France-China economic forum in Marseille
Usually held in Paris, this major event has, for the very first time, left the French capital city to settle in Marseille on October 26th-27th.
Many Chinese executives made the trip to meet the business leaders of the territory and discuss partnerships during this event organized by the City of Marseille, the Aix-Marseille Provence Metropolis, the Consulate General of China in Marseille, the Grand Port Maritime of Marseille and the Marseille Bar.
Marseille and its territory are attracting more and more Chinese investors:
- Société des Moteurs Baudouin (Marine engines in Cassis)
- Petroinéos (petrochemicals in Martigues-Lavera)
- Watchdata (software in Aix-en-Provence)
Quechen Silicon Chemical Co. Ltd, may join the consortium of Chinese investors in the territory, should they decide to establish their first silica plant in Europe at Fos-sur-Mer.
Marseille and Shangai are twin cities for long time (30 years) but 2017 recorded a boost in the interest between both countries, with 17 official delegations (January to October) compared to 4 in 2016.
From a touristic perspective, France remains the European country most visited by the Chinese. And Provence, with its cliché lavendar fields and stunning coastline, comes right behind the unbeatable City of Lights. This summer, 50 000 Chinese tourists visited Marseille.
According to Gao Yuanyuan, Minister, Economic and Trade Adviser at the Chinese Embassy in France, "Chinese investors are targeting Marseille territory for 5 key reasons:
- Connection of infrastructure
- Circulation of funds
- Commercial channels
- The communion of spirits and peoples
Marseille is also the gateway between Europe and Africa, and can be a stepping stone between the Asian and European continents.”
Among franco-chinese investment projects in Marseille, the MIF68 is a good example. The Marseille International Fashion Center, the first wholesale centre for retailers, is expected to open in early 2018, spread out on 5 hectares.
Marseille is definitely the ideal candidate to join the Chinese project “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)” or “Silk Road Economic Belt”.