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Shanghai expo expected to boost services trade

Updated: Nov 8, 2021 By LIU ZHIHUA in Shanghai, ZHONG NAN,ZHONG NAN and ZHOU LANXU in Beijing CHINA DAILY Print
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Visitors stop at a booth at the Medical Equipment and Healthcare Products Exhibition Area of the 4th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, Nov 6, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The ongoing fourth China International Import Expo in Shanghai will inject new growth impetus into China's services trade because the global trade gala brings together top services suppliers to showcase their offerings and serves as an efficient platform to bridge supply and demand, according to experts and business executives.

At the expo's trade in services demonstration area, more than 300 enterprises from about 54 countries and regions have displayed services ranging from testing and exhibitions to cultural services and consultancy.

Many high-tech companies have also brought their latest solutions based on new technologies and products, which can be applied in industrial upgrades and digital trade.

"As online consumption in sectors such as retail, healthcare, education, commerce and finance has been growing exponentially, it is predicted that trade in knowledge-intensive services such as education, healthcare and design will also grow very quickly," said Zhang Wenlang, chief macroeconomic analyst with investment bank China International Capital Corp.

Attracted by China's fast-growing services sector, global accounting firm PwC announced at the expo on Friday that it will invest 8 billion yuan ($1.25 billion) and create 20,000 new jobs across China over the next five years.

"China continues to perform remarkably well despite ongoing global challenges," said Raymund Chao, PwC's chairman for Asia-Pacific and China.

"We will continue to support and contribute to China's major national strategies to drive toward an enduring outcome of continued growth and development for its economy."

Experts and business executives said the CIIE will also help accelerate digitalization and innovation in services trade.

"As the pandemic continues, enterprises have an urgent need to upgrade their equipment and technologies to adapt to the new environment," said Huo Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, which is based in Beijing.

"The CIIE provides a platform for enterprises to communicate and match demand with supply, which will facilitate the growth of the digital economy as well as trade in services."

Digital supply chain solutions demonstrated at the expo that combine cutting-edge technologies, such as big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, offer enterprises a comprehensive set of services for supply chain management, Zhang, from the investment bank, said.

The expo also will propel cross-area cooperation and services upgrades, as communication among players from different sectors spurs innovation, he added.

Bernard Jiang, president of UPS China, said the CIIE has provided an open and valuable platform for UPS to communicate with customers about their changing demands.

"UPS has invested heavily in the market and established a strong presence here," he said. "Through this, we are committed to providing fast and reliable connectivity to the growing number of Chinese businesses, both big and small, that are looking to expand their global footprints."

Experts also predicted that China's foreign trade will continue to grow.

The country's total imports and exports expanded 22.2 percent year-on-year to 31.67 trillion yuan in the first 10 months of this year. Compared with the same period in 2019, the figure rose by 23.4 percent, the General Administration of Customs said on Sunday.

Exports came in at 17.49 trillion yuan during the period, up 22.5 percent, while imports totaled 14.18 trillion yuan, growing 21.8 percent from a year earlier.

"Global demand is on the rise and has obviously outpaced the recovery in supply," said Zhang Yansheng, chief researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

"Under such circumstances, China will continue to play an important role in ensuring supply for the world market, thanks to its complete industrial and supply chain and effective control of the epidemic."

Although commodity prices are high, causing increased costs for Chinese enterprises, they will continue to operate as long as product prices are higher than the fixed cost, or the expense that does not change with an increase or decrease in the number of goods or services produced or sold, he said.

Besides, there is still room for Chinese enterprises to lower costs and increase efficiency, he added.

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