Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Chinese Investing in Zagorje, Chinese Medicine in Krapinske Toplice?

When one thinks of foreign investment in Croatia, they likely think of the glorious Dalmatian coast and the endless opportunities that can (or rather, should, in a perfect world) present themselves to would-be investors from abroad, not Zagorje.

While this continental region of Croatia is without a doubt beautiful, it doesn't command anywhere near the amount of promotion and attention that the Croatian coast does, again, with a particular emphasis placed on Dalmatia. Investing in Croatia is no easy feat, the Croatian Government have seemed to do everything in their power to make the experience as dangerous and as difficult as possible for foreign investors, and many end up put off and penniless after paying for the ''pleasure'' of such an awful experience.

Of course, there are an increasing amount of exceptions as time moves forward, but the norm continues to be that Croatia is bypassed by many smart investors looking for a place to put their hard-earned cash to work.

One quite successful group of investors in Croatia are the tireless Chinese, who apparently have a very keen eye indeed when it comes to spotting opportunities. It isn't the sparkling Adriatic coast they have their eye on this time, though, but gorgeous Zagorje.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 25th of September, 2019, well known Chinese investor Jiang Yu, who purchased the controversial former political school in Josip Broz Tito's hometown of Kumrovec, a village in Krapina-Zagorje County, for 14 million kuna back in the spring of this year, is also interested in no less than Zagorje's Krapinske Toplice.

Namely, yesterday, Yu held a meeting with Krapina-Zagorje County prefect, Željko Kolar, Kumrovec's municipal mayor, Robert Šplajt, and the president of the municipal county of Krapinske Toplice, Zvonko Očiem, where she announced that she plans to renovate a hotel in Krapinske Toplice and build an old people's home, a new hotel, and tourist villas.

She also announced the construction of a centre for traditional Chinese medicine in Zagorje, more specifically in Krapinske Toplice.

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Friday, 21 June 2019

Minister Horvat Admits Chinese Aren't Thinking of Investing in Uljanik

There has been much talk of late about the potential fate of the enfeebled Uljanik shipyard, as well as the 3 Maj shipyard, and what the future might hold for Croatian shipbuilding as a whole. It seems that any potential boost that a Chinese investment could have brought to this ailing industry has been lost.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of June, 2019, Minister Darko Horvat has admitted that there is no serious interest whatsoever from the Chinese in investing in Uljanik in Pula, or the 3 Maj shipyard in Rijeka, delivering a damaging blow to any remaining hopes that these shipyards could be brought back from the brink.

Horvat added that despite this bad news, the Croatian Government is currently engaged in trying to find a legal route for all of the ships currently at Uljanik and 3 Maj who are in a certain phase of completion are completed and delivered, signalling that there is every intention to honour obligations in spite of the dire situation the shipyards continue to find themselves in.

Economy Minister Darko Horvat was in Mokrice in Slovenia when he commented on the future of Croatian shipbuilding for the media, RTL writes.

Horvat said that the Chinese have no intention of entering as strategic partners in the Uljanik group, but they have expressed interest in the Brodarski Institute, which is located in Zagreb.

"The information I've received from the embassy in the People's Republic of China supports the intentions that we've been talking about over the past month - that there is a serious intention of a Chinese partner to negotiate and have a joint appearance in new projects, but at this point, there's no more serious intention from Chinese shipbuilders to purchase or enter into a strategic partnership with 3 Maj, more specifically with the Uljanik Group,'' Horvat stated, emphasising the fact that the Croatian Government will continue to try to find a way to make sure the shipyards honour their obligations.

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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Marić on Potential Chinese Investment: Too Early to Talk About Anything

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 30th of April, 2019, Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Tuesday that he still needs to see if there really is specific interest from the Chinese shipbuilding company, whose representatives are visiting the ailing shipyards in Pula (Uljanik) and Rijeka (3 Maj), saying that it's too early to be able to say anything and that we "need to be completely realistic".

When aked by a journalist about the expectations of the Croatian Government, given that a delegation from the Chinese shipbuilding company China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) has visited the Uljanik and 3 Maj shipyards, Marić said that first of all, we should be realistic and after CISC's representatives get a proper look at the state of affairs with those shipyards and answers to the questions they are interested in, we will need to wait and see what their response to all of it will be.

