• China International Import Expo (CIIE): A Complete Guide

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    In 2017, China announced that it starts holding the China International Import Expo (CIIE) from 2018. They created the event to further embrace China’s new strategy moving from being a pure manufacturing country to increase domestic consumption of foreign products.

    The expo will inevitably help China to open its market to the rest of the world, strengthen trade, economics, and collaboration. As the second-biggest import market in the world, the event attracts thousands of enterprises annually and continues to grow.

    If you’re serious about your China market entry, this is an expo you shouldn’t miss.

    Introduction to the China International Import Expo (CIIE)

    China International Import Expo (CIIE) is the first import-themed expo being held on a national level. There are no other countries that have similar expos at the moment.

    It’s jointly hosted by the Ministry of Commerce and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government. The organizers are the China International Import Expo Bureau and the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai).

    There’s no doubt that this is a serious gathering and where foreign companies can engage with local authorities and enterprises.

    The event is also a partner of various foreign organizations, including:

    • World Trade Organization
    • United Nations Development Programme
    • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
    • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    • United Nations Industrial Development Organization
    • International Trade Center

    So why was the CIIE created?

    The main purpose is to increase imports from foreign countries and to upgrade Chinese products with technology from other countries.

    During the expo, you can learn more about the Chinese market and entry regulations. Numerous well-known foreign brands enter to participate in the event thanks to the many benefits it brings.

    Product Categories

    The event is held in the National Convention & Exhibition Center in Shanghai, a large-sized building that is divided into four sections. If you look at it from above it resembles a cloverleaf.

    During the CIIE, product categories are also divided into four areas with designated colors as follows:

    1. Food and Agricultural Products / Automobile (Blue color)

    • Beverage and alcohol
    • Snack food, sweets, condiments
    • Dairy products
    • Vegetables, fruits, and agricultural products
    • Meat, aquatic products, and frozen food
    • Organic food
    • Pre-packaged food
    • Comprehensive food

    2. Automobile (Blue color)

    • Whole vehicles
    • Automotive parts and components
    • Automotive electronics
    • Automotive supporting products and maintenance supplies
    • New energy automotive products and technologies
    • Automotive driving products and technologies
    • Intelligent travel products and technologies

    3. Intelligent Industry & Information Technology (Orange color)

    • Equipment for industrial automation and digital data
    • High-end machinery manufacturing
    • Industrial finished products
    • Energy conservation and environmental protection

    4. Consumer Goods (Red)

    • Beauty and cosmetics
    • Household goods and gifts
    • Intelligent life and household appliances
    • Maternal and child products
    • Sports and outdoor leisure
    • Fashion trends and works of art

    5. Medical Equipment & Healthcare Products (Green color)

    • Drugs
    • Medical devices
    • Old-age rehabilitation and ancillary products
    • Dietary supplements
    • Health care
    • Medical cosmetology
    • Health tourism
    • Medical technology and services

    6. Trade-in Services (Green color)

    • Financial services (banking, insurance, asset management, etc.)
    • Logistics services
    • Information technology services
    • Inspection and testing services
    • Integrated services
    • Supply chain management
    • Services in culture
    • Tourism education
    • Entertainment and sports

    Results from Previous Events

    During the event in 2018, we saw intention-to-buy deals worth USD 57.83 billion, which is indeed not a modest number.

    It’s been a meeting playground for large foreign companies like Danone and Arla Foods, who have managed to establish a strong presence in the market.

    A foreign coffee-producing company that attended the previous event now sells its products in 500 stores in 80 cities. Besides, the world’s smallest pacemaker producer managed to enter the market, thanks to the acceptance from the Chinese authorities.

    These are just a few examples of success stories that foreign brands have experienced after attending the events.

    Requirements to Attend

    Before you go into detailed planning, you must understand what requirements apply to exhibitors.

    First of all, the event focuses on inviting foreign brands that are new to the Chinese market. As such, companies that are registered within the customs territory of China will not be invited to the event. It doesn’t matter if the company is foreign-funded, privately-owned, or state-owned.

    Besides, products that are manufactured within the customs territory of China won’t be displayed.

    Visitors & Exhibitors

    The event has been held since 2018 and attracted thousands of exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of visitors.

    Below you can find the figures presented from the event held in 2019:

    • 180+ participating countries
    • 3,800+ enterprises
    • 250+ global 500s, trade leaders
    • 67 country exhibition participants
    • Fees to Attend

    Visitors don’t need to pay any entrance fees. Exhibitors, on the other hand, have to pay fees starting from around USD 3,000 when renting a booth.

    If you want more information about companies that can help to set up a booth, simply visit CIIE’s website.

    The Venue

    CIIE is held in the National Convention & Exhibition Center, a large-sized and modern building with futuristic features.

    The address to the center is 333 Songze Avenue, Qingpu District, Shanghai, China and you can reach it by taxi or subway.

    If you go by subway, simply take metro line 2 to East Xujing Station (徐泾东). The station is located inside the exhibition center grounds, it’s easy to reach it from here.


    Below you can find commonly asked questions and our replies. If there is anything else you wonder about, feel free to write a comment below or send us an email.

    What products are in demand in China?

    China has the second-biggest import market in the world and we see various product categories in high demand.

    Food and beverages are in high demand as the Chinese develop an appetite for foreign food products.

    Health supplements and Mom & baby products become increasingly popular as the Chinese are more health-conscious and they seek high-quality foreign brands. Fashion & clothing is undoubtedly one of the biggest product categories as well.

    What are the benefits of visiting CIIE?

    CIIE attracts thousands of exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of visitors. It’s a perfect opportunity to network, learn more about the market, and create invaluable connections.

    If you don’t intend to exhibit at the expo, you can at least visit it for free.

    What makes CIIE different from other expos and trade fairs?

    CIIE is different in the sense that it’s the first national-held import expo in the world. China has a unique market in the sense that it’s doing its utmost to shift from being a pure manufacturing country to increase imports of foreign products.

    Domestic consumption is crucial for the Chinese economy and to diversify its economy.

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