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Greek Businesses in Beijing

china660_9Greece is awaiting the godsend Chinese investments, which were arranged after the recent visit of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and his meeting with his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras.

It appears, however, that several Greek entrepreneurs have decided not to wait for the Chinese to come to Greece. In fact, many Greeks have gone to Beijing, set up businesses and became successful.

According to Chinese news broadcaster CCTV, there have been several cases of Greeks who saw China’s market as a major opportunity. During an interview, Semiramis Paliou spoke of the reasons behind her decision. When the crisis hit Greece, she left and opened a luxury travel agency in Beijing. “I think if the crisis hadn’t arrived, we would still be in our old set ways of mass tourism, that we’re happy as we are, that we don’t need to change anything, and we would have stagnated,” she said.

Pavlos Kontomichalos has been working in China for more than twenty years. However, due to the crisis, more and more entrepreneurs from Greece are coming in contact with him and requesting his help, especially in the field of selling oil and other relative products.

“It gets people thinking that we need to produce our own end product that is at par, if not better, than the ones produced in other countries so the value added is captured by the Greek companies and the Greek products,” Kontomichalos noted during his interview.

Over the last five years, Greek exports to China have doubled, but there still is much room for improvement. According to Deputy Minister of Development and Competitiveness Notis Mitarakis: “As the local market was reducing in size, Greek companies began to travel and discover international markets. They are successful in China because they rely on good Greek products.”

Mihalis Boutaris’ fine wine company has come to a strategic agreement with China for the next five years, which almost reaches 50 million dollars. “We were complacent in our own paradise, not sharing the goods we have with the rest of the world, as a German friend had said. Now we’re obliged to do it, and that’s why I think exports, in the last few years, have really, really sky rocketed compared to the past.”

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