At this point, it's still too early for that, he added, recalling yesterday's introductory meeting between the Croatian prime minister, his ministers and the aforementioned Chinese delegation at Banski Dvori in Zagreb, where everything was transparent and very clearly presented.

"A really high level team from the perspective of that company has arrived, but on the other hand, we need to be completely realistic. So, today they will spend all day in both Rijeka and Pula and then after that, of course, we can't expect it immediately but within a reasonable time frame, they'll determine what they saw, state what they think about it, and whether or not there is a certain level of interest,'' said Marić when answering journalists' questions after attending the annual European Investment Bank (EIB) press conference.

The CSIC delegation, headed by Hu Wenming, arrived at the enfeebled Uljanik on Tuesday morning, where talks with the members of Uljanik's management board and its supervisory board took place. Assistant Minister of Economy Zvonimir Novak has also been participating in these talks.

Several representatives of the aforementioned Chinese company arrived at Uljanik as early as Monday afternoon, where they viewed the plants and made an unofficial assessment of the capabilities of the Pula shipyard's production facilities, ie, they got better acquainted with its technical capabilities, the processes that take place there, the technology and its general capacities.

What will coe of the visit is anyone's guess so far, but despite suspicion from some, an injection of Chinese money could truly be Uljanik's very last hope.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more information on Chinese-Croatian business relations, Chinese projects and investments in Croatia, working, doing business and investing in Croatia and much more.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Is Chinese Rescue of Croatia's Burdened Shipyards Inevitable?

If the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) gives up, it will be difficult to find another candidate for the ailing Croatian shipyards Uljanik (Pula) and 3 Maj (Rijeka) which is in the shipbuilding industry and is also a strong and respected player. Could a Chinese investment be on the cards?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes on the 29th of April, 2019, after yesterday's meeting with Prime Minister Andrey Plenkovic and his government ministers, Hu Wenming, Chairman of the Board of China's largest shipbuilding company China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) confirmed that they are indeed moving towards serious consideration regarding the enfeebled Uljanik and 3 Maj shipyards, which have undergone months of turmoil.

''The prime minister gave us a very serious and detailed presentation of the whole situation,'' Wenming said, adding that they saw that these two shipyards were a very important topic for the Croatian public. "Not only did we bring people from our company - they're in charge of planning, we've already called on lawyers and investment banks, so we will outline what their views on the matter are after visiting the shipyards," Wenming stated.

With that, a key ''tour'' begins, because if CSIC ends up actually not being interested in putting its money into the situation, it will be a hugely difficult task to find another candidate in shipbuilding, which is a big player and has an interest in joining the European shipbuilding industry. Otherwise, this would be the first case of a Chinese takeover of a foreign shipbuilding company, so it is speculated that extensive calculations are being made, and of course whether they even want to have their first European shipyard is being considered. The CSIC is looking at the situation deeply and from all possible angles.

This event all began with the recent announcement of the arrival of the CSIC in Croatia with the aim of visiting the troubled shipyards in Pula and Rijeka. As was then announced, the CSIC chairman contacted Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during his stay in the Republic of Croatia where he attended the summit "16 + 1" and after talking with the Croatian PM about the dire state of Croatian shipbuilding.

As things currently stand, the general belief is that the Chinese decision won't take long to come - it will be a simple and express "no" or "yes", while the third option, more specifically an unconditional "yes", will likely need to be waited for a little longer.

What the outcome of the potential Chinese presence in the Croatian shipbuilding industry is anyone's guess, and while some remain very suspicious of Chinese motives in Croatia in general, despite them already working on the long-awaited Pelješac bridge down in southern Dalmatia, whatever comes of their potential entry has got to be better than the current situation, especially for Uljanik.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more information on Chinese-Croatian business relations, Chinese investments and projects in Croatia, doing business and investing in Croatia and much more.


Click here for the original article by Suzana Varosanec for Poslovni Dnevnik

Monday, 29 April 2019

Will Chinese Invest in Croatian Shipyards? Could Uljanik Rescue Happen?

