CIFIT switches to online, offline model in wake of COVID-19
After months of preparations, the online platform of the 2020 China International Fair for Investment and Trade is making its debut at the event, which is being held both online and offline from Sept 8 to 11 in Xiamen, Southeast China's Fujian province.
This year, the CIFIT is launching its online fair during the four-day event, as part of its efforts to promote global trade in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Cooperating with tech giant Alibaba and China World Exhibitions, the organizing committee said it began developing the online platform in late April.
The online platform is an innovative exploration under the new circumstances and aims to promote international investment while playing a role in attracting more businesses, the organizer said.
The online platform claims it is "making it easy to invest anywhere "and is designed to help business insiders interact, discover new investment projects and opportunities, and connect online.
It mobilizes investment resources from across the country and is available to the more than 40 countries and regions that take part in the fair.
The platform has online activities ranging from project docking, investment negotiations and forum discussion to project signing.
In addition, it also provides major participants in the offline fair with appointment services to help them communicate face-to-face with their partners.
As the platform's major developer, Alibaba has provided the CIFIT with technical support from establishment and maintenance to operation via technologies including cloud computing and artificial intelligence, according to Zheng Liangxi, general manager at the strategic and development department of Alibaba's South China region.
That ensures the platform can support a high volume of global attendees and broadcast conferences and activities of the event in real-time, Zheng said.
By leveraging Alibaba's digital technology and commercial ecological advantages, the platform also helps to inject vitality and impetus into the CIFIT's business pattern, demonstrating a new mode of investment negotiation, he added.
On April 13, the Ministry of Commerce issued a guideline, encouraging exhibition organizers to innovate their service models and cultivate new growth drivers for the exhibition industry.
That has resulted in helping it play a role in expanding China's opening-up, increasing employment and stimulating consumption.
The guideline calls for accelerating the transformation and upgrading of the industry through innovations including establishing online platforms with modern information technologies, as well as integrating the online and offline exhibitions via digital methods.
Dedicated to developing a convenient platform for investors via mobile tools, the organizer said the platform not only fully displays exhibitions and promotion projects for businesspeople, but also streamlines the collection of information for governments.
Affiliated with the CIFIT, the online platform will be further developed into an authoritative global portal for investment promotion, according to the organizing committee.
"We have spared no efforts in establishing the new platform for promoting investment," said Chen Haoying, deputy head of the Xiamen Bureau of Commerce and head of the Xiamen Bureau of Convention and Exhibition Affairs.
Through the innovative combination of technology, the platform also plays a crucial role in helping governments attract business and increasing the effectiveness of the CIFIT, Chen said.
However, the four-day event shares a greater significance.
"The emergence of the platform helps to extend the time and space, and the substance of investment negotiation, forming an integrated investment promotion online to offline," Chen said.
Pang Chaoran, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told Economic Information Daily that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global cross-border investment has seen a decline.
The CIFIT is operating as scheduled and conducting a series of innovations conducive to promoting communication among enterprises. It contributes to the sustained and sound development of cross-border direct investment, Pang said.
This year, the fair has an exhibition area of about 110,000 square meters, which is 20,000 sq m less than last year.
There are 16 specialized exhibitions including investment and industry promotion.
The event has attracted hundreds of merchant groups, with exhibitors from more than 42 countries and regions, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and Japan.
As the guest country of honor of the 2020 CIFIT, the Philippines will hold a series of activities and set up a 3D display area on the platform.
Focusing on facilitating bilateral investment and promoting global economic and trade cooperation, the CIFIT is an international investment promotion event approved by the State Council. The annual fair takes place in Xiamen in September.