by Han Qian
PARIS, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Representatives of 16 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the French Mediterranean region of Corsica have embarked on their journey to Shanghai to participate in the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE).
It will be the companies' first appearance in the Chinese market. They will try to attract the attention of more than 150,000 buyers from countries and regions that are expected to attend the CIIE, China's first-ever expo of this kind, scheduled for Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai.
Paul Pierinelli, who organized the Corsican enterprises to go to Shanghai, told Xinhua that all his fellow entrepreneurs were motivated to knock the door of the Chinese market.
Although being SMEs, Pierinelli said, " We are positive about entering into China". Jointly set up an exhibition hall is the way they chose to promote their products and the region as a whole.
Pierre Orsini, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Haute-Corse (CCI of Haute-Corse), said, "We're not going just as one brand, but as a group of companies." He added that this Mediterranean manner of presence will allow them to well showcase the region's products as well as its cultural uniqueness.
The joint exhibition hall for the Corsican SMEs at the CIIE measures 500 square meters. Direct communications with Chinese and international buyers during the event will facilitate export from Corsica to not only China but also the international market.
The Corsican companies will bring many types of products, ranging from local biscuits and chocolate to processed meats, wine and beer. Using natural resources and respecting traditional know-how, they're confident that the Mediterranean touch of their products will win hearts in the Chinese market.
Hugo Sialelli, director of development of Corsica's biggest beer brand Pietra, said local and quality beers are in Pietra's DNA, "It is important to showcase our land and our expertise." He noted that the CIIE would be the first step for his company to enter the Chinese market.
According to the CCI of Haute-Corse, Corsican exports have doubled in the past year, reaching a total of 137 million euros (156 million U.S. dollars). However, compared to the rest of France's southeastern regions, Corsica's export is lagging.
The chef and general manager of O Ma Gourmandises, Jean-Michel Querci, said before the trip to Shanghai, his company only does trades in local and regional markets. Going to the CIIE will be his first experience to step into the international market.
To further reach out to international markets, it would also be critical for Corsica to get involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, said Orsini, "Today, participating in the Belt and Road Initiative is very important for a small region like ours. The Belt and Road Initiative will allow foreign exporters to find new markets, to invent and to create new ties among regions and countries."