Spain sees positive economic growth from Chinese investment


Spain last year saw investment from Chinese companies reach nearly two billion US dollars, at the same time as some indicators showing the country is bouncing back.

The country's economy expanded by 3.2 percent last year, one of the highest numbers registered in the euro zone, despite the country is still being rebuilt following the financial crisis.

Part of the reason behind that is a four-fold increase in Chinese investment -- a trend that was acknowledged at a KPMG event in Madrid.

"The role of China is very positive here in Spain. When we see the manner in which Chinese investments are increasing internationally, we need to see similar rises in Spain and we have to speak with the Chinese government about what we can do to make Spain more attractive to potential investors," said Maria Luisa Poncela, Spain's Secretary of Trade.

Chinese investment in Spain started later than in other parts of Europe, but it has been growing on the fast track, according to Ivana Casaburi, the author of an annual economic report released by Spanish business school ESADE.

"The company relationship started a little bit later than other European countries. Really Spain, the position of Spain nowadays is only the third country more attractive for a Chinese company in the Southern European countries. But the investment is growing more and more," she said.

Adding to the investment picture is the presence of Chinese companies establishing operations in Spain.

Technology companies, including Huawei, are among those to have a centre in Spain, along with logistic companies such as COSCO.

"We are in regular contact with our headquarters in Shanghai trying to explain to them, trying to bring their interest in order to expand their investments in Spain and this is the process we are doing right now," said Albert Onate, Spain Director General of COSCO Shipping.

Although China's investment in Spain began slowly, many in the European country see an upward trend continuing into the future.

"I would say that investment opportunities. People will be pointing their guns at Spain, pointing their investment arms at Spain, therefore the inertia will bring in more investment just by the fact that this is where the growth is at the moment," said David Hohn, a partner of KPMG Spain.

To boost this business upturn, a direct freight train linking China and Spain was launched in 2014.

As the longest railway route in the world, it runs between Yiwu city in eastern China and the Spanish capital Madrid in 21 days.

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