Alibaba to Build Distribution Centre in Zadar?

Total Croatia News

Economy Ministry has confirmed contacts with Alibaba.

Alibaba, China’s largest online store, wants to build a distribution centre for the whole of Europe in Zadar. The main competitor for the investment is Hungary, which has been actively lobbying Alibaba to build the centre there, reports Jutarnji List on January 21, 2017.

Economy Ministry has confirmed that Alibaba has sent a memo in which it expressed intention for possible investments in Croatia. A meeting with its representatives also took place, and the government presented opportunities for investment.

Apart from Croatia, Alibaba is also interested in investing in Hungary, and Hungarian Prime Minister Orban has allegedly personally met with their delegation. There is some interest in Serbia as well, but Croatia and Hungary are more attractive because of the countries’ membership in the European Union. The Chinese company is particularly interesting in Zadar’s economic zone because in its easy access to seaport, airports, highways and railways.

David Lekaj, president of Euro-Asian Business Association, said that the management of Alibaba had decided to explore investment opportunities in the economic zone Crno, which is one of the most important development projects in Zadar and covers almost 400 hectares.

Alibaba Group has valuation of more than 266 billion dollars, which is the largest market capitalization of any company listed in Asia. In China, they are more popular than eBay and Amazon, and the average daily trading volume is about one billion dollars. Jack Ma, the owner of Alibaba, is one of the richest people in China, whose wealth is estimated at more than 20 billion dollars.

The Chinese Embassy in Croatia said that it was known that Alibaba was interested in investing in Central and Eastern Europe and that a decision on cooperation with Croatia would be extremely positive for Croatian economy.

Lekaj introduced infrastructure potential of Zadar to the Chinese company in the summer of 2015, when he and former President Stipe Mesić met with Jong Sun, vice president of Alibaba Group. Additional benefits of this project would be modernization and expansion of the container port and transport facilities in Zadar.

“This investment would provide ‘Alibaba effect’ that would be a powerful incentive for other investors. I must point out that at this stage we need the government’s support, because Hungarian Prime Minister Orban is actively lobbying their team. We expect the same from our prime minister”, said Lekaj.

In addition to the warehouse, the Chinese company is interested in building a film studio in Zadar. Alibaba Pictures is involved in Hollywood film production, and Zadar could become the first movie studio which Alibaba would open in Europe. A delegation from Alibaba is expected in Croatia soon.


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