World Trade Centers Association Stresses Rise of Digital Globalization in Trade at 2021 CIFTIS and CIFIT, Two Leading International Conferences in Trade and Investment in China

Executive Director-Business Development Robin van Puyenbroeck delivers keynote address at both international conferences held September 2-11
Sep 15, 2021

Beijing and Xiamen, China (September 15, 2021) — The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) — a global network of more than 300 highly-connected, mutually supportive businesses and organizations — recently participated in two leading international platforms in trade and investment — the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) held in Beijing, China from September 2-7, 2021 and the 2021 China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) held in Xiamen, China from September 8-11, 2021. The former, CIFTIS, focuses on fast-growing and emerging areas of service trade, and is hosted annually by the China Ministry of Commerce and Beijing Municipal Government. The latter, CIFIT, focuses on connecting investors, traders, service providers and government agencies to China and the rest of the world, and is hosted annually by the China Ministry of Commerce.

WTCA Executive Director-Business Development Robin van Puyenbroeck delivered keynote addresses at both international conferences in which he elaborated on the rise of digital globalization and the important role China plays in stabilizing global trade.

“Over the past year and a half, we have observed the acceleration of a digital transformation due to the pandemic,” said Mr. van Puyenbroeck. “We have entered an era of ‘digital globalization’ — transforming the way we live and do our business, and, as a result, creating a different work-life balance as well. At the WTCA, we have embraced this growing trend in technology and have successfully introduced an artificial intelligence-powered B2B matchmaking platform during our recent General Assembly for our World Trade Center members and their business networks to connect in this new virtual environment. As both China and the digitalization trend continue to advance, the WTCA will continue to support innovative conferences such as CIFTIS and CIFIT, along with their commitment to showcase innovations and new developments in service trade.”

The WTCA has served as an official international partner of CIFTIS since 2016 to organize forums with its local partners and World Trade Centers. The association has also participated in CIFIT for the past 10 consecutive years to provide access to the Chinese market for its member World Trade Centers and their business networks.

During this year’s CIFTIS, the WTCA co-hosted the “China International Healthcare Industry Development and Investment Forum” with the Beijing Association for Trade in Services and leading global independent investment bank Reynold Lemkins, which drew an in-person attendance of more than 100 high-level representatives. The forum was supported by AstraZeneca China and focused on the healthcare sector within the country. Mr. van Puyenbroeck also spoke extensively on the future of global trade with major Chinese media including People’s Daily, CCTV Focus Report, CGTN and China Plus News during CIFTIS.

Separately, this year’s CIFIT attracted more than 50,000 business people both online and in-person. During the event, the WTCA co-hosted the “20th World Business Leaders’ Roundtable” with CCPIT and the CIFIT Organizing Committee for the seventh consecutive year with the theme of “Artificial Intelligence (AI) Reshaping Industries.” Speakers from Baidu, Iflytek, Huawei and other major leading AI firms discussed the technology and applications of AI chip development, cloud computing, natural language processing, machine learning and the Internet of Things.

“In today's world where we see a new form of globalization unfolding, a digital globalization, the ability for people around the world to connect with one another in a trusted environment has become an essential business necessity,” commented Mr. van Puyenbroeck during his keynote remarks. “This is where organizations like the WTCA and its incredibly resilient international network has proven an indispensable tool for business. Our mission of facilitating global trade is now more important and relevant than ever, and the increased use of technology and AI will make our global network even stronger, more interactive and effective. I look forward to further our collaboration in the years to come.”


World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)
Chanelle Kasik
Phone: +1 212 432 2644

About World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)
The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) is a network of more than 300 highly connected, mutually supporting businesses and organizations in 91 countries. As the owner of the “World Trade Center” and “WTC” trademarks, the WTCA licenses exclusive rights to these brands for Members to use in conjunction with their independently-owned, iconic properties, facilities and trade services offerings. Through a robust portfolio of events, programming and resources that it offers its Members, the goal of the WTCA is to help local economies thrive by encouraging and facilitating trade and investment across the globe through Member engagement. To learn more, visit

Published Coverage from 2021 CIFTIS: 

CCTV Focus Report

China Plus News
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WTCA Executive Director-Business Development Robin van Puyenbroeck speaks with CCTV Focus Report

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WTCA Executive Director-Business Development Robin van Puyenbroeck keynote address at 2021 CIFIT

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WTCA Executive Director-Business Development Robin van Puyenbroeck keynote address at 2021 CIFTIS