Alisa Jurgenson was busy serving Russian delicacies to a crowd of guests at the Russian pavilion in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province in northwest China. This was her first time participating in the trade fair, and she expressed enthusiasm for the popularity of Russian dairy products and handicrafts among local customers. As a sales specialist in a trading company, she saw this fair as an opportunity to expand their presence in the vast Chinese market.
The 29th China Lanzhou Investment and Trade Fair took place from July 6 to Monday and has been a significant event for Belt and Road economic and trade cooperation since its inception in 1993. According to Zhang Yinghua, the head of the provincial commerce department, a total of 1,172 contracts were signed during the five-day fair, indicating a 30.51 percent increase compared to the previous edition.
This year’s fair hosted Saudi Arabia and Thailand as the guest countries of honor. With over 40,000 attendees and participation from more than 1,600 enterprises from home and abroad, the fair provided a platform for fostering business connections and collaborations.
Thailand had more than 20 enterprises present at the fair. Tawat Mahitapong, who owns a food company, showcased a wide range of products in the Thailand pavilion, aiming to enhance brand recognition in China and establish new partnerships. Being familiar with the fair, Mahitapong expressed confidence in the growth potential of the northwestern Chinese market. In fact, customs data indicated that trade volume between Thailand and Gansu Province surged 17 times to 763 million yuan (approximately 106 million U.S. dollars) in the first five months of the year.
The trade fair witnessed an increased interest from both domestic and international companies in areas such as modern agriculture, desertification control, and new energy development. Li Bo, a senior regional sales manager at Big Dutchman China Head Office, was a newcomer to the fair and intended to conduct a market survey in Gansu after the event. With plans for a modern hen breeding industrial park in Gansu’s Pingliang City, Li saw the fair as a stepping stone to explore the vast northwestern Chinese market.
Gansu Province is focused on developing an export-oriented agriculture economy and expanding international cooperation in the processing and exporting of distinctive agricultural products, as well as agriculture exchange technologies. Ma Zhanying, a representative from the Gansu provincial agriculture and rural affairs department, emphasized these goals.
During the fair, a forum was held where Saleh Ali Khabti, the deputy minister of investment of Saudi Arabia, highlighted the broad prospects for cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Gansu in areas such as desertification control, water resource utilization, and new energy development. Khabti emphasized the fair’s role as a vital platform for sharing experiences and further boosting collaboration.