Sri Lanka Pavilion at the Third China International Import Expo (CIIE) held in Shanghai from 5-10 November 2020 attracted many business persons particularly in the food sector. Sri Lanka Embassy in China and Consulate General in Shanghai in coordination with Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) and the Foreign Ministry teamed up with seven Sri Lanka companies through their representatives in China to showcase tea, coconut products, spices including Ceylon cinnamon, herbal products, rubber products and confectioneries. Sri Lanka’s participation was organised on the guidance of H. E. the President with the view to increase exports of Sri Lanka to Chinese market and narrow down the trade balance between the two countries. Sri Lanka Ambassador designate to China Dr. Palitha Kohana coordinated the participation with the Sri Lanka agencies.
Twenty-Seven Sri Lanka companies took part in business match making meetings online (B2B) arranged by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Being in coordination with the Bank of China and the EDB. In addition, video footages of Sri Lanka products were also played in the pavilion. The video also included tourists’ attractions of Sri Lanka, investment opportunities in the Port City and Hambantota Industrial Zone. Sri Lanka traditional dances and music which were played on the screen, captured the attention of the visitors.
An MOU which will create an online Sri Lanka Pavilion in Womai.com online platform was signed between the EDB and the China Oil and Foodstuffs Company (COFCO). On behalf of Sri Lanka, Chairman and Chief Executive of the EDB Prabhash Subasinghe placed his signature in the MOU via video link. The COFCO is a State-owned enterprise and was founded in 2009. COFCO Womai is the first large B2C vertical food e-commerce platform in China, headquartered in Beijing. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the COFCO Group. In 2016, Fortune Magazine listed the company as 170 on its Unicorn List of private companies with valuations of at least US$1 Billion. Sri Lanka producers who want to market their products in this Pavilion are requested to contact the EDB.
A notable event of the Sri Lanka Pavilion was the handing over of a letter of recommendation signed by the EDB Chairman to the prestige international company Ltd. to commence Sri Lanka products promotion on JD.Com platform. JD.com is the most popular online platform in China and one of the 500 fortune companies. JD.com records of 420 million annual customers and USD 83 billion annual income. 90%of the orders in its online platform are made using mobile phones apps. It is China’s largest online retailer and also the biggest overall retailer as well as in revenue terms, it is the country’s biggest internet company.
The mission and value statement of the JD.com states that the JD.com sets the standard for online shopping through its commitment to quality and authenticity. Its vast product offering covers everything from fresh food and apparel to electronics and cosmetics. Sri Lanka producers who are interested in promoting quality products on JD.com Sri Lanka Pavilion are advised to contact the EDB for further information
Another major achievement was the signing of three strategic cooperation agreements between the Prestige International Ltd. and Silver Mills SL Ltd., Stuarts Tea SL Ltd. and Saraketha Organic Ltd. These agreements are expected to generate 5.5 million of RMB trade between the parties in 2021.
It is envisaged that the two online platforms will create a catalyst in the online marketing history of Sri Lanka products. Charge de Affaires of the Embassy KK Yoganaadan, while addressing the signing ceremony, stated that the Embassy will make its fullest effort to achieve H.E the President’s vision of increasing exports of Sri Lanka products, among others. He stated that Ambassador designate to Peoples’ Republic of China Dr. Palitha Kohana guided Embassy team to participation at the CIIE and Minister of Commercial of the Embassy Alexi Gunasekera was instrumental in initiating the MOU and the online platforms. He further mentioned that all the agreements and the MOU were signed by Sri Lanka counterparts through Zoom technology. He thanked the officials of the Foreign Ministry and the EDB for working tirelessly to make Sri Lanka participation at the CIIE a reality and for the contribution made for signing of the MOU despite the challenges posed by the COVID19 pandemic.
The Sri Lanka Consulate in Shanghai also played a vital role for the successful participation of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Consul General in Shanghai Manori Mallikaarachi and Third Secretary, Tea Promotion Sampath Perera also participated at the events.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
13 November 2020