ICIF, a melting pot of cultures

ShenzhenDaily | 05 23, 2024

      AI-generated summary

  The 20th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF) is set for May 23-27 at the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center. It's a global hub for cultural diversity, fostering creativity and business growth through exhibitions. The Belt and Road International Hall, formerly Silk Road Hall, now hosts more international exhibitors from 108 countries this year, including the renowned Frankfurt Book Fair.

  THE China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF) will once again come under the global spotlight with its 20th edition set to take place from May 23 to 27 at the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center in Bao’an District.

  Increasing global clout

  Since the first edition was held in Shenzhen in November 2004, the ICIF has evolved into an international platform that not only showcases the cultural diversity and creative richness of China and beyond, but also helps cultural businesses flourish through exhibitions.


Foreign visitors at the 19th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF) last year. Photos by ICIF organizers

  Foreign visitors at the 19th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF) last year. Photos by ICIF organizers

  The international reach of the ICIF continues to grow. The Belt and Road International Hall, known as the Silk Road Hall when it was established in 2015, has seen a remarkable increase in the number of international exhibitors, rising from 14 in 2015 to 60 this year. The exhibition space dedicated to international participants has also significantly expanded from 3,000 to 20,000 square meters. It is anticipated that this year’s event will draw visitors, exhibitors, and buyers from 108 countries and regions.

  The expo’s international stature has been further bolstered this year by the confirmed attendance of prestigious organizations such as the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest book trade fair. Additionally, leading cultural industry institutions and top-tier B2B media companies, including Global Resources, have confirmed their participation, underscoring the expo’s global appeal and influence.

  Business platform

  Many veteran exhibitors from Belt and Road Initiative partner countries have said that they have forged connections with numerous customers both in China and globally, reaping substantial benefits through their participation in the ICIF.


An artisan from Kashmir demonstrates embroidery craftsmanship at the booth of Splendid Kashmir Art during the ICIF in 2015.

  An artisan from Kashmir demonstrates embroidery craftsmanship at the booth of Splendid Kashmir Art during the ICIF in 2015.

  The year of 2015 was particularly special for Chen Xiaoxu and her Splendid Kashmir Art company.

  That year, Chen and her team made a splash at the fair with rare Kashmir handicrafts. It was not only an important milestone for the company, but also a crucial moment in Chen’s personal entrepreneurial journey.

  According to Chen, who has attended the ICIF for 10 years, it not only provides an opportunity to showcase her company to the world, but also brings valuable market feedback and business opportunities to her team.

  In 2012, Chen resigned from her position at a bank and embarked on a journey around the world. While browsing in a store in the Kashmir region, she realized that a handmade fine cashmere scarf is not only a piece of art but also the quintessence of Kashmiri culture and handicrafts.

  During a conversation with Muneer Ahmad Rah, the store’s owner, Chen began to learn more about the history and culture of Kashmir.

  Since the age of 10, Muneer has been running a textile and handicraft business with his family, which includes designing the styles and patterns of scarves and clothing. His family has been engaged in handmade art textiles for 80 years.

  In 2013, Chen established Splendid Kashmir Art in Shenzhen. As a Shenzhen native, she chose the city where she grew up as the base for her company’s launch. Chen believes that high-quality handicrafts are not limited by geography, and their artistic value and cultural significance can cross the boundaries of climate and borders.

  In 2015, Splendid Kashmir Art set up a booth at the ICIF for the first time. In a space of over 10 square meters, every inch was fully utilized for displaying colorful, patterned handmade cashmere scarves and Persian carpets.

  Chen and Muneer, her life partner and business partner, warmly introduced the cultural background and production process of the products to every guest, detailing the history and story behind each work. They also invited a textile master from Kashmir to demonstrate the embroidery process to visitors on site.

  Chen recalled that they received an unexpected market response during their first time at the ICIF. Visitors praised their products, and many customers placed orders on site and even made purchases with cash.

  “They were not only buying scarves and carpets, but also the culture and inheritance,” Chen said.

  Since then, Splendid Kashmir Art has become a frequent exhibitor at the ICIF. “As long as the fair is held, we will come,” Chen said, adding that her company’s sales revenue at the fair has increased each year.

  Chen disclosed that at this year’s ICIF, she will invite the textile master to the fair again after 10 years.

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