Pakistani entrepreneur seeks to ride China's trade wave at 3rd CICPE

By Staff Reporter | China Economic Net Apr 15, 2023

HAIKOU, Apr. 15 (China Economic Net) - At the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center, Aqeel Ahmed Chaudhry, a jeweler from Pakistan, was busy showing his dazzling products to visitors attending the third China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE).

Scheduled from April 10 to April 15, the 3rd CICPE, or Hainan Expo, is being held in Haikou, Hainan, China, drawing over 3,300 brands from 65 countries and regions to share the dividends of the world's second-largest consumer market. Foreign business leaders and exhibitors, including those who come from Pakistan, have voiced hope for expanding their presence in the Chinese market.

It was Chaudhry's first time attending the consumer products expo. Living in China for more than a decade, he launched WINZA Jewelry in Shanghai's glitzy business district. How can people seek a foothold in China’s increasingly competitive jewelry market? Chaudhry knows it back to front.

China's consumer market has seen notable progress in scale and quality over the past decade. Retail sales of consumer goods in China exceeded ¥40 trillion (about $5.81 trillion) in 2019 and hit ¥44 trillion in 2022, more than double the 2012 figure, said Xu Xingfeng, director of the Ministry of Commerce (MOC)'s consumption promotion department, at a global consumption innovation, duty free and travel retail conference being held as part of the ongoing expo.

To ride this wave, Chaudhry signed agreements with Zhuhai Duty Free Enterprises Group Co., Ltd. (Zhuhai Duty Free) and Hainan Tourism Investment Duty Free Co., Ltd. (HTDF), to brighten the brand with new opportunity of offshore duty-free shopping in Hainan.

"We plan to open a retail store in Zhuhai Duty Free  complex,  which is expected to be completed by 2025," Chaudhry told China Economic Net, adding that a 3-year agreement was also signed with HTDF at the 3rd CICPE to boost the brand's offshore duty-free sales.

Back in April 2018, China announced a decision to support Hainan in developing the whole island into a pilot free trade zone and gradually exploring and steadily promoting the establishment of a free trade port with Chinese characteristics.

According to a master plan on the Hainan free trade port (Hainan FTP) released in 2020 by the Chinese government, the Hainan FTP is scheduled to initiate independent customs operations throughout the whole island by the end of 2025.

"I have already registered a company in Sanya to prepare for the coming 2025," the Pakistani entrepreneur mentioned, "I am paying close attention to the latest policies."

Over the past five years, Hainan has made solid strides in building itself a high-level free trade port. As one of the country's major opening-up measures in the new era, China aims to build its largest tropical island into a globally influential and high-level FTP by the middle of the century.

Chaudhry was no exception among those foreign entrepreneurs who will never miss the chance to tap a market full of potential. He told the reporter that in the future, he plans to process imported raw stones in Hainan and train local technicians. "In this way, the price of products will be more advantageous whether they are sold duty-free on the island or duty-paid outside Hainan," he noted.

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