Monday, October 3

“ICBC Business Matchmaker is the bridge of the commercial relationship between Argentina and China”

Journalist: What is the ICBC Business Matchmaker platform about?

Emma Fontanet: It is a service of ICBC, which aims to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between China and Argentina. To be the bridge in this bilateral relationship, making it easier for companies from both countries to find global partners. It is a tool that allows you to carry out virtual business rounds, in which both Argentine exporters and importers can establish contacts with potential clients or suppliers as the case may be.

Q: What opportunities do you offer Argentine companies?

E.F.: Argentine companies can access potential interested in their products if they want to export, or with potential suppliers if they want to import, it allows them to have information and access to different sectors and develop a commercial link from a virtual contact , start an exchange from which new businesses can emerge. All this doing it from their offices, which they would otherwise have to do while traveling.

Q: How can companies participate in this project?

E.F.: They can participate by registering on the platform. It is very simple, entering the web page, where the necessary information is requested by completing a form that is later validated internally by the bank. From there they can upload the company profile, their product data and what they are looking for.

Q: What results have you obtained so far?

E.F.: The platform was launched in December of last year where we organize different activities, both export and import. In the case of the former, the platform was launched at the beginning of December 2020 in conjunction with the Ministry of Productive Development, the Argentine Investment Agency and the Argentine Foreign Ministry, within the framework of a business round for companies. exporters of the meat and wine industry. Then this year, within the framework of the Expo Hainan fair (this was the first edition, but it will be held every year), we organized a business round for suppliers of gourmet food products with added value. It was very interesting because the Chinese counterparts were buyers of free shops and supermarket chains of imported products, companies difficult to access individually. We also organize rounds with the dairy sector, interested in exporting to China, this was achieved jointly with the Federal Investment Council, the Ministry of Productive Development, the Argentine Investment Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Relations. In addition, we did a round with the Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Tools and Machinery of China of the auto parts sector, for Argentine companies that were looking for suppliers.


Q: How can SMEs get around cultural difficulties to engage with Chinese partners?

E.F.: From ICBC and Fundación ICBC we focus on training, providing information, advising them on the best way to approach the market. This type of accompaniment is highly valued by companies because beyond the fact that export projects with China are medium and long-term, it is essential that companies become aware of what this means, which is why the quality of the information and data they may have, as well as the support. From the institutional point of view, accompaniment is also essential and in that sense ICBC has great recognition in China and going hand in hand with the bank and the ICBC Foundation shortens the distances. The same with government agencies such as consulates, embassies and ministries. The presentation of the companies is accompanied by a formal framework and that strengthens the bond that is established, the same with the access to the information that we can give to the companies because it is the natural bridge with China, it is very useful both for exporting and To import. For the import, it is simpler since the Chinese market is very prepared for the sale. The information is in several languages, many times they have people who speak Spanish or English. The variety of products is incredible, for all tastes and budgets since in China not only cheap products are made, there are all qualities. We also promote associativity for SMEs through a program that we have had for 22 years with the Argentine Investment and International Trade Agency, in which we encourage the formation of associative groups, which aim to promote joint exports. An interesting tool for SMEs in a complex market such as China, and that in some cases requires a very important investment to publicize the products. The associative groups are from various sectors and some of them managed to successfully insert themselves in China.

Q: What is ICBC’s differential in Foreign Trade?

E.F.: ICBC is the natural bridge for trade with China, a Chinese capital bank, the largest in the world and one of the most important in China. It has a wide network of branches throughout the Chinese territory. It also gives us an advantage when it comes to getting information and potential contacts to start different types of business. The bank has always been characterized as a foreign trade differential, and furthermore, throughout the bank’s history, its Foundation’s main objective is to promote foreign trade, not only with China, but also to promote Argentine foreign trade. So we provide advice, training, financial tools and specific promotional actions. We try to address the entire process and the business chain.

Q: What other tools do you offer companies to reach the Chinese market?

EF: In the foreign trade campaign we not only have the ICBC Business Matchmaker platform, but we also have ICBC Mall China, a marketplacefor the products to be marketed directly to Chinese consumers. We also have the expertise of the ICBC Foundation, which promotes associative programs, training and courses oriented to foreign trade in general and the ICBC Foreign Trade award, which already has two very successful editions where the winning companies participate free of charge. a trade mission to China. There are also commercial immersion trips to China, which are slowed down by the pandemic, but which we will probably resume shortly. We carry companies that are interested in exporting or importing after a process of approaching the market, previously providing them with training, information and all specific advice on the Chinese market, adapting to different sectors and realities.