Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) has set an ambitious target of identifying market opportunities of close to $300 million (about K222 billion) at the 2019 International Horticultural Expo slated for Beijing, China.
China’s Yanqing district of Beijing will host the six-month event from April 29 to October 7 2019, which is said to cover over 500 hectares, making it the largest ever International Horticultural Exhibition approved by the International Association of Horticultural Producers (Aiph).
The 162 days expo, which will take place close to the foot of China’s historical Great Wall in Badaling, has attracted over 15 million visitors from 110 countries, including Malawi.
Mitc public relations manager Deliby Chimbalu said in an interview yesterday that the expo will provide an opportunity to Malawian businesses to network as well clinch possible export deals.
“We believe Malawi’s participation at the expo is a great opportunity to find potential markets for various Malawi products,” she said.
Chimbalu said Malawi is targeting to send 25 firms to learn and network with potential buyers and possibly discuss some business deals.
The firms, drawn from all key sectors of the economy, will go to China in phases with at least five each month, according to Chimbalu.
Wang Hong, deputy director of the Executive Committee of Beijing Horticultural Expo, is quoted on the expo’s website as having said that China is ready to host such a grand exhibition.
He said: “The displays in the major exhibition halls are all set up. That includes the items in the exhibition hall of China, the International Exhibition Hall and the hall of plants.”
Ranked the second largest economy in the world, China, with its real gross domestic product (GDP) growth projected at 6.3 percent this year, according to the World Bank, has the potential to be one of the most lucrative export markets for Malawian products.
So far, Malawian exports to China have been dominated by tobacco, whose value was estimated at $36.7 million (about K27 billion) in 2017, according to the International Trade Center (ITC).
Malawi’s total exports to China in 2017 were valued at $41.7 million (about K 30 billion), ITC figures show.