SHANGHAI, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- China's first import expo offers opportunities for UNICEF to better partner with businesses to address challenges faced by children around the world, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Shanelle Hall said in Shanghai.
"It was exciting to be at the expo with thousands of businesses and prominent government officials from around the world -- all important stakeholders for children," said Hall in an interview with Xinhua during the ongoing China International Import Expo (CIIE).
The week-long expo attracted over 400,000 purchasers and 3,600 companies from across the globe, including top pharmaceutical companies and other manufacturers of children-related products, which drew attention from UNICEF under its ever-growing collaboration with international businesses.
In 2017, UNICEF procured goods and services worth 3.46 billion U.S. dollars to supply 150 countries and areas, including vaccines and biologicals, nutrition and pharmaceuticals. "Businesses have always been a part in our story," Hall said.
Hall said she was attracted by health technologies such as emerging diagnostics and products related to children's development like high-tech toys.
"We love to see the inventions and pursuit by the thousands of businesses here," said Hall, who noted that "learning" was one of their purposes of attending the CIIE, also regarding the expo as a good platform for UNICEF to search for items for procurement.
In Hall's eyes, China's further opening-up will introduce more innovations for children into the Chinese market, help local businesses think differently and bring up more new solutions to better meet the needs for children around the world.
Hall attended a forum themed "Leading innovation collaborations to build the future of children everywhere" held by UNICEF Tuesday as a side event of CIIE.
Hall said holding such a forum during CIIE can also help "influence more enterprises to prioritize children in their business decisions."
"We are here as it is a valuable opportunity to network with and influence Chinese and global businesses to contribute toward meeting the needs of children in China and across the world," she said.
"Like CIIE, which not only bring products and service, the forum should come up with new ideas and new solutions in the long term," said Zhang Yi, an official with China's Ministry of Commerce at the forum, noting that China has been encouraging more businesses to participate in protecting women and children, and will keep working in joint efforts with UNICEF.
Haier, one of the world's largest electronic groups, has produced containers powered by solar panels, which can store vaccines at their proper temperatures for five days to address electricity shortages in remote areas.
"Now we can ensure the safety of 120,000 such vaccines," said Dr. Liu Zhanjie, executive director and general manager of Qingdao Haier Biomedical, at the forum.
"Given China's ever-growing capacity for innovation, as well as production of commodities, UNICEF is excited to grow its partnership with Chinese businesses," said Hall.