SHANGHAI, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- From coffee beans to ground coffee, from coffee machines to an intelligent platform for coffee shops -- companies from all over the world are eyeing the big Chinese market with small cups of coffee at the ongoing second China International Import Expo in Shanghai, looking to sharing opportunities from China's consumption upgrading.
At the Colombian booth, potential buyers lined up for a sample of the country's coffee.
"We are all bullish on the Chinese market," said Wu Jiahang, chief representative for Greater China with the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, noting that China's further opening up has brought great opportunities to Colombian coffee producers. "The expo allows Chinese coffee lovers to taste Colombian high mountain coffee."
Coffee consumption is growing rapidly in China, turning the traditionally tea-drinking country into one of the world's most promising markets for coffee growers.
According to the International Coffee Organization, the country's coffee consumption has expanded by an average annual rate of 16 percent over the past decade, and its market is expected to grow to about 300 billion yuan (43 billion U.S. dollars) by 2020.
In the exhibition halls for food and agricultural products, the fragrance of coffee -- from countries including Jamaica, Indonesia, Malaysia and Ethiopia -- wafts through the air.
"Our coffee sales in China increased more than 15 percent in the past year," said Wilson Li, off-line sales head of Greater China with the Trung Nguyen Group Corporation based in Vietnam, who came to the expo for the second time. "China, with a population of nearly 1.4 billion, has great market potential and people here have diverse choices of coffee."
Coffee is even bestowed with a touch of high tech at the ongoing expo.
At the exhibition halls featuring sci-tech innovations, visitors can find luxury embedded coffee machines, automatic capsule machines, and remotely controlled smart devices capable of making two kinds of coffee simultaneously. Software corporation SAP offered Internet of Things and cloud data solutions for coffee shops.
Coopelibertad, a Costa Rica coffee complex, has reached a tentative sales agreement worth 5 million dollars with a Shanghai firm at the expo. Coopelibertad is a cooperative-style enterprise comprising more than 1,100 local small and medium-sized coffee producers.
Under the agreement, coffee producer Deredia will be able to enter the Chinese market. Olga Gonzalez, the company's representative at the expo, said Costa Rica has many coffee farmers. "Coffee trade can improve their living conditions and bring them tangible benefits in terms of education and livelihood."
"Coffee, like a borderless bridge, connects the global industrial chain," said Leo Tsoi, chief operating officer and president of Starbucks China Retail.