Thinking big. Acting fast. Looking long term – Hainan Expo defies the sceptics
Martin Moodie reports on the inaugural China International Consumer Products Expo (7-10 May) held at the magnificent Hainan International Convention & Exhibition Center in Haikou. The event, which highlighted the island’s offshore duty free channel as well as other business sectors, attracted over 600 exhibitors and 1,365 brands from 69 countries to its international zone. A further 20,000sq was dedicated to 800 Chinese companies and 1,263 local brands. All pictures courtesy of Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development (IEDB)
The inaugural China International Consumer Products Expo (Hainan Expo) finished amid extraordinary scenes on 10 May, as some 50,000 consumers joined the action on a much-anticipated ‘open day’. The huge crowds, drawn not only by the opportunity to view this vast showcase of Chinese and international products but by a special incremental duty free allowance put in place for the event were a reminder of how far China has progressed since the dark days of early 2021 as the COVID-19 crisis raged inside the country. Yet when the Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development (Hainan IEDB) announced the event last year while the pandemic was escalating around the world, many sceptics doubted any such face-to-face exhibition could possibly succeed.
A breath-taking panorama of the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center at night
After all, duty free exhibitions planned for Orlando, Singapore and Cannes in 2020 had all been cancelled. And again in 2021 the Orlando and Singapore events have been called off while there is much uncertainty over the Cannes event this October. So how did the Hainan Expo succeed where all others have not? Part of the answer lies with China’s and Hainan’s impeccable handling of the pandemic. Hainan has been COVID-free since April 2020 and the authorities have been ultra-careful to ensure it remains that way. The Mainland authorities, too, have been quick to crack down on any outbreaks, and restrict travel from any hotspots. Another key reason was Hainan’s offshore duty free policy – considerably enhanced in July 2020 – which has turned the island into the ‘lighthouse’ of a global duty free industry that has been otherwise plunged into darkness. That policy and, even more critically, Hainan’s ambitious Free Trade Port programme, meant the eyes of the business world were on the island, making it easier to attract exhibitors and visitors.
Finally, do not underrate the incredible efforts of the Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development (Hainan IEDB). A small team of just 37 people moved mountains to make this event work. Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development (Hainan IEDB) Global Media Officer & Supervisor Ruslan Tulenov told The Moodie Davitt Report. “We believed. We were ambitious and we not only showed to the world, but we also showed to ourselves that there is nothing impossible. Everything can be done if you think big and act fast and long term.” Hainan IEDB and the Hainan authorities did exactly that. They thought big. They acted fast. As for the long term, have no doubt, the China International Consumer Products Expo will forever be remembered as a landmark in the island’s history. The Moodie Davitt Report provided daily coverage of the event, working closely with our strategic partner in Hainan, Hainan Hinews Media Co, whose dedicated, dynamic and highly professional team were on site throughout the Expo providing reports, pictures and videos. Here we present some pictorial highlights.
(Above) A full, albeit socially distanced house attended the opening conference; (Below) Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development (IEDB) Director General Han Shengjian welcomes 1,000 specially invited VIP guests to the event
The hugely popular livestreaming celebrity Viya (薇娅) proved a star turn at the Expo
The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 295 | 18 May 2021
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