His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday visited over 100 Brunei businesses set to take part in the 14th China-ASEAN (CAEXPO) in Nanning, China from tomorrow until Friday.
His Majesty, accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen, toured Brunei’s Commodity Pavilion located at Hall 5 of the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Centre (NICEC), moving booth to booth to meet company representatives up close – inquiring about their welfare, performance and their latest products, services and project development.
A total of 119 companies from Brunei are participating – over half for the first time – in what is collectively the Sultanate’s largest company delegation since CAEXPO was launched in 2003. This year also marks Brunei’s second turn to take centre stage as the expo’s of Country of Honour.
Food and beverage companies make up 48 out of the 119 companies, followed by 28 from various service industries, 15 in fashion and handicrafts, 11 in healthcare and cosmetics, eight in manufacturing, seven in education and two producing household products.
91 of the participating companies fall into the category of micro, small and medium enterprises, while the others are government-linked companies, educational institutions and Chinese companies with a business presence in Brunei.
“It’s an honour for us to be able to meet His Majesty and have this opportunity from his government to showcase our herbal tea to such a large audience,” said Hj Amran Hj Johari of Kiudang, Tutong – one of the 11 village consultative councils (MPK) participating in CAEXPO.
“It is our first time in China, and we are keen to see if there is potential for our product to sell beyond Brunei.”
Hj Amran, who served 20 years in the military and now works as a car salesman, has been developing his tea, by purchasing the leaves of sambah bagangan known scientifically as Aidia racemosa (Cav.) Tirveng from his village’s community.
Recently, 3MPK Herbal Tea has managed to crack Brunei supermarkets, most notably Supa Save (Mata-Mata) and Hua Ho (Tanjong Bunut), selling for $4.50 for ten sachets in either natural, lemongrass and ginger flavours.
Meanwhile, the sole MPK from Temburong, Kg Rataie, is being represented by 23-year-old Nur Darina Sahari, who is hoping to do her village and district proud by showcasing their banana crisps and pineapple tarts.
“I think it is amazing that our product has been able to make it this far, and I would like to thank His Majesty and the government for making it possible for us to come,” said Nur Darina, whose mother was scheduled to accompany her, but had to undergo an emergency operation on a tumour. She is now recovering. “I really hope that I can make her (my mother) proud.”
In addition to the Commodity Pavilion, Brunei will also take centre stage at the City of Charm showcase where the 11 participating countries select a city of their own to be promoted, as well as the China-ASEAN Business & Investment Summit (CABIS).
This year’s CAEXPO carries the theme “Co-building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Promoting Regional Economic Integration through Tourism.”
Upon arrival to NICEC yesterday, His Majesty was welcomed by His Excellency Lan Tianli, First Vice Governor of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
Prior to leaving the International Convention and Exhibition Centre, His Majesty joined the exhibitors from Brunei for a group photograph.
Later on, His Majesty, received a Chinese media delegation led by Mr. Gao Hang, President and Editor-in-Chief of the China–ASEAN Panorama Magazine Agency. He also attended a bilateral meeting with Zhang Gaoli, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China;
He also attended a bilateral meeting with Zhang Gaoli, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, discussing ways to further promote economic cooperation.
His Majesty also met Peng Qinghua, Party Secretary of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chen Wu, Governor of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to discuss areas of cooperation, including the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor – an agreement signed in 2014 that establishes a strategic supply chain link between Brunei and Guangxi, that covers investments into manufacturing and export from both countries, especially those focusing on the halal market, as well as upgrading logistics.
His Majesty then attended the welcoming dinner for the 14th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) in Liyuan Resort, Nanning.