Feature: A touch of Europe glimmers at China import expo

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-08 16:57:32|Editor: Liangyu
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SHANGHAI, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Want to give your life a European touch without flying thousands of miles? Imagine wearing Finnish jewelry and Polish perfume for work, enjoying some Hungarian cheese and Italian olive oil-topped bread for an afternoon treat, and ending the day with sizzling French beef and Portuguese wine.

The ongoing inaugural China International Import Expo (CIIE) is making that fantasy a reality for China's growing middle-income population, and far more than that is on offer.

The week-long expo opening on Monday attracted over 3,600 companies around the world, while a total of 21 European countries have come to show their cutting-edge products.

Ferretti yachts from Italy and a flying car of AeroMobil from Slovakia are surrounded and being wowed at by global buyers, an aroma of onion and beef is lingering in the air as a French chef serve a crowd of visitors quality meat that hasn't been in the Chinese market for years, and purchasers are amazed by a pianist playing a piano made in the Czech Republic while sipping on the country's best beer.

"Compared to traditional airline alternatives, AeroMobil cuts travel time because people don't need to transfer between different modes of transport," Simon Bendrey, chief engineer of AeroMobil, told Xinhua, adding that it can drive up to 750 km on a single tank of regular gasoline.

He said the company has just started the certificate process and expects to deliver vehicles to Chinese customers in 2021. Buyers can now pre-order at the expo.

"It would be wonderful if I could drive such a flying car to work. It's such a perfect fix for urban traffic," said an excited buyer surnamed Wen after seeing the vehicle gradually extend its "wings" to become a small fixed-wing plane.

As China transitions to high-quality development with the world's biggest middle-income population demanding higher-quality consumer products, its vast market potential has provided European companies with huge opportunities to cash in on.

Italian luxury motor yacht manufacturer Ferretti first entered the Chinese market in 2004 and the market has grown quite rapidly ever since. The company has brought two of its major yachts to the CIIE exhibition hall.

"Chinese people's need for joy and relaxation is growing. We've seen a big shift in the market," said Alessandro Eirelli, sales director of Ferretti Group Asia Pacific.

For Spanish pork association InterPorc Spain, the expo is mustering support for business and free trade in a time when the waves of protectionism are threatening global growth.

"So far in 2018, Spain has overtaken the U.S. to become the No.1 frozen pork supplier in China," said Daniel de Miguel, international manager of InterPorc Spain.

He said the quantity of Spanish frozen pork exports to China reached over 300,000 tonnes in 2017 and the number is expected to grow this year.

"Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly interested in high-quality European food and Spain has a lot to offer to satisfy this growing demand, as our pork is safe and green. It benefits the growth of both countries," he said.

At the German pavilion, Dr. Rainer H. Waldschmidt, CEO of Hessen Trade & Invest, is busy talking with interested buyers. As a major exhibitor, about 160 companies from Germany have brought high-end technologies from the intelligent manufacturing, automobile and machinery equipment sectors.

"We work together with Chinese partners combining German technology and Chinese know-how of the Chinese market and Chinese customers to bring the best of the both sides together, and the collaborations are very successful," said Waldschmidt.

"Business success tells the truth at the end of the day," he smiles.