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CIIE attracts coffee companies looking to break into Chinese market Release date: 2020-12-24    Source:China International Import Expo Bureau, Xinhua, CGTN

The China International Import Expo (CIIE) provided the perfect opportunity for many global coffee companies to break into or expand their presence in the rapidly growing Chinese coffee market.

Since the first CIIE opened in 2018, exhibitors from nearly 30 countries and regions, including Ethiopia, Jamaica and Malaysia, have begun displaying coffee products in the expo's food and agricultural products exhibition area.

At the third CIIE, which was held in Shanghai from Nov 5 to 10, specialty coffee products such as Timor Leste's civet coffee, one of the most expensive coffee products in the world, and Jamaica's blue mountain coffee, which has appeared at CIIE for three consecutive years and gained popularity among Chinese customers, proved to be popular among visitors.

Demand for blue mountain coffee has outstripped supply in China since Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness recommended it at the second CIIE, said Xu Wenyong, general manager of Shanghai Wallenford Blue, an international trading company.

Sam Maldona, president of the Mexico Asia-Pacific Business Federation, said that a lot of dealers and supermarkets showed interest in Mexican coffee products at the third CIIE. The products are expected to hit the Chinese market soon.

"Brazil enjoys a strong reputation in the global coffee market, and China is undoubtedly more and more on our radar," said Nelson Carvalhaes, president of the Brazilian Coffee Exporters Council (Cecafe). Brazilian coffee companies of all sizes have been showcasing their products at the annual CIIE, Xinhua reported.

"You have to at least look at the past two decades of China's growth -- the growth of a middle class of consumers -- and if you look at the development of China, the potential that Brazilian coffee has there becomes clear," Carvalhaes said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

China's coffee market is massive, and it will only continue to grow as coffee becomes more and more popular among young people in the country. The International Coffee Organization said that China's coffee consumption is expected to grow to about 300 billion yuan ($45.87 billion) by 2020, CGTN reported.

The early recovery of China's coffee market offers a silver lining for pandemic-stricken global coffee chains. Canadian coffee brand Tim Hortons recently opened its 100th Chinese store two years after arriving in the country, and McDonald's McCafe has announced plans to invest 2.5 billion yuan in China over the next three years, according to a report by CGTN.

The fourth CIIE will be held in Shanghai from Nov 5 to 10 next year, and it will once again feature a food and agricultural products exhibition area. Hundreds of companies have already signed up, according to the China International Import Expo Bureau.