Pakistan exhibits at CIIE for fifth consecutive year
Jewelry, salt lamps, blankets, marble …… Five years ago, when these distinctive Pakistani-style products debuted at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE), they struck Chinese buyers as unfamiliarly new, rare and exotic but evoked some concerns about the quality during purchase. However, five years later at the fifth CIIE, Pakistani products have already garnered a large following of repeat customers and hardcore buyers.
“Of the consumers who buy our products, the percentage of re-purchase within a year is as high as 60%, and another 30% of customers make a third or more purchase within a year,” said Li Long proudly, a four-time Pakistani jewellery exhibitor at CIIE.
On the booth stands out a girly pink gemstone with the largest size. “This pink morganite originates from Pakistan. This is the first of its kind exhibited at CIIE and it is part of the Mughal series. 150-carat pink morganite is very rare even in Pakistan.” In this year’s CIIE, Li Long brings emeralds, morganites, tourmalines and chrysoprase, which originate from the northern mountains of Pakistan. He said expectantly, “This year, our booth is specially decorated for brand image display, and we hope to meet more quality buyers.”
Large exhibitions such as CIIE are the major means of product promotion as Pakistani exhibitors make their foray into the Chinese market. However, such exhibitions only last a few days each year, and there are no suitable sales channels for most of the year. Their greatest wish is to open a store of their own in China where they could sell all year round and establish a firm foothold in the country.
At the first CIIE in 2019, Li Long told CEN journalist that Pakistan was his IP. Now he set up a shop on East Nanjing Road in Shanghai. Focusing on high-end jewelry strategy, he has fulfilled his dream and to some extent reversed the stereotype that Pakistani products are cheaper.
“To create high-quality products, our offline stores are open 365 days a year, and sales are considerable.” Li Long said.
Coincidentally, Pakistani exhibitor Habib and his brothers, who became famous for selling salt lamps in the 4th CIIE, have opened 3 stores in different areas of Shanghai and sold products through online and offline platforms simultaneously, showing the “spillover effect” of CIIE.
Data from the General Administration of Customs China shows that in the first nine months of this year, China’s import of pink salt (other salt HS:25010019) from Pakistan reached $4.356 million, more than double that of the whole year of 2018, which was $1.948 million. It can be seen that Chinese consumers are increasingly fond of powdered salt.
Over the past five years, China has opened its door even wider to the outside world. Under the second phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement, 313 new Pakistani products will enjoy zero tariffs when exported to China. Pakistani Onions, buffalo embryos and tiger’s tail plants have been approved for export to China. Exports of Pakistani cherries to China are not far off.
Over the past five years, Pakistan’s exports to China have reached a record high of $3.6 billion in 2021. “The value of Pakistan’s exports to China will double in the next few years.” In an interview with China Economic Net, Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin Haque expressed great expectations for China-Pakistan trade.
Just a few days ago, Pakistani Prime Minister just concluded his visit to China. In the joint statement signed by China and Pakistan, the two sides stressed that China is ready to support Pakistan in expanding exports to China under the framework of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement and welcomes more high-quality Pakistani goods such as food and agricultural products to enter the Chinese market.