Opening up delivers more imported products into holiday shopping baskets

China Plus Published: 2019-02-07 21:04:06
Share this with Close
Messenger Messenger Pinterest LinkedIn

Note: The following is an edited translation of a commentary from the Chinese-language "Commentaries of International Affairs."

Stocking up for the Spring Festival was as always a top priority for Chinese people this year. What's different this year is that more and more imported products have made it into the homes of ordinary Chinese people, as they boost their consumption and take advantage of the opportunities brought about by China's further opening to the world.

A special China-Europe freight train carrying goods for the Chinese New Year sales arrives in Xi'an in northwest China from Kazakhstan on January 27, 2019. This is the 29th such train arriving in China since the beginning of the New Year. [Photo: VCG]

A special China-Europe freight train carrying goods for the Chinese New Year sales arrives in Xi'an in northwest China from Kazakhstan on January 27, 2019. This is the 29th such train arriving in China since the beginning of the New Year. [Photo: VCG]

This is the first Chinese New Year after the China International Import Expo, and imported products can be found everywhere. Alongside favorites such as Chilean cherries, French wine, American nuts, Argentine beef, and Belgian chocolate are newly imported electronic devices and appliances incorporating artificial intelligence. Improvements to import policies that support cross-border e-commerce and logistics have made it increasingly convenient for Chinese people to buy imported goods during their Spring Festival holiday. And China-Europe freight trains traveling through Belt and Road countries and regions have made it even easier for households across the country to add an international flair to their Chinese New Year celebrations.

The first China-Europe Freight Train New Year Festival in the city of Xi'an in China's northwest provided local shoppers with a selection of products from more than 40 countries and regions across Europe and Central Asia. In the city of Zhengzhou in Henan Province, shoppers could choose from more than 100,000 products coming from more than 70 countries including Russia, Germany, Italy, France, and Japan. And in Yiwu in Zhejiang Province, people spent nearly 20 million U.S. dollars on imported products for the Chinese New Year.

The growing presence of imported products in Chinese New Year shopping baskets is a testament to the ever-increasing openness of China's market. China is shifting from a development model that relied on speed and quantity to one that relies on quality and a growing openness to imported goods.

By taking steps like cutting tariffs, shrinking the list of industries closed to foreign investment, and raising the cost of infringements to intellectual property rights, China has made great strides towards fostering a national economy that better meets the needs of the Chinese people for a better life. As people across China hit the stores during the holidays, they've witnessed the benefits that have resulted from the increasing openness of the country's economy.

Related stories

Share this story on


LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.