The preparations for the 16th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO), set to take place in Nanning from September 21 to 24, are now underway.

The annual exhibition is an important gateway for ASEAN commodities to enter China, and aims to build a platform for Chinese enterprises to invest in ASEAN.

The expo will highlight five themes: commodity trade, investment cooperation, advanced technology, trade in services, and cities of charm.

There will be 7,000 exhibition booths in total and among them 5,300 are reserved for exhibitors from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

In 2017, when Brunei was named “country of honour” at CAEXPO, 119 Bruneian companies participated in the exhibition, with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah saying the event helped promote MSMEs and regional economic cooperation.

For 2019, Indonesia has been named country of honour.

According to organisers, applications have exceeded the original plan with 80 percent of exhibitors returning.

Thanks to CAEXPO’s IT system renovation and upgrade, the entire exhibition registration process — from application, review, booth allocation to confirmation — has been shifted online. Through data sharing and its ticketing system, CAEXPO has managed to improve registration efficiency and streamline operation procedures, creating a convenient “one-stop” process for exhibitors.

The five key China-ASEAN cooperation sectors — namely building materials, engineering machinery, electric power, agriculture and light industry — occupy a total area of over 8000 square meters at the expo, accounting for 60 percent of the total planned area for the China commodity exhibition area.

The Chinese commodities of the 16th CAEXPO are characterised by innovation, focusing on the demonstration of new products and technologies such as personal 5G terminals, innovative 5G application, cloud-based intelligent robots, financial big data application, and iris recognition technology.

The introduction of new forms of business, such as cross-border e-commerce, promise to transform the foreign trade sector.

According to the CAEXPO Secretariat, a number of e-commerce companies and retailers — such as BDWORK, SF Best, Mayiyanghuo and Nanning Supply & Marketing E-Commerce, Three Squirrels Group, Nanfang Black Sesame Group Co. Ltd, Inspur Group — have been invited to participate in the CAEXPO.

So far the following state-owned enterprises have also confirmed their attendance at CAEXO: China Railway Group Limited, Aluminum Corporation of China Limited, China Road and Bridge Corporation, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation, China Southern Power Grid, China General Nuclear Power Corporation, China Datang Corporation, Bank of China and China Mobile Communications Corporation, Inspur Group, Glarun Technology Co. Ltd., SZ DJI Technology Co. Ltd., Darsun Laser Technology Co. Ltd., and Guangxi Guohong Zhihong Environmental Technology Development Co. Ltd.