China Tianying, Farfetch, Super Bock, Keeway and two technology companies have been given awards by the Luso-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCILC), at a time when relations between Portugal and China are at a high point in their history, according to the authorities of the two countries.
The corporate merit awards were presented at the 5th Portugal-China Gala, which took place on 31 October in Lisbon, with awards to a Chinese investor – China Tianying, which acquired insurer Groupama Portugal – and a Portuguese investor – Farfetch, for its acquisition of CuriosityChina, an IT company specialised in the amplification of “premium” and luxury brands through Chinese digital platforms.
In the field of foreign trade, the CCILC awarded Portuguese beer brand Super Bock, which last year doubled its exports to China and this year launched a brand of beer exclusive for that market, and Keeway, for having increased sales by 57% of motorcycles in the Portuguese market in 2017, approaching the market leaders.
In the field of technologies, ZTE was awarded a prize, which has been increasing sales of its products, as well as the number of employees, and Portuguese company Aptoide, an online application store with offices in Shenzhen, which has reached the mark of 1 million devices manufactured in China with the application pre-installed on their software.
The event also included a roundtable of managers from both countries, highlighting the opportunities that were present, but also the difficulties faced by companies in the field.
Carlos Álvares, chairman of Banco Nacional Ultramarino (of the Portuguese state-owned group Caixa Geral de Depósitos) named some cases of success of Portuguese companies in China, including Super Bock, pharmaceutical company Hovione and Delta coffees, but stressed the “brutally competitive environment” that they face, which requires “strength” and investment capacity.
The BNU itself, he said, is an example of this because it competes with 28 banks and is “fortunately very profitable” in the small geographic market of Macau, which Portuguese companies should look to for the advantages it offers in terms of, “language, banks and legal framework,” that in some aspects are simpler than in Portugal.
“China chose this platform (Macau), so it would be a shame if Portugal did not take advantage. It is right there,” said the BNU chairman.
Álvares also highlighted the “huge infrastructure opportunity” created by the Belt and Road initiative, as well as the Greater Bay project involving 65 million consumers and 12% of Chinese GDP, bringing together nine cities in Guangdong Province and the special administrative regions of Macau and Hong Kong.
Investor Wu Zhiwei, vice-president of the CCILC, said the fact that he came from Macau was an advantage in adapting to the market in Portugal, where he has been investing in the wine sector and expressed confidence in the potential of the Portuguese economy.
The CCILC gala took place at a time when the commemorations of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Portugal and China are being prepared, and just over a month before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Lisbon.
Cai Run, China’s ambassador to Portugal, said the country is “attaching importance to Portugal in the construction of the Belt and Road,” and that it is “available to participate with Portugal” in this initiative, at a time when bilateral relations are at a high point in their history, with high level contacts and enhanced mutual trust.
According to Eurico Brilhante Dias, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Internationalisation, the visit by Xi Jinping is expected to bring a “new impetus in the bilateral strategic partnership,” with advances to deepen the already intense relationship, namely in the Belt and Road. (macauhub)