China’s Future Investments To Come To Spain

Tourism spending in SpainTourists coming from Asia are interested in Spanish culture, historical heritage and the natural environment

Spain receives less investment from China due to its lack of knowledge of the market. The UK clocks up almost 20 billion dollars in investments from China, while Spain is behind countries like Hungary or Romania.

Qian Jiannong is deputy chairman of the Fosun group, amongst other things. This is a Chinese conglomerate which made 1.1 billion euros in 2015.

Fosun has strategic investments in numerous countries including, for example, in the emblematic Cirque du Soleil or the Greek watch brand Follie-Follie. So when will it be Spain’s turn, I ask him? Each year there are 100 million Chinese tourists, but only 300,000 land on our shores. “Now, with our partners Thomas Cook and Club Mediterranean, we want more Chinese tourists to visit Spain. But we are focusing on a more unconventional niche like rural tourism,” Jiannong says. Fosun recently bought out almost the entire Portuguese insurance sector for some 1  billion euros.

Products and services

Partly by using the capital available from the premiums, Fosun aims, in principle, to finance its expansion in Europe. Qian Jiannong assures that there is already a team in Spain on the trail of investment opportunities. And he admits to there being some fairly advanced deal in the pipeline, athough he cannot announce it yet. “Our model consists in special products and services which satisfy the new demand in China. For example, there is now big demand for olive oil, which we can sell on a massive scale via e-commerce ”

From what we can gather, Chinese companies are eyeing our food and agriculture sector. But not just that. It’s also well known that the China is interested in Spain’s ports. The Spanish embassy is handling information related to this subject via a variety of internal documents. And sources from China’s Committee for Purchasing and Logistics consulted by THE CORNER, have also confirmed this interest.

Up to now, it’s been Hong Kong-based Hutchison which has made the biggest bet on Spanish ports, with an important investment in Barcelona. But the busiest commercial ports in the Mediterranean are Valencia and Algeciras, which seems to suggest that China has its eye on one of those.

Going back to Fosun, it should perhaps be pointed out that Qian Jiannong is well known in the UK and the US, with his own profile on Bloomberg. And if Spain receives less investments from the group it’s because, he says, of a lack of knowledge of our market. Just a lack of knowledge. But one which is mutual, unlike other European countries.

For the time being, 2016 is going to be Italy’s year. Fosun will include 1,000 Italian companies on its platform so they can do business with top level Chinese businessmen.

Immediately after, 2017 could be Spain’s year…

*Image: Archive


About the Author

Alberto Lebrón
Alberto Lebrón is a founding partner of the blog China Capital and director of the programme Direct from Asia on International Radio. He is also an investigative economist for the Peking City University and has been a financial correspondent in the Asia-Pacific region since 2009.