The Macao International Trade and Investment Fair (MIF) attracts exhibitors and professional business visitors from around the world. Some of the exhibitors attending this year’s fair say they expect to explore markets in Portuguesespeaking Countries by using Macao as a Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries to do business.

Guangdong Hengjian Investment Holdings Co. Ltd. is a state-owned investment holding company in the province of Guangdong, Macao’s closest neighbour. Its main functions are managing and optimising financing for the provincial government’s big infrastructure projects, strategic investment, capital management and asset management. Guangdong Hengjian Investment Holdings General Manager Tang Jun says the company intends to help enterprises develop and expand as an important investment platform of the provincial government.

Guangdong Hengjian Investment Holdings has established a branch in Hong Kong as a specialist investment vehicle. Mr Tang says the company has used the investment vehicle to help some large enterprises in Mainland China enter the Hong Kong market. Hong Kong is important for his company’s expansion by issuing bonds through local the investment platform, while the company is expected to achieve a high rating, he says.

Deeper co-operation

Guangdong Hengjian Investment Holdings attended the latest MIF with the purpose of increasing collaboration between Guangdong and Macao, Mr Tang says. Macao is committed to becoming a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure, as well as its role as a Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries. This makes the city a bridge to markets abroad for Mainland Chinese companies. Macao companies are welcome to invest in Mainland China as part of the joint effort to develop Mainland China, and can share the fruits of development, he says.

Guangdong’s economy is being restructured, making opportunities for investment in the service sector, in emerging industries, in new infrastructure and in equipment manufacturing. Mr Tang notes that Guangdong Hengjian Investment Holdings plays an important role in attracting such investment. Attending the latest MIF allowed the company to show potential investors what it is and what it does and to vie for capital, technology and qualified personnel from Macao. The company hopes more Macao individuals and companies will take part in its projects, and so contribute to the development of Guangdong and reap the benefits of collaboration.

Mr Tang says his company is also eyeing various markets in the service and equipment manufacturing sectors in Portuguese-speaking Countries. The company means to explore these markets by way of Macao, so helping increase co-operation in advanced technology between Mainland China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries and contributing to the development of both.

Popular franchise

Qingfeng Steamed Stuffed Bun Shop in Beijing has steadily grown in popularity since Chinese President Xi Jinping patronised it in 2013. The shop showed off its steamed stuffed buns at the latest MIF. Qingfeng Steamed Stuffed Bun Shop was established in 1948, the precursor of a whole chain of bun shops, which came into being in 2005. The shop now belongs to Beijing Huatian Food Group Co. Ltd. The manager of the shop, Cao Haiqing, says the consistency of the quality of its products makes them Beijing’s most popular brand of fast-food steamed stuffed buns.

The brand is now sold by more than 340 franchises in 11 provinces and 31 cities in Mainland China. To ensure the quality of the stuffed buns, all the ingredients are prepared in large plants, where the process is strictly controlled. Mr Cao says Qingfeng Steamed Stuffed Bun Shop has also passed close inspections of the quality of its products, having introduced a food safety management manual and various quality control procedures. Qingfeng Steamed Stuffed Bun Shop’s stand at the latest MIF was in the Beijing pavilion. Mr Cao adds that his shop’s aim at the fair was to introduce those attending, Chinese and foreigners alike, to the taste of its steamed stuffed buns. The shop has no plan to extend its chain of franchises to Macao or Hong Kong. Its priority is to ensure the chain in Mainland China is run efficiently. But Mr Cao says his shop may think about entering the markets in Macao and Hong Kong in due course.

E-commerce expands

MacaoFood Ltd. is a company developing a Macao-based online platform selling food products. MacaoFood Chief Executive Lei Iam Leong says his company’s online store, called iFood Macau, has about 1.5 million registered users, including 380,000 in Macao. Mr Lei says the average number of click-throughs is 8 million a month, making the online store the most visited website in Macao. To attract more customers, the company is endeavouring to improve its arrangements for taking orders, collecting payment and delivering the goods.

MacaoFood set up the “Global E-catering Exhibition Corridor” at the latest MIF and put on the “2016 Youth Start-up Competition – F&B” at the fair. Representatives of the company signed some agreements during the fair, including an agreement with Macau telecom company CTM to co-operate in enabling small and medium-sized restaurants registered with iFood Macau to offer their diners free Wi-Fi.

Mr Lei says MacaoFood and Macau Pass SA struck up a partnership three years ago. The partners intend to enable eateries in the iFood Macau network to use Macau Pass’s “M+Pay” system for taking payments, beginning in early 2017 on agreement with the Government-approved financial institutions.

The iFood Macau website takes between 7,000 and 12,000 table reservations or orders for food each day, and Mr Lei says it is in the vanguard of E-commerce in Macao. He says there is huge potential for applications developed for selling food and other goods online and for taking reservations online, in view of the growing familiarity of Macao people with E-commerce technology and the number of visitors the city has each year – nearly 30 million of them. The iFood Macau website will keep on selling across borders, now Macao people and visitors alike are well accustomed to it, making it a matter of course, Mr Lei says.

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Guangdong Hengjian Investment Holdings General Manager, Tang Jun

Guangdong Hengjian Investment Holdings General Manager, Tang Jun

Qingfeng Steamed Stuffed Bun Shop Manager, Cao Haiqing

Qingfeng Steamed Stuffed Bun Shop Manager, Cao Haiqing

MacaoFood Chief Executive, Lei Iam Leong

MacaoFood Chief Executive, Lei Iam Leong