CISMEF – Australia’s largest trade presence in China

Australia is the guest country of honour at China’s largest fair for SMEs in Guangzhou in September, and offers Australian and Chinese companies a unique opportunity to display, trade, exchange and cooperate writes Jeff Turner.

The Australian Pavilion at the 7th China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair (CISMEF) will be Australia’s largest-ever trade presence in China when it runs between September 15 and September 18 later this year in Guangzhou. At 10,000 square metres, the Australian Pavilion at CISMEF will cover twice the ground of our nation’s presence at the Shanghai World Expo.

And while it won’t attract the likes of the 70 million visitors expected for expo, last year CISMEF attracted 3,935 exhibitors and 254,600 visitors from China and overseas, as well as more than 500 journalists from 190 news agencies. Even more impressively, sales totalled A$20.6 billion.

Like many things in China, the scale of CISMEF is staggering. The fair will occupy 100,000 square metres in the Guangdong International Convention and Exhibition Centre (China Export Commodities Fair Pazhou Complex) located by the Pearl River in Guangzhou. Around 4,000 exhibitors from mainland China are expected to fill seven exhibition halls, with 1,000 exhibitors anticipated in the three international halls dedicated to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan; Europe and Asia; and Australia.

As co-hosts at CISMEF, the fair is an unrivalled platform for Australian and Chinese companies to do business in 2010. France, Italy, Japan, Korea and Spain have been previous guest countries at CISMEF. Reflecting the increasing importance of Australia and China’s bilateral relationship, the Guangdong Government invited Austrade to co-host this year’s fair. Australian companies have the opportunity to exhibit and sponsor the pavilion.

One option to consider, is combining a trip to CISMEF with a visit to other centres or shows in China, such as to nearby Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macao, or even to the other Australian Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo.

The Australian Pavilion at CISMEF will promote Australia’s image as a clean, green, safe and innovative business partner and will have areas dedicated to eight industry sectors: clean technology and green building, financial and business services, education and corporate training, creative industries, sport and leisure, consumer products, food and beverage, and wine. Austrade is organising targeted promotional seminars and the CISMEF Organising Office will provide each enterprise with one interpreter and one-on-one business matching with Chinese companies.

Participants will be invited to official functions such as the opening ceremony and networking functions. The Australian Pavilion will also feature an Australia-China History Exhibition as well as a cultural program to coincide with the Australia International Cultural Council Year of Australian Culture in China which starts in June. A really exciting development for businesses involved in green building and clean technologies is the first China-Australia Green Building and Eco-city Forum at CISMEF.

Around 200 senior Chinese officials in charge of urban planning and construction, environmental protection, water treatment, and energy saving are expected to take part, as well as provincial and city governmental officials, architecture companies, property developers and other industry leaders.

The forum is a fantastic platform to leverage the possibilities arising from two memoranda of understanding that Austrade signed last year with municipal governments: one on Sustainable Development and Cooperation with Changsha and the other on Expanded Cooperation on Sustainable Urban Planning and City Urbanisation with Wuhan.

As an event approved by the State Council of China, CISMEF is expected to attract senior political visitors from Beijing and provincial governments. CISMEF is jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the China Banking Regulatory Commission, together with the People’s Government of Guangdong Province.

The purpose of CISMEF, as Wen Jiabao, Premier of State Council of PRC, puts it, is to “learn from experience and make more explorations, upgrade CSMEF to CISMEF, better promote the development and cooperation between Chinese SMEs and those of other countries.” With that kind of high-level endorsement, can your business afford not to be at CISMEF in 2010?

For information about exhibiting in the Australian Pavilion at CISMEF, sponsorship opportunities and pre-event information sessions, as well as other assistance available in China, visit

*Jeff Turner is Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner in Guangzhou


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