The first ASEAN-China Online Influencers Conference and Fujian Brands Promotion Tour along Maritime Silk Road concluded in Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian Province on Jan. 13, a year after China and ASEAN celebrated the 30th anniversary of their dialogue relations and elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

       Themed “Set Sail from Blessed Land when the Wind is Positive,” the event also followed the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade deal that will bring new development opportunities to China-ASEAN ties.

       During the three-day event, ASEAN diplomats to China and representatives from media organizations, as well as Chinese and ASEAN online influencers learned about Fuzhou’s experience in developing digital industry and experienced the culture of Fujian province through field visits and online activities. They also shared what they saw and felt in the city on social media platforms.

       The event focused on economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges between China and ASEAN, and held three dialogues on digital economy, influencer economy and cross-border e-commerce.

       It also acted as a matchmaker between Chinese and ASEAN enterprises. Fujian Asia-Pacific Economic and Trade Cooperation Promotion Association, China’s first provincial-level business association responding to the RCEP agreement, set the stage for a series of agreements between Chinese and ASEAN industries, including a $5.6 billion intended deal inked by Fujian’s Eversun Holdings Group to invest in an ASEAN refinery.

       The conference, joined by online influencers, expanded new space for telling stories about China-ASEAN cooperation under the RCEP framework. It mirrored the broad cooperation between China and ASEAN countries on people-to-people exchanges and witnessed the deepening regional economic integration between the two sides.

Entrepreneur, blogger, event host and online influencer Myka Basco attends the The first ASEAN-China Online Influencers Conference and Fujian Brands Promotion Tour along Maritime Silk Road.

       China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying delivered a speech at the conference via video link. She noted that the fruits of China-ASEAN cooperation in the past 30 years are made possible by the right historical choice taken by the farsighted leaders of the two sides who have embraced the trend of the times, and they are also a result of the unique ties between the two sides marked by geographical proximity and cultural affinity.

       She said online influencers are telling the best stories and writing history every day. “Creative and empathetic, you are sharing the emotional highs and lows of ordinary people on social media and the Internet. Their experience of small serendipities and pursuit of big dreams strike a chord with every one of us and draw people closer across national borders,” she remarked.

       Both online and offline discussions were carried out at the event focusing on the correlation between influencer economy and cross-border e-commerce. The in-depth exchanges between Chinese and ASEAN online influencers reflected their expectation for the future development of e-commerce.

       In a dialogue session, Chinese influencers shared the stories of their exchanges with ASEAN netizens, hoping to contribute to the cooperation between China and ASEAN on influencer economy and cross-border e-commerce through their influence.

       Their ASEAN counterparts expressed similar aspirations. Cambodian gaming streamer Seaneang said that China and Cambodia enjoy a long history of friendship, and she hopes to further the exchanges between the cultures of the two countries despite their differences. Indonesian influencer Harini Riswanda introduced her efforts to maintain strict inspection and integrity when promoting cross-border e-commerce. Alexandra Bounxouei from Laos believes that music and media are bringing closer the people from her country and China, though they speak different languages and have different cultures and traditions.

       As China’s first large forum joined by senior government officials, scholars and online influencers, the event was co-sponsored by the ASEAN-China Centre, Global Times Online, Department of Commerce of Fujian Province, Foreign Affairs Office of the People’s Government of Fujian Province, and Fuzhou Municipal People’s Government. It was supported by China Public Diplomacy Association and Mission of the People’s Republic of China to ASEAN, and co-organized by Fujian Asia-Pacific Economic and Trade Cooperation Promotion Association.