As Part of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, from January 22 to 25, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze met with Zeng Qinghong, the Chairman of Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC). It was announced that the car manufacturing company will open an office in Georgia by the end of the year.
With more than 84,000 employees, Guangzhou Automobile Group is China’s leading car manufacturer. The company produces passenger cars under the Trumpchi brand, as well as commercial vehicles, SUVs, buses, and motorcycles. In 2012, GAC produced over 728,000 vehicles that were sold around the world. The group’s fixed capital is over $18 billion.
Qinghong and Bakhtadze discussed Georgia’s favourable investment environment as well as an initiative which offers considerable tax cuts to companies that operate regional offices in Georgia.
It is not the Prime Minister’s first meeting with Chinese businesses and investors. On January 22, he also met with Lyu Benxian, the President of the Chinese Misheng Investment Group, to discuss Georgia’s investment environment.
China is currently looking to develop its infrastructure and investments in Asia, Europe, and Africa as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. The development strategy, adopted by the Chinese government, should “construct a unified large market and make full use of both internal and domestic markets, through cultural exchange and integration,” said Professor Kuik Cheng-Chwee. The initiative should help “to enhance mutual understanding and trust of member nations, ending up in an innovative pattern with capital inflows, talent pool, and technology database.”
Bakhtadze spoke positively about Georgia-China relations. However, some critics of the Belt and Road Initiative consider it to be a step towards Chinese dominance in global affairs with a China centred trading route.
The establishment of a GAC office in Georgia will nonetheless create extra jobs and help to grow the Georgian economy. After opening the office, they will study Georgia’s environment before making decisions on investment and construction of sites.