Port city seeks to increase its appeal
said he expects Li’s visit will also attract more Chinese investment to the city, which has extensive road and air transportation infrastructure.
Being the largest commercial port in the Mediterranean and the third-largest in Europe, Marseille has many business links with China.
COSCO, the Chinese shipping and logistics services mega supplier, has cooperated with the port of Marseille, which has served as a container and transportation port for many years, Parakian said.
Marseille’s CMA CGM Group, the world’s third-largest shipping company, set up its first China office in Shanghai in 1992. It has developed its business and created strong relations with many Chinese companies, Parakian said.
Wiko Mobile, a popular smartphone in France, is owned by Shenzhen-based Tinno Mobile Technology, which is responsible for most design and production functions. Marseille and Shanghai have been sister cities since 1987.
“We have frequent exchange visits and have signed lots of economic cooperation agreements so far,” Parakian said, adding that the two cities also enjoy exchanges in education and sports.
Michel Gutsatz, director of the MBA program at Kedge Business School, which is based in Marseille and Bordeaux, said it was essential to enhance links with China.
“The issues facing the world today are significant. France and China have very critical roles to play here. France, which has a major role in the European Union, needs once again to strengthen its ties with China,” Gutsatz said.
Kedge has been one of the pioneers in educational cooperation, Gutsatz said, adding that “both governments have made education a major focus for the future”.
Premier Li Keqiang and his wife, Cheng Hong, are welcomed by Michel Cadot, prefect of France’s Bouches-du-Rhone region, after arriving at the Marseille airport on Wednesday.