DETROIT, the United States, June 19 (Xinhua) -- More than 3,000 small- and medium-sized U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs flocked to Detroit on Monday, as they sought opportunities to reach out to millions of Chinese consumers.
The once deserted motor city came to life as people from 48 states across the country flew in to attend Gateway' 17, a conference held by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
The conference, which will take place on June 20-21, will feature presentations and breakout sessions aimed at educating attendees on what and how to sell to China, especially through e-commerce platforms, so that they can grow their businesses and go global.
The number of attendees tripled conference organisers' original expectation. A Marriott hotel located in downtown Detroit received more than 700 guests on Monday, most of them came for the conference.
According to Alibaba, the participants are primarily from product categories most popular among Chinese consumers such as fashion and apparel, fast-moving consumer goods, electronics, household products, and fresh food.
The e-commerce company chose Detroit for a reason. The small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) there have the potential to lead cross-border e-commerce and set an example for SMEs around the world, Alibaba said.
The company added that Michigan, traditionally a manufacturing and agricultural state, may also be able the seize the opportunity to revitalise its economy.
China is the world's largest online shopping market, with about 467 million online consumers spending about 26.1 trillion yuan (3.83 trillion U.S. dollars) last year, up 19.8 percent year on year.