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China, Europe Closely Tied in Economy for Brighter Future

BERLIN, April 8 (Xinhua) — In its East Asia and the Pacific Economic Update for April 2023, titled “Reviving Growth,” the World Bank forecast that the projected slowdown in growth in advanced economies may be largely offset by signs of revival in China’s economy.

This was reflected in the fact that heads of state and chief executives of global corporations have been visiting China one after the other, united in the belief that China and its market are not an option, but a need.


The essence of China-European Union (EU) economic and trade relations is complementarity and mutual benefit.

In 2022, China-EU trade and economic cooperation remained resilient and dynamic, and the high-level dialogues set the course for China-EU trade and economic cooperation. The total bilateral trade in goods between China and the EU was valued at 5,646.798 billion yuan (about 821.24 billion U.S. dollars), up 5.6 percent year-on-year.

People visit the BYD stand during the Paris Motor Show in Paris, France, Oct. 18, 2022. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

German corporations invested a record 11.5 billion euros (about 12.5 billion dollars) in China in 2022, according to the German Economic Institute report released on March 29. For German executives, the growth prospects in the Chinese sales market are simply “too attractive.”

“For most companies, withdrawing from the Chinese market is not an issue at the moment,” said a recent study by the German Association of Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics, adding that establishing alternative supplier structures to the existing business in China is complex and resource-intensive.

“We have enjoyed very strong and productive relationships with local partners in China for many years and all the communication channels. We would just like to continue that,” said Ola Kaellenius, chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, in his latest interview with Xinhua.

Looking back into the last 20 to 30 years, Kaellenius said China has been opening up its economy to become an integral part of the global economy. He considered China’s opening-up a success story that enabled Chinese start-ups and big companies to grow their businesses and facilitated foreign direct investment, adding that China’s further opening-up would likely prompt Mercedes-Benz to increase its investments.

This photo taken on Nov. 6, 2022 shows a new energy vehicle of German automaker Mercedes-Benz at the automobile exhibition area of the fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE) at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) in east China’s Shanghai. (Xinhua/Jin Haoyuan)

Kaellenius said that what should not happen, however, is protectionism because if economic regions fall into protectionism, it will ultimately slow down growth.

“So we want to make our voice heard and remind everybody that it is opening-up around the world that has led to economic growth,” he said.

Fabrice Megarbane, president of L’Oreal North Asia Zone and CEO of L’Oreal China told Xinhua that his group was overall optimistic and ambitious in the short and long term about China.

Since China optimized its COVID response, “we have already seen potential opportunities in the market which makes us even more bullish about China’s economic outlook and prospects,” said Megarbane in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Photo taken on July 26, 2022 shows the booth of cosmetics giant L’Oreal in the French pavilion at the second China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE) in Haikou, south China’s Hainan Province. (Xinhua/Guo Cheng)

The French cosmetics giant was preparing for the beauty market rebound. From the first week of February, consumer traffic and purchases have revealed positive signs and L’Oreal expects a progressive rebound from Q2 and consumer enthusiasm to bounce back in all categories, said Megarbane.

His boss, L’Oreal’s chief executive Nicolas Hieronimus, who visited China last month, shared his enthusiasm.

“Activity and consumption are gradually picking up, with good prospects in sight. I came back super energized and very confident for the market,” Hieronimus told the French daily Le Figaro. “It’s the group’s second-largest market and things are changing very fast there.”

A good number of French bosses have “jumped on the plane” to resume contact in person with their business partners in China and returned with full confidence in the potential of the Chinese market, according to a front-page article published by Le Figaro Economie on Monday.

Franck Lebouchard, head of the French acoustic engineering company Devialet, was among those who couldn’t wait to go to China.

Now back in France after a two-week stay in China where he met with some of the managers of BYD, the leading Chinese manufacturer of electric vehicles, Lebouchard told the French daily: “We fell into each other’s arms, even though we had never seen each other.”

All the French bosses came back from China with the certainty that the country still has a lot of potential, Le Figaro wrote, and “all of them intend to continue their investments there.”


In Greece where the tourism industry accounts for one-fourth of its gross domestic product (GDP), Chinese people hold a special place in the local tourism stakeholders’ planning and the hearts of local people.

A passenger poses for a photo with an airport mascot at Athens International Airport in Athens, Greece, on Dec. 22, 2022. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

“We have historical ties with the Chinese people. We are all waiting for them with love from the bottom of our hearts, true love, to host them, and to offer our services. All the restaurants are eager to see the Chinese coming because they are good customers, and we all love them very much,” Spiros Bairaktaris, owner of a popular restaurant in the center of Athens founded 144 years ago, told Xinhua.

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias told Xinhua in an earlier interview that the return of Chinese tourists will contribute to the Greek tourism industry’s good performance despite the adversities of recent years.

“They’re deeply involved in finding out about our culture and our civilization since in both countries culture and civilization go many centuries back. We are getting prepared to be able to have them in Greece,” he said.

After the relaxation of travel restrictions, the Chinese market will be again one of the fastest developing markets for Greece, Ioanna Papadopoulou, director of communications and marketing of the Athens International Airport (AIA), told Xinhua.

The direct flight between Athens and Beijing commenced in 2017. In just two years, it helped to double the number of Chinese arrivals at the Athens International Airport, from 108,613 to over 217,600 in 2019. The launch of the direct air link between the Greek capital and Shanghai on Dec. 22, 2022, in addition to the Athens-Beijing line, is a very good start for 2023, she said.

“We are ready to welcome our Chinese travelers back again, which we have tremendously missed all these three years of the pandemic,” she said.

Italy, one of the most visited destinations among Chinese travelers, is expecting more of them.

People walk past tourist information in various languages including Chinese near the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, on March 26, 2023. (Xinhua/Jin Mamengni)

Cristiano Varotti, chief representative of the Italian National Tourist Board in China, considered Sicily and the islands, ski resorts in the Alps, and some small towns as the new attractions for Chinese travelers. Many Chinese travel agencies are focused on providing their clients with higher-level travel plans that satisfy their more sophisticated needs, Varotti said.

In 2019, China was the 11th market for Italy in terms of total international arrivals. There is great room for growth, even concerning the composition of Chinese tourists’ spending abroad, as it is a market that has yet to reveal its full potential, he said.

“We plan a roadshow in China in the coming months to meet Chinese companies in person and make ourselves available to them,” Varotti said.

Source : EnglishNewsCN