“More Chinese companies are ready to choose Serbia as one of the main destinations as investment in Europe" - China Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo

“More Chinese companies are ready to choose Serbia as one of the main destinations as investment in Europe" - China Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo

China's Ambassador to Serbia says more companies from her country are ready to start business in the Balkan country as cooperation between the two States increases.

Beijing's representative to Belgrade, Chen Bo made her comments as interior components supplier, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI), which is Chinese-owned, opened its new plant at Kragujevac around 100 miles south of the Serbian capital.

"Kragujevac is a city famous for the automotive industry," said Bo as she helped to cut the ribbon on the ceremonial first part at the factory. "In the next four years, Yanfeng [intends] to open more than 700 posts [and] the value of production will reach EUR76m (US$84m).

"I am convinced the opening of this factory will benefit Yanfeng in Europe and the economic prosperity of Kragujevac. Yanfeng Serbia needed just several months until the beginning of operations.

"More Chinese companies are ready to choose Serbia as one of the main destinations as investment in Europe. As well as new Chinese companies, there will be even more new partners which will be involved in China-Serbia cooperation."

Politicians were heavily represented at the Yanfeng inauguration and in addition to the Chinese Ambassador, Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic and Kragujevac Mayor, Radomir Nikolic were also at the event.

Vucic underlined the importance of factories such as YFAI's Kragujevac plant opening as a key plank in the fight to drive down the former extremely high unemployment rate of nearly 25%, which has now fallen to below 10%, while economic growth may reach 4% this year.

The President cited a goal to bring unemployment down to the European Union average of between 6% and 7%, with Kragujevac Mayor, Radomir Nikolic, echoing the Head of State's optimistic comments.

"[A] developed economy allows us to elevate the quality of life," said Nikolic at the YFAI inauguration. "Kragujevac has gone through a very difficult period and the breakdown of the Serbian economy due to the crisis of the 1990s.

"We started from zero to develop [this] automotive factory and now this process is completely unstoppable. We are aware only hard work can elevate us from the ashes and there is the connection between industry and [the] education system.

"This factory will employ 800 people and 800 families will receive another salary."

President Vucic emphasised the 4% growth rate would be "drastically higher" than the IMF and the World Bank predicted for this year.

"It would bring us the new strength and an even higher momentum for increasing of salaries and pensions in a short period of time, but let us wait for a few weeks and see that," noted Vucic.

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