AT an exhibition booth at the fifth China-Arab States Expo, Yang Wanlong attracted a large number of domestic and foreign customers with his two products on display: nutritious Morchella fungi and high-quality activated carbon.

The exhibition, which closed yesterday in the city of Yinchuan, capital of Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, is the first experience of such an event for Yang, a 27-year-old who runs a cross-border e-commerce company.

His booth is in the cross-border e-commerce exhibition area, and he has made the most of the opportunity.

Last year, China-Arab trade volume reached nearly US$240 billion, with Arab states’ imports from China rising by 2.1 percent year on year, despite the impact of the pandemic.

As an important platform for China-Arab economic ties, the fifth edition of the expo was held both online and offline. The offline event at the Yinchuan International Convention and Exhibition Center allows customers to peruse the exhibitors’ products in person. Meanwhile, thanks to technologies such as 5G, AI and big data, buyers and sellers are able to trade with each other in the virtual shop.

In ancient times, Arab and Chinese merchants made deals along the Silk Road. Today, China is pushing forward an “online Silk Road” by promoting the cross-border e-commerce industry, to further deepen the economic cooperation with Arab countries.

Data shows that in the first half of this year, China built good momentum in cross-border e-commerce trade, with the total trade value growing 28.6 percent year on year to reach 886.7 billion yuan (US$136.4 billion).

“Cross-border e-commerce has been developing rapidly, and I think it can be a very efficient way for Lebanese products to be sold in China,” said Joseph Tannous, economic attache of the Lebanese embassy in Beijing.

A total of 15 Lebanese companies attended the expo online, displaying products such as red wine and olive oil.

“At the moment, we are working to create the first Lebanese online cross-border e-commerce shop in China,” he said.