China services trade fair to bring opportunities to global businesses: experts



With the theme "opening up leads development, cooperation delivers the future," the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) opened in Beijing on Saturday, which experts say will bring huge business opportunities to enterprises from home and abroad seeking to tap into the vast Chinese market with their products and services.

As one of the world's largest and most comprehensive fairs for trade in services, experts believe that CIFTIS has demonstrated China's active role in working with other countries to promote trade in services and drive global economic recovery.

Held at the China National Convention Center and Shougang Park in Beijing, the event has attracted over 2,200 enterprises and representatives of 75 countries and international organizations, with the proportion of international participants exceeding 20 percent.

"Against the backdrop of the volatile international situation and fragile world economic recovery, CIFTIS offers the Chinese opportunities for the global services industry and trade in services," said Bai Ming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce.

For the first time, the fair will host an investment promotion event on the further opening up of the services industry to share Chinese growth opportunities with global businesses.

China's services industry has provided crucial support for high-quality economic development and opened up new space for economic and trade cooperation. In 2022, China's services imports and exports grew 12.9 percent year on year to reach a record high of nearly 6 trillion yuan (some $ 835.8 billion), ranking second in the world for the ninth consecutive year, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

China's continuous opening up and optimization of its business environment and active promotion of the digitalized and green development of trade in services greatly benefit both domestic and foreign businesses, said Gu Fan, general manager of Growth Acceleration, Amazon Web Services Greater China.

Gu said his company will continue to tap into the Chinese market with further investment and that he is looking forward to assisting more companies with their sustainability visions.

The green and low-carbon drive is a major feature of the event, which has several related themed forums and exhibitions of cutting-edge green services, technologies and business models.

People in fields such as supply chain, IT, construction and finance are keeping a close eye on the opportunities brought by the global low-carbon scenario, especially the vast opportunities brought by China's dual carbon targets, said Qin Hu, vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and chief representative of EDF's Beijing Representative Office.

Green and low-carbon services are becoming new growth drivers of global trade, Qin said.

CIFTIS is an annual flagship event in China, serving as a vital platform for China to build consensus on global cooperation and promote international exchanges, said Tom Simpson, managing director of China operations and chief China representative at the China-Britain Business Council.

"CIFTIS is a valuable opportunity for businesses to engage with government stakeholders, for China to exhibit its own strengths and ambitions for the service sector, and for international service companies to announce deals with local partners," Simpson said.

Eyeing the business opportunities in China, Ajlan & Bros Group, one of the largest Saudi Arabian enterprises in China, is attending the fair for a second straight year.

Mohammed Al Ajlan, deputy chairman of Ajlan & Bros Group, said the company will further tap bilateral economic and trade cooperation potential this year and help investors from the two countries achieve higher-level cooperation and win-win in emerging fields such as 5G, AI, and financial technology.

China's continuous opening up in trade in services will help unleash further opportunities for global investors.

The Ministry of Commerce said in August that it would promote the introduction of negative lists for cross-border trade in services, cultivate new business modes and models for trade in services, and create new growth drivers for services exports.

"China's trade in services still has great growth potential and opportunities," said Liu Chunsheng, an associate professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics.