Year-on-year growth for January to June period surpasses 108%, reveals bureau
Despite its status as an inland province, Shanxi in North China has maintained robust growth in foreign trade over the past few years.
According to the Shanxi Statistics Bureau, total foreign trade during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) amounted to 658.6 billion yuan ($101.6 billion). It represents an average annual growth of 10.5 percent. The number of Shanxi's foreign trade partners expanded to 188 countries and regions over the five years.
The growth is even more impressive this year. According to data released by the bureau on July 21, Shanxi's foreign trade totaled 113.03 billion yuan in the first half, with a year-on-year growth rate of 108.4 percent. The growth rate ranks the province third nationwide.
The export and import volume in June reached 22.24 billion yuan, a monthly record.
Local officials and businesspeople said the brilliant performance in foreign trade is relevant to Shanxi's innovation-driven development strategy; a new growth model focusing on both international and domestic markets; and the authorities' relentless efforts to promote international trade.
Jiashida Robots based in the provincial capital of Taiyuan is an example of how companies in Shanxi use innovative, high-tech products and solutions to boost exports. The company secured its first order from a dealer in South Korea in July.
"This first order from South Korea is a big deal that involves 3,000 new-generation house-cleaning robots, and shows the great market potential in that country," said Niu Liqun, board chairman of the company.
"The new product has been sold to Germany, Japan, South Korea and other competitive markets only four months after its debut," he said.
Jiashida was founded nine years ago as the first home-service robot company in Shanxi. Its products have been exported to more than 30 countries and regions.
"A highlight on e-commerce platforms instead of conventional marketing channels is one of the major reasons for our growth in exports,"Niu said.
Another company using diversified online and offline channels is Lu'an Solar Power Technology in Changzhi, it reported strong growth in its export of solar-power batteries.
According to Zhang Manli, an executive of Lu'an, the company sold 41.14 million batteries overseas with a total value of $30.6 million in the first half of this year. The figures represent increases of 67 percent and 100 percent year-on-year respectively.
While promoting exports, authorities in Shanxi have placed equal emphasis on imports. Their efforts include simplifying import-related procedures and opening more sectors to foreign businesses.
A sector that enjoys the most favorable incentive is the importation of consumer goods. Provincial officials said consumers in Shanxi can now easily access goods, ranging from food to cosmetics, in cities as a result of more brick-and-mortar outlets being opened by overseas dealers and more online shopping channels supported by e-commerce platforms.
Zhang Li, a woman in Taiyuan, is a follower of South Korean cosmetics.
"At the beginning, we asked our friends to buy if they happened to visit South Korea. Later we got the goods through daigou, or online shopping agents, based in that country," Zhang Li said. "And now we can get all the things here in Taiyuan."
What makes Zhang Li's purchasing so easy now is the Taiyuan Wusu Comprehensive Bonded Area, which was approved as a pilot zone for cross-border e-commerce by the State Council in 2019.
More than 1,200 varieties of imported consumer goods are now available in Wusu thanks to the various cross-border e-commerce platforms. They also enjoy preferential duties of a bonded area, according to officials there.
In addition to e-commerce, the authorities' efforts in promoting foreign trade include arranging trade delegations to visit various shows and exhibitions in China and abroad.
The China-Europe freight train service, which links Shanxi to 11 countries through nine regular routes, has played an increasingly important role in boosting the province's international trade.
Wu Jia contributed to this story.