There has been much talk, both positive and negative, about the potential for Chinese investment in Croatia. They're already building the long awaited Peljesac bridge down in Dalmatia and have since expressed great interest in the Port of Rijeka and in constructing a railway line linking Rijeka to Karlovac. 

Many believe that the apparently huge interest of the Chinese (and their money) is a bad omen, and that Croatia will end up trapped by yet more debt it can't pay off in the end. Others see it as a welcome move, despite their suspicions. Whatever the truth behind China's interest in Croatia is, the EU aren't too pleased with it, especially in the case of Peljesac bridge. Peljesac bridge is one of the most important strategic projects in the history of the country, and it has been financed mainly by European Union funds, the fact that a Chinese company has been chosen to construct it hasn't filled the European Union, nor the Commission, with much joy.

What will be the situation with one of Croatia's most pressing issues of late, its ailing shipyards? As Uljanik's dire situation continues to worsen, could the already suggested investment from China be its saviour at the eleventh hour? Maybe.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of April, 2019, a delegation from China's largest shipbuilding company, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, headed by Hu Wenming, the head of the company, will arrive in Zagreb on Monday, as N1 reports.

The Chinese delegation will first be welcomed by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and his government ministers at Banski dvori in the heart of the capital city. After exchanging all of the usual diplomatic pleasantries, they will discuss the burdensome issue of Uljanik (Pula) and 3 Maj (Rijeka), which the Chinese guests will visit on Tuesday.

At today's meeting between the Croatian premier and the Chinese delegation from CSIC, the bosses of Uljanik and 3 Maj, Emil Bulić and Edi Kučan, will present, as was confirmed to N1 by the Croatian Government.

Will the giant Chinese company actually agree to invest in Croatia's ailing shipyards, however? The answer to this question could be known definitively in as little as ten days, Economy Minister Darko Horvat announced last week.

Concerning the potential interest of the Chinese for the Uljanik and 3 Maj shipyards, Minister Tolušić said that this really is "probably the last chance to do something." If there is any possibility whatsoever that the Chinese will enter into some sort of investment arrangement to rescue the shipyards, they'll enter. If there's no possibility, they won't. We'll leave it up to them.'' stated Horvat.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more information on Chinese-Croatian business relations, Chinese investments and projects in Croatia, doing business and investing in Croatia, working in Croatia, and much more.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Is Croatia Really That Important on Chinese Investment Map?

Just how important is Croatia on the Chinese investment map?

As Iva Grubisa/Novac writes on the 21st of April, 2019 China's investment in European Union countries has grown steadily over the past ten years, and the European Commission (EC) has recently referred quite openly to the Chinese as a "systemic rival" and "a strategic competitor," the BBC reports.

The European Union has thus introduced a new mechanism for the strict overseeing of foreign investment, in order to promptly react should they assess that foreign investment could harm the security of EU member states.

According to the EC's report, a third of total EU assets are in the hands of foreign companies and 9.5 percent of companies in the EU have owners based in China, Hong Kong or Macau. When compared with 2007, when this share was only 2.5 percent, it's a significant increase, although the share of European business in Chinese hands is still relatively small. By comparison, back at the end of 2016, 29 percent of EU companies were controlled by Americans and Canadians.

Chinese investment in Europe reached its peak back in 2016, when it amounted to an enormous 37.2 billion euros, followed by a visible slowdown.

"This is mainly a result of stricter control over Chinese capital, but also changes in the global political climate when it comes to China's investments,'' explained Agatha Kratz of the Rhodium Group for the BBC.

Just where are the Chinese investing the most? Although a recent visit by a large Chinese delegation has been accompanied the news of the growth of Chinese investment and ambitions here in Croatia, according to the Rhodium Group, the Republic of Croatia is not even in the top ten countries in which China is the biggest investor in terms of capital.

Between 2000 and 2018, most Chinese investments took place in the largest European economies, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and France. The top ten were ranked in the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland.

According to Bloomberg's survey last year, they have owned or used to own shares in four European airports, six naval ports, and as many as thirteen football clubs.

