By Song Mengxing in Chengdu (China Daily)
Updated: 2016-11-10 08:28
The 11th EU-China Business and Technology Cooperation Fair aimed to promote communication and trade cooperation between China and European countries in fields such as science and technology, the event’s organizers said.
The first phase of the fair, which took place from Nov 2-6 in Chengdu, focused on strategic emerging industries including new energy and materials, information and communication technology, modern agriculture and biological medicine.
More than 200 officials from 14 European countries including Germany, France, Italy, the UK and Russia, foreign envoys in China, international organizations and European companies attended the first phase.
Activities organized during the fair in Chengdu included the Theme Forum: the EU-China Cooperation on Green Economy Development, the EU-China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Cooperation Dialogue, promotional conferences for European tourism resources as well as a European technology and product exhibition.
Face-to-face and one-on-one business negotiations remained a distinctive and important event during the first phase of the fair, according to its organizers.
Nearly 500 people, including important representatives from the China Chamber of International Commerce, governments of Southwest China’s Sichuan province and Chengdu, the province’s capital, and high-ranking officials from Hungary, Finland and Italy attended the fair’s opening ceremony on Nov 3.
Several EU member states showcased and promoted their products, technologies and projects in a convention and exhibition center in southern Chengdu.
European exhibitors told China Daily they believe Chengdu offers many opportunities for them to develop business.
Allaga Tamas, director at the Smart Region Innovation Cluster in Hungary, said: “I see a lot of good opportunities in Chengdu, which is very open to foreign innovation and technology.”
The cluster represented its 25 members including small and medium-sized enterprises at fair. Allaga said he met with many companies at the event interested in the cluster’s business and that he was hopeful about developing business in Chengdu.
Italian wine businessman Vito Lo Castro said Chengdu, where he founded a wine import company in 2013, is developing faster than many other regions in China and offers more space in which to develop business.
He said he had made connections with more than 200 people by exchanging business cards and making WeChat friends at the fair. A few companies showed interest in cooperation with his company and were invited to his wine club in Chengdu to discuss potential partnerships, Lo Castro added.
At the fair’s theme forum on green economy development between China and EU, more than 500 participants, including important governmental officials and industrial leading figures, discussed how to deepen communication and cooperation between China and Europe for more environmentally-friendly economic development.
Mariella Lo Bello, vice-president of the Italian Sicilian region, said at the forum that the region would cooperate with China, especially Sichuan, in its internationalization and development plans. She hopes the Sicilian region can provide companies from China, especially Sichuan, with initial capital for their production in Sicilian industrial area.
Lo Bello headed company delegations, which were mainly from the food and beverage and tourism sectors, and officials from the Sicilian region attended the fair. It was the third time the region participated in the fair in Chengdu, according to the event’s organizers.
China and Italy have established strong ties as two important countries on the east and west sides of the Silk Road, Lo Bello said, adding that she hopes the two countries will have more cooperative projects in fields such as nanotechnology and biological medicine to promote innovation-driven development.
Russian officials and company executives also participated in the fair. More than 30 Russian corporate representatives from sectors such as industrial manufacturing, science and technology, handicrafts and textiles negotiated with companies in Sichuan for cooperation.
Chengdu has insisted on reform, innovation and opening-up in recent years and achieved some success, local officials said, adding that through the EU-China Business and Technology Cooperation Fair, contact and cooperation between Chengdu and Europe has increased.
A platform for diplomacy
Chengdu established a sister city relationship with 13 EU cities including French Montpellier and German Bonn in recent years, and opened five direct routes connecting EU cities such as Paris and Frankfurt.
Dai Yiling, president at the EU Project Innovation Center (Chengdu), said: “The EU-China Business and Technology Cooperation Fair has become an important platform for diplomacy, investment, scientific and technological exchanges and trade cooperation for EU member states and regions in western China.”
According to Dai, the 11 sessions of the fair attracted more than 2,800 European companies and some 5,200 Chinese companies, and provided more than 23,800 enterprise matchmaking negotiations.
The Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone was among the organizers of the first phase of this year’s fair.
The zone announced a deal with Sophia Antipolis, its sister park in France, to initiate a mentor program to boost business and investment opportunities.
Mentors, including the CEO of Sophia Antpolis, will explore bilateral innovation cooperation mechanisms in fields such as science, technology and e-commerce.
The project aims to help companies’ excellent people to gain new skills relating to innovation and entrepreneurship, such as confidence, independence and teamwork.
The zone plans to send young corporate leaders to the French scientific and technological park to get training and take part in scientific and technological companies’ management work. The French park will do the same thing.
The second phase of the fair was convened in Qingdao on Nov 6-8.
(China Daily 11/10/2016 page7)