Hainan Expo accelerates release of local consumption potential

Editor’s note: Zhang Deyong is a research fellow at the National Academy of Economic Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The article reflects the author’s opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN. It has been translated from Chinese and edited for brevity and clarity.

The fourth China International Consumer Products Expo, themed “Share open opportunities, Co-create a better life,” kicked off in the island province of Hainan on April 13 and will last till April 18. It is also known as the Hainan Expo.

As China’s first major international exhibition in 2024 and one of the important initiatives of the Ministry of Commerce’s “Year of Consumption Promotion,” this consumer products expo will take multiple measures centered around promoting consumption to attract global visitors, gather premium consumer goods worldwide, steer emerging consumer trends and invigorate new consumer vigor.

People gather around the healthy consumption sub-exhibition area of the fourth China International Consumer Products Expo in Qionghai, south China’s Hainan Province, April 12, 2024. /CFP

People gather around the healthy consumption sub-exhibition area of the fourth China International Consumer Products Expo in Qionghai, south China’s Hainan Province, April 12, 2024. /CFP

Drawing crowds

Unlike the previous expos, this expo will be held across the whole island of Hainan for the first time, adopting a “1+N” format of having one main venue and multiple sub-venues. In addition to the main venue at the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center in Haikou, the provincial capital, new sub-venues such as yacht exhibitions, duty-free shopping and international health venues will be set up in Haikou and Boao. 

It is expected to feature more than 4,000 brands from 71 countries and regions. The United Kingdom (UK), Mongolia and Malaysia have sent national exhibition groups for the first time.

With the largest exhibition area in history, the Hainan Expo attracts not only global merchants eyeing the vast Chinese market but also many consumers who enjoy high-quality, diverse and personalized consumption. 

This feast of consumption gathers various exhibitors and consumers, directly connecting the supply side with the demand side. Their exchanges will foster a vibrant consumption ambiance and ignite people’s enthusiasm for spending.

Volunteers filming a video at the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center, Hainan Province, China, April 11, 2024. /CFP

Volunteers filming a video at the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center, Hainan Province, China, April 11, 2024. /CFP

Creating opportunities

In order to maximize its role in driving consumption and combine with Hainan’s unique local advantages, the consumer products expo has meticulously arranged exhibition layouts, activities and more to amplify its influence, attractiveness and innovation, as well as to cultivate new consumption scenarios, business forms and hotspots. 

The main exhibition area focuses on the world’s top trendy consumer goods, involving digital services and service consumption, jewelry, high-end food and health care, fashionable lifestyle consumption, and Chinese-style trendy products; themed activities include the Global Consumption Innovation and Duty-Free and Tourism Retail Conference, smart home-themed (whole house intelligence) activities, Hainan free trade port cross-border financial themed activities, and “She Power” fashion consumption activities. 

Assisted by the Hainan free trade port’s visa-free policy for 59 countries, procurement teams from more than 10 key countries and regions including the UK, Singapore, South Korea and Japan and over 100 executives from top companies worldwide will partake in business activities such as negotiation and contract signings, seamlessly integrating Hainan’s locational advantages with strengthened exhibition and investment attraction efforts.

Yachts waiting to be launched for the Hainan Expo Yacht Show in Haikou, Hainan Province, China, April 11, 2024. /CFP

Yachts waiting to be launched for the Hainan Expo Yacht Show in Haikou, Hainan Province, China, April 11, 2024. /CFP

Warming the market

Hainan has positioned itself as an international tourism consumption hub, which is of strategic significance. With the guidance of the “Year of Consumption Promotion,” the consumer products expo will serve as a driver and catalyst, further enhancing consumption confidence, unlocking consumption potential and driving sustained and positive recovery of consumption. 

Countries such as Ireland, France, the UK and Spain will showcase a batch of premium niche consumer brands with distinctive characteristics yet to penetrate the Chinese market. 

A series of activities such as Ireland as the guest of honor and “British Brand Day” will be held. 

There are also themed and featured activities such as global consumer innovation and new product debuts. 

Meanwhile, Haikou will issue special duty-free consumption vouchers for the expo. 

These initiatives to stimulate consumption through the expo will form a “consumer expo +” effect, infusing warmth into the local consumption market, effectively accelerating the release of local consumption potential, meeting consumers’ multi-level consumption needs for cost-effective products and playing the optimal role of consumption as the “anchor” for economic development.