Nevertheless, one must not forget the new big Chinese project, the Silk Road, known as the "One Belt, One Way" Initiative, in which the Chinese plan large investments in European infrastructure to strengthen trade links between China and Europe. Croatia is along that ''road'', and therefore the Chinese are investing in Rijeka Port, the Rijeka-Karlovac railway, mentions of investments in Croatian airports have been floating around, and there's almost no need to mention the fact that the Chinese are building Peljesac bridge, although its cost is mostly paid for by European Union funds.

The Chinese are also investing in Croatia's neighbouring countries, building roads and railways in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and even in Northern Macedonia. In addition, Montenegro, as reported earlier this week, provided part of its state territory as a guarantee for the repayment of credits for the construction of part of the Bar-Boljari motorway to the Chinese Exim bank.

Since Montenegro has less of a chance of repaying this loan, it's not an entirely unbelievable option to remain without part of the state's territory, as bizarre as it might sound at first, and in that context, it's possible to understand some Croatian fears about entering into partnerships with the Chinese. This example is often cited as a warning to European countries to be extremely cautious when concluding economic agreements with China, to make sure they don't eventually fall into becoming a slave to the debts.

Trump's administration is much more closed to Chinese investment activities in the United States, and the authorities of other non-EU countries are much more cautious in entering into such partnerships, especially in the areas of telecommunications and defense. In any case, positively or negatively, China is certainly an extremely important player in Europe.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more on Chinese presence in Croatia. Chinese investment in Croatia, Chinese projects in Croatia and more.


Click here for the original article by Iva Grubisa for Novac/Jutarnji

Friday, 19 April 2019

Chinese Company Signs Agreement to Build Football Stadium in Velika Gorica

You might recall that at the end of last year, the Chinese offered to build a national stadium in Zagreb, which Croatian Football Federation president Davor Šuker said did not exist. Today, however, 10 kilometers from Zagreb, an agreement has been signed between Velika Gorica, the Zagreb County Football Federation and the Chinese company Z-Run Well Ton Industry about a similar project in Velika Gorica, reports on April 19, 2019. 

"This is the first step towards the realization of a Chinese company's investment in the sports infrastructure of Velika Gorica," announced the Office of the Mayor of Velika Gorica.

"Velika Gorica has become a favorite city for investors over the last couple of years, first with our domestic companies, such as the Atlantic Group, and now with foreign capital. We established the first contacts with the official delegation of China a few years ago, and today we discussed concrete projects here. I am pleased to develop this in a positive direction, and that foreign investors recognize our potential for their investments,” said the mayor of Velika Gorica, Dražen Barišić.

Today, after signing the agreement, Barišić revealed that the Chinese are satisfied with Gorica.

"The city has presented the possibilities of investing in sports infrastructure, which includes the stadium with accompanying facilities. The Chinese delegation also visited a potential field that spatially plans to meet the needs of stadium construction, and is the result of today's signing of the Agreement. In recent years, Velika Gorica has become a city of interest to investors, and I am pleased to see that this interest has expanded beyond our borders and that foreign investors express business intentions."

It will be a state-of-the-art stadium that will host the world's biggest football events.

"The infrastructure you have is more than satisfactory because you are connected to the whole of Croatia, the proximity to the airport is also an advantage, and we like the look of Velika Gorica. We see great potential in your city, not just for the construction of stadiums, but for investment in various forms of sports infrastructure and the sports industry,” said Jiang Yu, president of the Beijing-based company.

The new stadium would supposedly be similar to the Astana Arena in the capital of Kazakhstan, which was recently named Nur-Sultan. The agreement on understanding should, by 2021, bring the construction of a football stadium with a capacity of 30 to 35,000 spectators. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 5 November 2018

Split to Zagreb in One Hour? Croatia Wants Chinese Investment in Railways

If Croatia had China's railway innovation, and Chinese investment, travelers could get from Split to Zagreb in just over an hour. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Chinese Investor and Zadar Entrepreneur Team Up in Name of Electric Vehicles

Green Tech Group has signed a 16 million kuna contract with the municipality for the sale of 53 hectares of land as e-vehicle production turns its sights towards the Neretva valley.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Plenković and Chinese Counterpart Discuss Potential Areas of Cooperation in Budapest

Andrej Plenković met with his Chinese counterpart in Budapest, Hungary, where closer ties and further cooperation between China and Croatia were among the topics of discussion.

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