Although exporters in many parts of the world are still struggling to secure a market share abroad, Zhong Baoshen, chairman of Xi’an-based LONGi Green Energy Technology Co, cannot stop thinking about the company’s recruitment and factory expansion efforts.
The group, a major Chinese manufacturer of monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic products, saw its exports of photovoltaic units, mainly to Europe, jump 62.5 percent year-on-year to 3.9 gigawatts in the first half of this year, thanks to the gradual recovery of these markets.
Zhong predicted that the value of the company’s exports will grow 50 percent year-on-year to 12 billion yuan ($1.74 billion) in 2020.
In addition, the company is currently recruiting 17,000 people for its overseas and home plants to meet the growing market demand, and its employee ranks are forecast to reach 45,000 next year.
“China’s timely resumption of its industrial production and the gradual return of overseas demand have helped put the country’s foreign trade recovery on a firm footing,” he said, adding that the trend is expected to continue in the second half of the year.
China’s foreign trade volume rose 6.5 percent year-on-year to 2.93 trillion yuan in July, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
The country’s foreign trade reached 17.16 trillion yuan, dropping 1.7 percent year-on-year in the first seven months of the year－a narrowing by 1.5 percentage points of the decline seen in the first half.
Many countries’ broken or shut down industrial and supply chains pushed the country’s rebounded export growth rate in July, while China’s supportive trade policies, surging shipment value with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and rushed exports of anti-epidemic materials also contributed to the situation, said Bai Ming, a senior researcher at the China Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.
“Whether this momentum can be maintained in the future depends on the global community’s efforts in containing the pandemic. If a second wave of contagion occurs in China’s major trading partners, it will delay their economic recovery and affect China’s external demand,” he said.
Chen Geng, chairman of Fuzhou-based Fashion Flying Group, a large manufacturer of outdoor garments, said his company will partner with more cross-border e-commerce service providers and domestic e-commerce platforms, such as Tmall, to further diversify its sales channels in the global and domestic markets. The value of its foreign orders dropped 20 percent year-on-year to $80 million in the first half of the year, due to several clients canceling their shipments in the second quarter.
Supported by more than 17,000 employees at its manufacturing bases in China, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Bangladesh, the company shifted a part of its business from producing outdoor jackets and sleeping bags to protective clothing to offset losses from insufficient foreign orders in the first half of 2020.
“As many countries have accumulated enough medical supplies, we only produce a small proportion of protective clothing now and will continue to make breakthroughs in product design and the innovation of new fabrics to secure our long-term global market share,” said Chen, adding that the group’s research and development department has been expanded to 200 employees this year.
Despite the contagion’s destructive impact on the global economy, the pandemic has created opportunities for railway transport, regional economic restructuring and innovative activities in certain parts of the world, said Li Muyuan, secretary-general of the Beijing-based China Container Industry Association.
The number of journeys made by China-Europe freight trains reached 6,354 in the first seven months of the year, achieving double-digit year-on-year growth for five consecutive months, according to China State Railway Group Co, the nation’s railway operator.