”The economic and political relations with the country in which he wants to invest are taken into account by every Chinese investor.”
As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of September, 2018, China has long since been recognised internationally as one of the world’s largest investors, but despite the fact that the Republic of Croatia has been repeatedly referred to as a very desirable destination for Chinese capital, the level of general investment itself hasn’t always been all that great.
There are more and more Chinese tourists spending time and money in Croatia, and there were 230,000 or 56 percent more tourists from China visiting Croatia last year than there were the year before. Such increases naturally equate to an extra boost when it comes to economic relations, and although this is not the classic method investment of the most populous country in the world, the fact that it will be a Chinese consortium to build the long awaited Pelješac Bridge will certainly enhance mutual relationships and increase overall investor confidence in Croatia.
As explained by Siniša Malus, the manager of the Chinese-Southeast European Business Association (CSEBA), which promotes Chinese-Croatian cooperation, China’s investments in Croatia, led by Mario Rendulić, have intensified over the last two years, and the potential is still great.
Malus explained that earlier governments in Croatia, especially that of [Zoran] Milanović (SDP), delivered less than satisfactory signals in this regard, which didn’t really lead to much temptation from the Chinese. The situation has improved significantly over the last two years, which has resulted in a large number of significant projects, the implementation(s) of which have now begun.
”We have to understand that every Chinese investor really takes the quality of the political and economic relations with the country in which he intends to invest into account,” Malus stated.
He recalled that at the end of August, the Port of Zadar got a new supervisory board, in which the majority will be owned by the Zadar Seaport company, behind which lies Chinese capital. “The Chinese strategic partner decided to invest in the Port of Zadar because of the fact that Gaženica Port has a really good traffic connection with the hinterland. There’s a serious possibility that a strategic partner might invest in the reconstruction of part of the railway, for which they’ve expressed interest,” Malus said, mentioning the fact that the close proximity to Zadar Airport is also attractive to them.
CSEB also pointed out that, in addition to infrastructure and energy (the wind power project in Senj is headed by Norinco International), Chinese investors are also interested in Croatia’s tourism facilities.
“It is expected that they will very soon enter into Krapinske Toplice (a project worth 30 million euro), and of course they’re also interested in projects along the Adriatic coast. CSEB has been working on establishing a direct airline between China and Croatia for four years now.
Unfortunately, Zadar Airport is currently unable to receive planes on such a route, so Zagreb is a likely destination.
”It is impossible to create such an air connection without financial help/incentives from the government. The Chinese incentives are practically agreed, and we have the support of the Ministry of Tourism. The visa regime is the most serious obstacle to the growth of the number of Chinese tourists in Croatia, and that should be loosened as much as possible,” Malus noted.
Ivan Barbarić of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), pointed out that with the rise of the Chinese standard, customer demand has also altered somewhat, and China is increasingly seeking the type of unique, natural, high quality and innovative products that Croatia has to offer.
“China is a very demanding market, due to certain trade barriers, because of the business and cultural differences, and with the aim of attempting to bridge these barriers and listen to the needs of the Croatian economy, last year, HGK’s Shanghai office opened its doors.
With the strengthening of the activities in the 16 + 1 initiative and the fact that the meeting of Heads of Government will be held for the first time in Croatia next year, the door for Croatia to be more easily positioned in the minds of Chinese will be opened, this involves consumers as well as business investors and at a political level, the aim is to open the necessary dialogues and work to resolve certain trade issues.
Click here for the original article by Darko Bicak for Poslovni Dnevnik