Economic relations between China and Cote d'Ivoire are set to deepen, as the latter became the first African country to co-host the 13th China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair that takes place in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, from Oct 10 to 27.
Azoumana Moutaye, head of the country's Ministry of National Entrepreneurship, Handicrafts and Promotion of SMEs, said China and Cote d'Ivoire jointly organizing the international event indicated that bilateral relations between the two countries has reached a new peak.
Cote d'Ivoire, with a population of around 23 million, has become one of Africa's most resurgent economies in recent years. Its economy will be the second-fastest growing in the world this year, as predicted by the International Monetary Fund.
About 60 Ivorian enterprises led by Moutaye have participated in the exhibition, showcasing and promoting their products in such industries as agriculture, communication, energy, construction and logistics.
Promoting SME globalization on the world stage
Another foreign co-host is India. Following Russia, it is the second BRICS country that is involved in organizing the fair.
Indian Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Kalraj Mishra hoped the fair would better promote the cooperation between Chinese and Indian SMEs and help them achieve more substantial results.
Small and medium-sized companies play a big role in India's economic development, as 95 percent of the country's companies are SMEs.
During the fair, textiles, machinery and equipment, hardware and electrical appliances and other goods from 124 Indian firms will be displayed.
The China International SME Fair, first held in 2004, is currently the largest and most influential international gala of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region.
Last year, it witnessed the signing of about 30 billion yuan ($4.46 billion) in business and cooperative contracts between Chinese SMEs and their foreign counterparts.
Under the theme of Intelligence, Wisdom, Smart Manufacturing and Energy Conservation, this year's event has attracted more than 2,700 SMEs from over 30 countries and regions, including Bulgaria, the United Arab Emirates and Myanmar. Zhu Xiaodan, governor of Guangdong, said at a reception dinner on Oct 9 that SMEs play a unique and important role in stabilizing employment, improving people's livelihoods and increasing taxes.
To support the steady recovery of the global economy, "Guangdong is looking forward to deepening mutual cooperation with all parties from home and abroad, and making more efforts to facilitate local SMEs to experience healthy and innovative development," Zhu said.
The fair provides four professional exhibitions that are scheduled to be held in three time periods at two venues.
The first two exhibitions covering energy conservation, and textiles and apparel took place from Oct 10 to 13 at the Poly World Trade Center Expo.
The Smart Building Materials and Home Decorations Exhibition and the Intelligent Manufacturing and Equipment Exhibition will be held at the Guangzhou International Sourcing Center respectively from Oct 16 to 20 and from Oct 24 to 27.
There are also two highlights of the fair, one of which was a trade negotiation meeting for industrial cooperation and investment matchmaking held on Oct 10.
Organized by the Bank of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Guangdong provincial government, the meeting served as the first move after the bank and MIIT decided to initiate a five-year plan (2016-20) to boost the internationalization of SMEs in August. The plan aims to facilitate their integration into the global market by strengthening information sharing and policy coordination, building a cross-border matchmaking platform and innovating financial services.
More than 350 overseas companies from 15 countries and regions, as well as nearly 460 Chinese SMEs participated in this face to face meeting.
They covered industries such as modern agriculture, textile and apparel, advanced equipment and home appliances manufacturing.
In addition, the fair set up an exhibition hall for cross-border e-commerce for the first time, in order to panoramically present the Chinese industrial business chain.
The exhibition includes four main areas - an importer area, exporter area, integrated service provider area and international area.
Chen Haiquan, head of Guangdong Asia-Pacific E-commerce Research Institute, said cross-border e-commerce is considered an important engine of China's innovation-driven development.
It has also become one of few Chinese industries that can lead the world.
According to a related leaders summit held on Oct 11, the volume of China's cross-border e-commerce transactions reached 5.4 trillion yuan in 2015, up 28.6 percent year-on-year. As of June this year, the volume reached 2.6 trillion yuan, up 30 percent over the same period last year.