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Showcase from participating countries highlight national pavilions
2018-11-07 

The first China International Import Expo is underway at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai. At the country pavilions, the participants have gone to great lengths to demonstrate their distinctive national characteristics.

A group of young men and women perform Russian-style dancing at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on Nov 6, 2018. [Photo: IC]

A group of young men and women perform Russian-style dancing at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on Nov 6, 2018. [Photo: IC]

In the center of the huge exhibition hall for countries and international organizations, a crowd gathers in front of some young men and women giving a performance of Russian-style dancing. A few steps away, people line up to claim a souvenir. And the word on the street is, Pakistan's pavilion will stage a fashion show, and no one wants to miss that.

And if you find yourself at the Australia Pavilion, chances are you'll be offered a glass of wine in an open kitchen that reflects the strong ties between the people of China and Australia. That's according to Andrew Hogg, the general manager for the region at Tourism Australia.

"I think one of the things we wanted to achieve was demonstrating the great produce that Australia has. Australia is very famous for being a very green and clean environment. And one of the things we also look at is representing that as well, so to continue to reinforce what that is, but also to show all of the visitors that are here, that Australia is a great place to visit."

While some countries want Chinese tourists to pay them a visit, others are hoping that it's China's business people who will be coming. The UK's Secretary of State Liam Fox expects to see tangible results come out of the import expo.

"It offers us the opportunity to set out the best of the United Kingdom in a range of sections. We had sessions this morning on financial services, business services, but it is also on health care, education, life sciences, a whole range of the sort of service capabilities that I think China would increasingly want to have."

On Tuesday morning, the Britain-based global professional accounting body ACCA signed a partnership agreement with Alibaba. ACCA Chief Executive Helen Brand said her organization is hoping to pool resources with the Chinese tech giant.

"A lot of what our members need is to transform the business models of their practicing firms, or of their small and medium-sized enterprises, and changing that business requires the digital technology and the expertise that the collaboration with Alibaba Cloud will bring, and actually the first piece of research that we are going to work together is going to be looking at Chinese business models of the future and what business is going to look like in the digital context."

Also getting on board with digital technology is the Canadian delegation, which has made a virtual pavilion for the people who can't make it to the expo in person. According to Canada's Consul General Weldon Epp, the country is keen to make sure that its businesses benefit from having a stronger presence in China.

"There will be a lot of analysis. For us, this is also an opportunity to support Canadian companies, some are partners here, some of them have their own exhibition space. At the end of the CIIE, we want to listen to them. Was it a good event? Was it useful to them? We are doing a big awareness raising, a sort of publicity work, but in terms of actual business, we need to hear from our companies to find out was it useful or what could it be improved? We'll provide our feedback to the Chinese government if they are interested."

81 countries and international organizations have set up booths in the National Pavilion section of the import expo, covering an area of 30,000 square meters.

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