As the whole world is shaken by the impact of the pandemic, the virus has forced everyone to move towards a different path, finding their place in the new “normal”. The business world has been hit hard. Meeting with professionals around the world, and making new connections directly, have become things of the past for many. But the inability to meet in person has enabled new formats of business events, with a blend of on-and offline characteristics, to emerge.

In November last year, Orange Swallow was in an entirely different situation: travelling for business, and meeting prospective partners and acquaintances abroad. During our previous business trip to China, we visited Shanghai and Jinan to participate in international business matchmaking events and exhibitions of the CIIE and SMEC. Sadly, this year we won’t be able to visit the venues in person. Although unable to do so, it does not mean we’ll have to miss out entirely!
As we’re approaching a series of business events in October-November, Orange Swallow looks back at last year’s experiences, while looking forward to the approaching ones!


In November 2019, the large-scale event CIIE (China International Import Exhibition) took place in Shanghai. Orange Swallow was honored to receive an invitation of the Bank of China to participate in their matchmaking event during the CIIE. Head of Orange Swallow,  Hedda Sasburg, and Junior Project Manager, Kimberley Goebel, represented the company as formal exhibition visitors.

A great number of companies was spread out over the matchmaking venue with their own tables, while also having the possibility to personally set up matchmaking appointments elsewhere on the matchmaking venue. The staff fervently supported us by finding suitable matchmaking partners and provided skillful interpreters to help translate when needed. Another thing that caught our eye was the fact that the enormous venue exhibited a multitude of products relating to a great variety of industries. Exhibition booths of the food industry, smart vehicles, design and other industries, could all be found there. This made for a unique and interesting experience.

On the 6th of November, during the signing ceremony, Orange Swallow signed MOU’s with some of the interesting companies they had the pleasure of meeting, thereby declaring their intention for cooperation.

During this edition of CIIE, Orange Swallow also visited the stands of different Dutch companies and got to know more about their work philosophies and experiences. These companies were Beaudelor Cosmetics, DMQ, PromZAsia, Senz, Jordex, Port of Rotterdam, D&D, La Gro advocaten. Later that day, all the Dutch participants gathered for a small get-together on the venue.

having an imaginary drink with some of the Dutch exhibitors
It was a pleasure having a lunch break with some of the Bank of China staff


After CIIE, we participated in the SMEC (SME Cooperation Conference) Conference, in Jinan.  SMEC consisted of three parts, of which the first was the official presentations of organizations and companies. The presentations were about Jinan’s High Tech zone and its potential for business, which gave us a good overview of the status of the area, and what kind of developments we can expect in the future.

Since all the participants stayed at the same venue,  it was convenient to create networking possibilities among the international participants. However, we particularly looked forward to the matchmaking event. The SMEC staff aided us by linking us to Chinese companies and organizations that suited our requirements the best. We were delighted to have the opportunity to meet them, to understand their needs and to discuss possible cooperation.

a group photo of the Dutch participants

We were assisted by excellent interpreters from local universities, guiding us through the matchmaking program. We also received an event booklet with the information of all the companies and organizations present for the matchmaking. In case we wanted to meet with specific companies, the staff aided us in setting up appointments.

together with one of our interpreters

During the last day of the SMEC, we visited companies and their workspaces, which we applied for beforehand. Hedda visited a company in the life sciences industry, while Kimberley visited a company in the smart city industry. It was a great way to take a closer look at some of the industries that are flourishing in Jinan and understand how they organize their production.

Hedda joining the life science track
work space viewing during the smart city track

During this trip, we gained a lot of insights and results. We experienced China’s broad-minded attitude towards the outside world, and met many friendly and welcoming Chinese business representatives. It was a fruitful trip during which we’ve met many interesting companies and organizations, with whom we are excited to work with.

Approaching Events

Because of the current pandemic, we sadly won’t be able to visit these events in person. However, as hybrids of online and offline events have become increasingly popular, we are looking forward to attending them virtually the coming months.
Below are the Chinese trade and matchmaking conferences we’ll be attending this year :

CIFTIS    1 September – 1 June 2021

As its name alludes, CIFTIS (Chinese International Fair for Trade in Services) is focused on connecting international companies and organizations by supporting trade in services, while providing the most comprehensive Chinese exhibition of the service industry.
Although the offline event already ended in September, the cloud version will still be available until the 1st of June 2021. This means that companies from all over the world can still have access to the fair and engage in business talks with participating companies. There is a special virtual page taking you to the exhibition venue, where you can browse the stands and their products.
Canton Fair     15 – 24 October 2020

The Canton Fair, or the Chinese Import and Export Fair, showcases all different types of products with its aim to mutually boost the internal and international markets. In the online demand and supply catalogue, you can take a look at the best products companies from different industries are showcasing. What is interesting is that as a “buyer”, you can also make requests for a specific type of products, through which the system will then link you with possible interesting products for you to view. On the homepage of a company, you can contact them directly by chat, or by scheduling an appointment.

CIIE matchmaking   5- 19 November 2020

The first edition of CIIE was organized in 2018. The four wings of its enormous 4-leafed clover-shaped venue houses a great variety of product exhibitions, interactive booths and seminars. The CIIE sadly does not have a cloud version for companies that cannot travel to the venue in person. However, we do have the possibility to participate in the matchmaking event organized by the Bank of China again. Of course, this time it will be the online edition. We’re looking forward to meeting new companies and get to know more about their products and requests. If you are curious about how we can represent your company during the matchmaking, don’t hesitate to contact us!

SMEC  19-20 November 2020

SMEC is organized yearly by the Jinan Innovation Zone in Shandong province. Its goal is to stimulate exchanges between Chinese and foreign companies and organizations, while also educating the participants of the business potential of the area, as well as the developments of the Innovation Zone. We will be attending the matchmaking event again, albeit the virtual edition. We’re curious to learn more about what companies have been up to during these times, as well as what new developments we can expect in the area.

Of course, these are just a few examples of the hybrid online and offline events that will be hosted in the coming months. We are eager to see how this new format of events will function, and to catch up with other companies during these unconventional circumstances.

For those who are curious about what these events can mean for you, please check out the links in the descriptions.
With our Chinese speaking team, Orange Swallow is ready to assist you with any questions or representation of your company during these events.

We wish everyone a fruitful participation, and a fun and new experience!