanghai.

The coffee market in China has flourished in recent years, with the total coffee consumption in China growing at an average annual rate of 16 per cent in the last decade, outpacing the world average of two per cent, according to figures from the International Coffee Organisation.

The company has earmarked its Chinese foray to bolster its growth amidst the weakening competitiveness of the coffee industry in Africa, China Daily reported.