European exhibitors embrace nation's chic consumption trend
NINGBO — Around 3,000 types of new products, ranging from agricultural produce, wine and cosmetics to high-end manufacturing and services products, were showcased at the third China-Central and Eastern European Countries Expo & International Consumer Goods Fair, offering a glimpse into China's consumption upgrade trend.
As a first-time exhibitor at the China-CEEC expo, Grzegorz Sienkiewicz, CEO of Four Starlings, was excited to see visitors at his exhibition booth.
Founded in 2015, the Polish cosmetics company makes natural handcrafted cosmetics products that have entered more than 300 retail stores globally. "Our personal care products are based on natural raw materials of high quality," he said. "The company does not use artificial fragrances or plastic packaging, and all its products are handmade," he said.
China's consumption has changed in recent years, he said. Chinese people are increasingly paying attention to the environmental value of goods and are willing to pay for environmentally friendly and sustainable products.
To aid Chinese consumers' pursuit of eco-friendly lifestyles, the company selected its best-selling products for this year's expo, such as handmade soaps and face cream.
"As the world's second-largest consumer market, China holds irresistible appeal to global businesses. I hope to use the expo platform to introduce more green products to Chinese consumers. I believe my company will experience massive development in China," he said.
At this year's expo, 14 products with European Union geographical indications made their debut, including the Polish beer Van Pur. It is the largest independent brewing company in Poland and has opened its first overseas representative office in Shanghai thanks to its rapidly growing sales in China.
China has always been a huge consumer of beer, but preferences are shifting away from industrial beers to more premium and craft brews. The demand for high-end beers has been rising in recent years, said Mateusz Gonet, sales director of the business unit of Van Pur.
"We noticed the consumption upgrade trend before entering China, so we studied the preferences of Chinese consumers and selected a wide range of high-quality beers with different flavors to satisfy the diverse consumer demand," he said. The company hopes to seize the huge opportunities in the Chinese consumer market by providing tailored, quality products.
The booth operated by Elan, a Slovenian ski manufacturer, is attracting a steady stream of visitors. As a first-time exhibitor, the company, which produces 600,000 skis a year, has set up an on-site ski slope to give visitors an immersive experience.
Snow and ice sports have become a niche in China. Driven by the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, winter sports have since been gaining popularity among Chinese people, said Cao Xing, vice-general manager of Beijing Snowelan Sport Development Co Ltd, Elan's general agency in China.
"When the brand entered China, we sold hundreds of skis annually. Now the figure has increased to about 20,000," said Cao.
According to a 2022 China snow and ice industry development research report, the total scale of China's snow and ice industry is forecast to exceed 1 trillion yuan ($141.81 billion) in 2025. Chinese authorities have mentioned the promotion of the industry and the construction of ski tourism resorts in several planning documents.
"More cities in South China are building indoor ski resorts. We hope to explore the market in South China through this exhibition and achieve double-digit growth in China in the next few years," said Leon Korosec, who works with Elan, at the expo.
China and CEECs have seen closer economic and trade ties in recent years. As a trade catalyst between China and CEECs, the third China-CEEC Expo & International Consumer Goods Fair attracted more than 3,000 exhibitors, including over 400 exhibitors from CEECs and other European countries. The six-day expo concluded on May 21.
Data from China's commerce ministry show that since 2012, China's trade with CEECs has grown at an average annual rate of 8.1 percent, and China's imports from CEECs have increased at an average rate of 9.2 percent annually.
In the first quarter of this year, two-way trade totaled $33.3 billion, up 1.6 percent year-on-year. The two-way trade of agricultural and food products totaled $720 million from January to April, surging 34 percent year-on-year.