Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Greece from November 10th to 12th at the invitation of the President of Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos, it was officially announced on Thursday.
Xi’s visit follows Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ visit to China earlier in the week.
According to the Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) Xi’s visit highlights China’s renewed interest in Greece.
Greek government sources are indicating that Mitsotakis made a visit to Shanghai to “reintroduce” Greece to the Chinese market and persuade Chinese investors that Greece offers great investment opportunities the world.
They point out that the fact that two large Chinese banks – not just by Chinese standards but on a global scale – have announced plans to open up branches in Athens is a very important development.
The Bank of China will open up a branch in Athens in November while the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is expected to follow suit soon after.
Furthermore, the Chinese online platform Alibaba, with its 700-million-strong customer base, will also include Greek products on their site.
The direct air link between the Greek capital and Shanghai with Chinese airline Juneyao, commencing next summer, is also expected to attract more Chinese tourists to Greece. Mitsotakis estimated that the number of tourists from the Asian country traveling to Greece will soon reach half a million.
Regarding Cosco, the huge Chinese conglomerate which operates the port of Piraeus, the government greenlighted the company’s new master plan. They added that everything will be done with the consent of the local community and with respect for the environment.
In Shanghai, the Prime Minister’s contacts with the ZTE telecommunications company as well as with representatives of other major Chinese firms demonstrate the strong Chinese interest, and confidence, in the Greek market.