Zimbabwean artifact and leather exhibitors to participate in the upcoming sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) are eyeing new opportunities in the Chinese market.
More than 15 Zimbabwean companies and organizations specializing in artifact, design, leather, telecommunications, and minerals marketing will hit the expo, scheduled for Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai.
The CIIE and other exhibitions in China have been beneficial for the business, allowing for suppliers’ efficient use of materials through expanding partnerships, said Tsitsi Chirova, managing director of Samuneti Leathers, a company that manufactures leather products.
“From our previous participation, we managed to increase our sales, and also to get some advice from our customers to enhance our production,” Chirova said, taking as an example the company’s participation in the 2018 edition of the expo, which boosted sales dramatically.
“So for us to attend the Chinese expo, I believe it really gives us that opportunity to really advertise our company, and coming back home we believe we will have more customers,” she said.
Richard Mudinzva, a Harare-based sculptor, which will be debuting at the expo, is seeking to carve out a niche for himself in the Chinese market.
Mudinzva’s art collection, which is meticulously carved mostly with simple hand-held tools, reflects Zimbabwe’s diverse wildlife resources.
The artist will be presenting a collection of precious stone sculptures, made of leopard rock, dolomite, jade, and green verdite, among others, as well as hardwood carvings, which are in demand in the Chinese market.
“I will be exhibiting some stone sculptured animals, for example, some lions, some elephants, some buffalo, some rhinos and leopards,” Mudinzva said.
“There is a lot of clientele in the Chinese market who are interested in our works, and a lot of people in most cases who have been going there were selling out within the first day or the second day,” said Mudinzva.
Data from the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe showed that two-way trade grew by 39.4 percent year-on-year to 2.43 billion U.S. dollars in the first nine months of this year, surpassing the total trade volume for 2022.
Allan Majuru, CEO of the trade promotion agency ZimTrade, said Zimbabwe is exploring fresh business opportunities in China for Zimbabwe’s artifacts and leather products, a miniature of the country’s cultural heritage, and the CIIE helps make that possible.
“That’s why we saw it fit to go back this year and make sure that we explore more opportunities between Zimbabwe and China,” he said.