Maker of beekeeping gear, like other small, medium-sized businesses, finds sweet success in exports

Beekeepers check hives in Yichang, Hubei province, in April. (ZHENG JIAYU / FOR CHINA DAILY)

The increasing popularity of beekeeping overseas has meant a growing export market in the past few years for Henan Multi-sweet Biotech Co Ltd, a professional beekeeping equipment manufacturer that is mainly an exporter.

In the past four years, the Zhengzhou, Henan province-based company has seen its orders jump more than 30 percent annually, with exports accounting for about 80 percent of the total, company officials said. It is involved in beekeeping management, the development of beekeeping equipment and machinery, animal husbandry and consultation services for apiculture development.

The list of popular domestically made products, which is constantly growing, indicates that China’s supply is playing an increasingly important role in the global industrial chain coordination.

Zhang Kuo, president of

Multi-sweet, founded in 2003, began cross-border e-commerce trading on in 2009. By 2017, it was trading products on five cross-border e-commerce sites. Next, it plans to set up overseas warehouses in some areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America to provide products that are of good value and at lower costs, the company said.

In early December, Alibaba released a report that reflected the export success of goods produced by private small and medium-sized companies in China, demonstrating the connectedness of China's economy with the world.

The foreign trade market faced big fluctuations in 2022, said Zhang Kuo, president of But Chinese merchants showed their resilience, and China's foreign trade sector demonstrated the potential for high-quality growth.

"Products that are made in China have become the most reliably available part of the world's supply chain. The list of popular domestically made products, which is constantly growing, indicates that China's supply is playing an increasingly important role in the global industrial chain coordination," Zhang said.

Multi-sweet has expanded its business to more than 190 countries and regions, including North America, Europe, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

"Leisure beekeeping has increasingly become a way to relax, just like fishing in some countries. Ukraine used to be a big supplier of beekeeping equipment, but due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, we have gained more orders and business growth opportunities," said Meng Shaowei, company president.

Apiarists collect honey in Haian, Jiangsu province, in April. (ZHAI HUIYONG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Facing global market uncertainty, Multi-sweet said it plans to keep improving product quality and accelerate its overseas expansion, especially in markets involved in the Belt and Road Initiative and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement.

The RCEP agreement, which took effect on Jan 1, 2022, includes 15 Asia-Pacific countries. It is expected that over the next two decades, the pact will reduce up to 90 percent of tariffs on goods traded among its members.

Alibaba's recent report also listed the top 10 export products in 2022. The list included laser cutting equipment, FIFA World Cup derivative products, camping tents, electric bicycles, false eyelashes and self-adhesive nail stickers, household solar energy systems, electrothermal pads, prefabricated houses and wall-mounted charging equipment.

In the past year, sales of nail stickers and false eyelashes rose significantly, as more overseas consumers looked for easy and less expensive ways to improve their looks and express themselves. The popularity of camping tents and beekeeping equipment is indicative of a back-to-nature trend, Alibaba said.

The list also indicates new trends in overseas consumption, and highlights the responsiveness of China's industrial chain, which rapidly fulfills foreign demand. Many domestically produced consumer goods feature good quality at attractive prices. They have become a key driver for exports, as cost performance has become a more important consideration for overseas consumers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alibaba report said.

Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said with the implementation of a series of high-level opening-up measures, China's foreign trade volume is expected to continue to grow.

"In the long term, as enterprises put more emphasis on digital technologies and their operational capabilities continue to improve, their sensitivity and responsiveness in capturing changing demand in the overseas markets will improve even more," Wei said.