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Global Trade Venture: China

September 7, 2023
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Global Trade Venture: China

March 9-16, 2024


The Chinese economy is the world’s second-largest, and the country has the world’s fastest-growing middle class—currently 400 million people out of a total population of 1.4 billion. China imported about $154 billion worth of products from the U.S., and more than $1.8 billion from Wisconsin, in 2022.

Chinese customers traditionally have a strong affinity for U.S.-made products since they consider those products to be of high quality. Even with the tariff concerns, demand for U.S-made goods in China remains strong. After three years of stringent COVID control measures, China has finally relaxed travel restrictions; with China more connected to the world again for both travel and trade, these trends are expected to boost consumer demand in 2024.

An upcoming Global Trade Venture to China, organized by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), will help connect you to potential buyers, distributors, and other partners in the Chinese market. With logistics, interpretation, and lodging arranged for you, you can focus your energies on meeting and vetting potential partners.


China is Wisconsin’s third-largest export destination, with more than $1.8 billion in Wisconsin goods and services purchased by Chinese buyers in 2022. The top categories for Wisconsin products exported to China in 2022 were medical and scientific instruments (23%), industrial machinery (18%), electrical machinery (7%), and aircraft/spacecraft and parts (7%).

Given the size and importance of the market, Wisconsin companies across many different sectors are encouraged to consider participating in this trade venture. However, companies considering exporting to China should first develop a general understanding of exporting and should have some prior experience before entering the Chinese market. In addition, companies should consider cultural factors and consumer preferences unique to China and should adapt their offerings accordingly. With the stiff competition in this market, Wisconsin exporters need a strong value proposition and distinct market differentiators. They should also register their intellectual property (or at least have it evaluated for registration) before participating.

Companies in the following sectors are especially encouraged to consider taking part in the trade venture:

  • Advanced manufacturing: China is focused on upgrading its manufacturing sector, and Wisconsin companies can play a part in implementing the latest developments. Products in these subcategories are particularly highly desired: robotics, automation, additive manufacturing, advanced materials, precision machine tools, sensors, and instruments.
  • Food and beverage: China has the world’s largest consumer market, making it an excellent export target for processed foods as well as food processing and packaging. Wisconsin cheese, cranberries, and ginseng are familiar and well-liked among Chinese consumers.
  • Biohealth: As living standards improve, China’s population is paying more attention to health care. Subsectors of opportunity include medical device manufacturing, bioscience, digital health, diagnostics, and biopharmaceuticals.


WEDC has partnered with the U.S. Commercial Service to organize the trade venture, with a focus on providing international opportunities to Wisconsin companies by identifying potential distributors, agents, and/or customers. Taking place March 9-16, 2024, the program will include stops in Shanghai and Beijing. WEDC will make all the logistical arrangements to get Wisconsin participants from one meeting to the next and will also arrange for interpreters to provide translation during the meetings. Participating companies will also receive training on Chinese business culture and etiquette.

Shanghai is the most populous urban area in China (with more than 25 million inhabitants) and the third most populous urban area in the world (after Tokyo and Delhi). Located in eastern China, it is the country’s commercial, financial, trade, and transportation center and is home to the world’s busiest container port. Six pillar industries—retail, finance, information technology, real estate, machine manufacturing, and automotive manufacturing—account for about half the city’s GDP. Shanghai is China’s largest city in terms of GDP and is also considered to be the wealthiest city in China.

Beijing is the political, cultural, and educational center of the country, as well as the headquarters location for most of China’s largest state-owned companies. Among Chinese cities, it houses the greatest number of Fortune 500 global company headquarters. In addition to being the world’s eighth-most-populous urban area (with more than 19 million inhabitants), Beijing is China’s second-largest city in terms of GDP and is considered the second-wealthiest city in China.

The registration deadline for this Global Trade Venture is Dec. 15, 2023.

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