China imported consumer goods worth 1.93 trillion yuan ($280 billion) in 2022, accounting for 11 percent of total importing value and more than double the level seen in 2012, the Ministry of Commerce said on Monday.

Last year, import value through cross-border e-commerce reached 560 billion yuan, up 4.9 percent year-on-year, the ministry said during a news conference in Beijing.

“China’s imports of consumer goods are expected to maintain steady growth, fueled by the continuous improvement of people’s living standards, the steady progress of urbanization, and the gradual expansion of middle-income groups,” said Sheng Qiuping, vice-minister of commerce.

The upcoming Third China International Consumer Products Expo, to be held from April 10 to 15 in Haikou, Hainan province, will serve as China’s first significant international expo this year after the country’s prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic has entered a more stable period, the ministry said.

This year, the expo will feature larger domestic and international exhibition sections and the area will be 20 percent bigger than that of the second session. The expo is expected to attract over 3,100 brands from more than 60 countries and regions.
Political leaders from seven countries and heads of international organizations, as well as nearly 30 global executives of major multinational corporations, have confirmed their attendance. Italy will serve as a guest of honor this year, and 147 Italian brands will participate in the expo. More than 100 forums, promotional events, and other supporting activities will be held.

Ten member countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will participate in the expo this year, after the agreement took effect in January 2022 and helped boost regional economic growth. Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Malaysia will showcase their products in the form of national exhibition groups, Sheng said.

Driven by the business opportunities from the expo, last year the import and export value of goods between Hainan and RCEP member countries reached 71.18 billion yuan, according to the local government.

“Last year, 196 foreign-funded enterprises were established in Hainan, mainly companies from Singapore, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. In addition, a group of major foreign companies has increased their investments in the province,” said Ni Qiang, vice governor of Hainan.

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