SA exhibitors show off products at China's trade fair

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Xiamen - The annual China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) got underway on Sunday with South African exhibitors showing off their wares.

The four-day 17th annual CIFIT kicked off at a packed Xiamen International Exhibition Centre where 62 South African companies are participating in the fair.

CIFIT is currently China's only international investment promotion event aimed at facilitating bilateral investment.

Of the 62 companies represented at the fair is the black and women owned Sef’fikile Wines (we have arrived) which was exhibiting for the first time at CIFIT.

“The fact that it attracts people from all over is amazing,” owner Nondumiso Pikashe told SAnews from her stand at the South African pavilion.

Pikashe expressed her eagerness to export her wines all over the world. “I’m hungry to export,” she says.

Pikashe forms part of the 62 companies that were selected for CIFIT under the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) Export Marketing & Investment Assistance Scheme (EMIA). EMIA partially compensate exporters for costs incurred in respect of activities aimed at developing export markets for South African products and services and to recruit new foreign direct investment into South Africa.

To qualify for EMIA certain criteria need to be met. These include the export readiness of the applicant, the type of product for export and local sales performance and export production performance of the applicant as well as the level of labour absorption, location and technological requirements.

The message that Pikashe wants the Chinese market to know is that the wine, produced in Wellington, in the Western Cape is uniquely South African.

“The flavours speak to the world, what is inside the bottle is of a high quality,” she says.

Although the company does not yet export any wines it supplies wine to retailers Makro and Game. The company’s Ntahera sauvignon blanc is for the 2013 financial year served in South African Airways premium class wine selection.

“This has in a way helped business,” she said of her company that was established in 2006.

Pikashe a former teacher is excited about her future in the wine industry despite challenges of access to markets and costs.

“It is exciting, [the wine industry] is something that as a black person I was not exposed to,” she said, as she speaks of South Africa’s democracy which has resulted in women entering the business world.

“I got to a stage where as a teacher I wanted to do something else at a time when the country was changing and women were invited to enter the business world with government support.

“I would not trade what I do,” she says.

At CIFIT, South Africa has been granted the status of the Country of Honour as part of the celebrations of 15 years of China – South Africa Diplomatic relations. 

“The fact that they chose us [as a country of honour] shows that they recognise us as a country with potential. It shows that they have a degree of interest in strengthening relations with us,” Trade and Industry Minister, Dr Rob Davies told SAnews.

Diemersfontein Wines which is also exhibiting at the fair exports their wines to several countries. Exhibitor Denise Stubbs said the Chinese market understood the culture of wine. The company last year bagged an exporter at the Beijing/Shanghai fair.

“We have been communicating,” she says.

Diemersfontein Wines, which is famous for its pinotage, exports wines starting from 3 US dollars to 750 US dollars a bottle.

Davies said that the South African pavilion was showcasing value added products that can find their way in the Chinese market.

Sales of South African wine in China had gone up. “South African wines are beginning to find a place in China,” Davies said on Sunday.

The total value of Chinese investments into South Africa stood at 440 million US dollars which was mainly in mining.

South Africa’s investment regime was one that is attractive to business.

In March this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to South Africa, further deepening China’s cooperation between BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries and Africa.

China is South Africa's biggest trading partner and a significant investor in the South African economy, with exports from South Africa to China in 2012 totalling R89 billion. Imports from China to South Africa totalled R112 billion. Total trade stood at R201 billion. -

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