China-Hungary Ties: More cooperation coming in several sectors
Hungary is moving to strengthen its cooperation with China in a variety of sectors including infrastructure, finance, agriculture and aviation. ICS correspondent He Jian has more from Shanghai.
Hungary was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with China. It was also the first European country to sign a memorandum of understanding with China for the promotion of President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative. Last year, bilateral trade between China and Hungary exceeded 10 billion US dollars, up more than 14 percent from the previous year. The consul general said bilateral cooperation has deepened since the European debt crisis in 2008.
SZILARD BOLLA CONSUL GENERAL OF HUNGARY IN SHANGHAI "In 2010, the Hungarian government set up a new policy which is called opening to the east. And right after that later, there comes Belt and Road Initiative. These two initiatives are something meeting in the middle. This is why we can see there is huge development, especially compared to the previous decades. Furthermore, all economy policies went into fostering and incentivizing companies which would like to set up European operation in Hungary.
Shanghai Feilo Acoustics Holding Company, the first joint-stock listed company of China, relocated the global headquarters of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Feilo Sylvania, from London to Budapest in 2017. The company is now working on smart city projects with governments in Hungary, Serbia, Malaysia and the Philippines to help save energy, protect the environment and improve city management.
DAVIS YIN, GENERAL MANAGER SH FEILO INVESTMENT CO., LTD. "We already installed these advantaged street lights in Hungary, in our Europe base. We think this country (has very high) government efficiency, economy more active, and also we can get more marketing feedback especially in the East Europe. We can get a lot of chances to find our better partners in Hungary, and Hungary is a window. We open this door, we can find more and more opportunities in other countries."
In 2014, China, Hungary and Serbia signed a memorandum in the Serbian capital of Belgrade, and agreed on a project to build a high-speed railway between Belgrade and Budapest. It's one of the flagship projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. The high-speed rail link is expected to cut travel time between the cities by more than half. After two years of delays, construction of the Serbian section started last November. Construction on the Hungarian section is expected to start in 2020.
SZILARD BOLLA CONSUL GENERAL OF HUNGARY IN SHANGHAI "Pulling this high-speed train and making it a completion is going to certainly help for our nation's goal to reach other market. I think it's a win-win for both European and Chinese companies."
The direct flight launched between Beijing and Budapest in 2016 has led to a 40 percent increase in Chinese tourists to Hungary. Now the consul general said he is working on opening a direct flight from Shanghai to Budapest.