Feature: Chinese market charms French firms

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-08 14:15:02|Editor: Wang Yamei
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SHANGHAI, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- With a bar serving food and wine, and VR headsets to gain a glimpse of the country, the France Pavilion in a modern whitish setup is one of the most enticing nation pavilions at China's ongoing import fair.

As one of the guest countries of honor, France's presence at the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), marked by the attendance of French president, is one highlight of the event. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of China-France diplomatic relations.

The close ties between the two countries are well represented by the active participation of over 80 French firms in the expo, which have voiced their long-term commitment to the Chinese market.

The Chinese market's potential is huge, said Antoine Grange, CEO of recycling and recovery with French environmental services firm SUEZ Asia. "The growth of the green sector is accelerating in China." This is the second year for him to attend the fair.

SUEZ NWS, the group's joint venture to operate its Greater China business, has been in China for over 40 years. It just won a contract for a hazardous waste treatment project in east China's Dongying Hekou blue economy industrial park ahead of the expo.

"The market demands are growing and keep changing as China's urbanization progresses," Grange observed. "The waste sorting campaign, for example, is an emerging opportunity for us."

The Chinese economy's growth focus is shifting from quantity to quality, which bodes significant opportunities for the service sector, said Martin Boden, Greater China president of French provider of qualify of life services Sodexo, one of the brands displayed at the France Pavilion. "Chinese are showing increasing aspirations for 'a better life' amid the country's consumption upgrading."

The company announced at the expo that it will gradually deploy its WasteWatch system in catering and other sectors to prevent food waste within four to five years to tap the country's sustainability market.

At the medical equipment and health care section, French drugmaker Sanofi is an eye-catching exhibitor with a unique booth, where a string of breakthrough drugs and smart health care services are on display.

"China is strategically important to Sanofi, and we want to contribute to the 'Healthy China 2030' initiative," said Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson. By 2025, the company intends to bring over 30 medicines and vaccines to China.

"We will continue to expand investments in China, enhancing our research and development and production operations, and unlock the potential of technology and digitalization to improve patient outcomes," Hudson said. At the fair, the company launched two strategic collaboration projects with China's Ping An and Tencent to develop digital solutions in health management.

Luxury group LVMH and 13 of its brands participated for the first time in the CIIE with a pavilion focused on heritage and innovation.

This participation offered a fantastic opportunity to strengthen the close ties with China and take the strategic commercial and cultural partnership to the next level, the group's speaker Frederic Arnault said.

"It also reflects our commitment to developing the group's presence throughout China," he added.

French companies are eagerly looking forward to taking the opportunity provided by China's expanded opening-up, further entering the Chinese market, expanding exports of agricultural products to China, and strengthening cooperation in areas such as aviation, aerospace and civilian nuclear energy, as well as sci-tech innovation and finance, French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday during his state visit to China.