East China's Zhejiang province hosted a total of 524 events for the Zhejiang Exports Online Fair series last year, which matched 24,000 Zhejiang enterprises with 37,000 foreign buyers for international businesses, the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce recently revealed.
The province's number of online foreign trade fairs last year is even higher than the combined number for all the other Chinese provinces.
"In previous years, Zhejiang's foreign trade companies obtained roughly 60 to 70 percent of their new purchasing orders by attending expos and fairs of various kinds. However, nearly 500 well-known expos worldwide were postponed or cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Chen Zhicheng, director of the trade development department at the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce.
According to Chen, Zhejiang authorities adapted to this adversity by starting to hold online fairs as early as last March and hosted more than 500 such sessions throughout the year, which involved 64 countries and regions, including the United States and Vietnam, as well as 73 industries, such as textiles and machinery.
Zhejiang businesspeople reconnected with their counterparts abroad through internet platforms. For instance, an online session held in April 2020, which targeted India's building materials and sanitary wares markets, successfully lead to the business matchmakings between 85 Zhejiang exhibitors and 70 Indian buyers, with $68 million worth of tentative deals reached.
Zhejiang has been improving online expos in all aspects. For example, the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce hosted dedicated fairs for anti-epidemic products, hardware, textile materials, and many more specific segments for the Vietnam market. Some of the online fairs even featured virtual reality exhibition halls and three-dimensional real-world scenes.
Through these online fairs, Zhejiang also addressed the urgent demand of anti-COVID-19 epidemic products in many countries. Last April, Zhejiang authorities held a six-day fair for Italy's market demand for anti-COVID-19 epidemic products, during which 100 top-notch manufacturers in Zhejiang connected with some 80 Italian buyers, including the country's hospitals, multinational companies, and chambers of commerce.