The latest China International Fair for Trade in Services has again proved to be a hotbed for business, with hundreds of agreements signed.

A total of 440 letters of intent were inked during this year’s China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), which was held in Beijing from May 28 to June 1, organisers said. Of the agreements worth $105.06 billion (£82.88 billion) in combined contract value, 134 involved overseas projects worth $17.55 billion in total.

Centred on the theme of “openness, innovation, intelligence and integration”, the 2019 CIFTIS was spread over 40 acres of exhibition area, attracting delegates from 137 foreign countries and regions, and 21 international organisations, all record highs in CIFTIS’ five-year history.

Some 98 countries and regions that attended are involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, accounting for nearly 80 per cent of those that have signed BRI co-operation documents with China.

The world’s top 30 economies with strong services trade and all 14 countries that have signed memorandums pledging to facilitate trade in services in China were present at the fair.

Attendees included 63 Chinese and foreign ministerial-level officials and 35 ambassadors to China.Twenty countries and regions, including Germany, France, Switzerland and Ireland, said they will send trade delegations to next year’s CIFTIS. The trade show provides an ideal platform for the business community to showcase their latest technological solutions and service models.

More than 180 trade associations and 8,000 companies and institutions from China and abroad participated in the event.

Nearly 600 multinationals and renowned enterprises, including 63 Fortune Global 500 companies, joined this year’s CIFTIS.

The big names included e-commerce industrial heavyweights Alibaba and, mobile service leaders China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, and telecommunications service giants Huawei, Ericsson and ZTE.

This year’s CIFTIS received 400,000 business people from around the world. Various activities, including exhibitions, forums, promotions and business matchmaking, were held during the five-day event, organisers said.

More than 10 academicians from China and abroad and over 100 noted entrepreneurs shared their insights on technological innovations and industrial trends at the forums and symposiums. Nearly 30 industrial reports, rankings and indexes were released during the fair, providing analysis and data on service-related sectors.

The latest in digital technologies were the highlight of this year’s CIFTIS. At themed exhibitions for smart cities, intelligent education and healthcare, applications of artificial intelligence, blockchain and 5G technologies attracted a great deal of interest.

The popular interactive experiences included app-controlled home appliances, intelligent wearable devices, an automated pharmacy, an AI companion robot, and smart parking and logistics systems utilising cloud computing and internet of things technologies.

To increase the influence of CIFTIS and attract and cater for more participants, organisers designated the China National Convention Centre, the nearby Beijing International Convention Centre and the Olympic Square in the north of the city as the main venues of this year’s event.

At the same time, for the first time 10 sub-venues across the city were set up to help CIFTIS gain wider appeal. The sub-venues included Beijing’s central business district, Wangfujing shopping street and the Palace Museum at the heart of the city, and Financial Street.