Sino-Lithua­nian ties to see fur­ther boost

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Business - By LIU YUKUN li­uyukun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and Lithua­nia are ex­pected to strengthen co­op­er­a­tion in the fin­tech, avi­a­tion and other sec­tors through mu­tual agree­ments, in­clud­ing deals for more di­rect flights be­tween the two na­tions, ac­cord­ing to a top-rank­ing Lithua­nian of­fi­cial.

Vir­gini­jus Sinke­vi­cius, min­is­ter of econ­omy for Lithua­nia, said the Baltic na­tion was look­ing to at­tract­ing more in­vest­ment from Chi­nese fin­tech com­pa­nies with data cen­ter in­vest­ments and the cre­ation of a more fa­vor­able (busi­ness) en­vi­ron­ment.

It is also look­ing to cash in through sim­pli­fied busi­ness pro­ce­dures to pro­vide fast ac­cess to the EU mar­ket as well as show­case its sand­box ca­pa­bil­i­ties, which en­able com­pa­nies to test prod­ucts in real time con­di­tions, said Sinke­vi­cius.

Till date, Lithua­nia has ap­proved sim­pli­fied pro­ce­dures in li­cense ap­pli­ca­tion for e-money and pay­ment ser­vice providers. Its sand­box prin­ci­ple has also been an ac­tive prac­tice for in­cu­bat­ing fin­tech star­tups. Other perks in­clude lower taxes and startup visa op­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port from finex­tra, an in­de­pen­dent newswire based in Lon­don, li­cense ap­pli­ca­tions for e-pay­ment ser­vices are ap­proved in un­der three months in Lithua­nia, sig­nif­i­cantly faster than other Euro­pean coun­tries.

The pref­er­en­tial poli­cies have proven ef­fec­tive, with for­eign firms ac­count­ing for nearly half of the 30 newly-es­tab­lished fin­tech firms in Lithua­nia in 2017, said a re­port from DELFL, a ma­jor in­ter­net por­tal in the Baltic re­gion.

“We want to be the gate­way to Europe for our part­ners in Asia,” said Sinke­vi­cius.

Wang Jian, an ex­pert in cross-bor­der e-com­merce and a pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness and Eco­nomics in Beijing, said that Lithua­nia’s friendly poli­cies will create sev­eral in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for Chi­nese fin­tech com­pa­nies.

Wang said the e-pay­ment sec­tor faces con­stant chal­lenges as cen­tral and east Euro­pean coun­tries of­ten raise con­cerns about risks aris­ing from it and im­pose some re­stric­tions.

“With more coun­tries across the world rec­og­niz­ing e-pay­ment ser­vices, many Chi­nese traders and trav­el­ers are switch­ing to such modes of pay­ment. At­tract­ing Chi­nese fin­tech in­vestors and com­pa­nies is a faster way of de­vel­op­ing the in­dus­try, as Chi­nese fin­tech de­vel­op­ment is lead­ing in the world,” he said.

“Chi­nese fin­tech com­pa­nies can also in­crease their in­ter­na­tional pres­ence in the sec­tor, and seek more co­op­er­a­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties by set­ting up branches in cen­tral and east Euro­pean coun­tries. How­ever, risk man­age­ment may still prove to be a ma­jor chal­lenge,” said Wang.

Apart from the fa­vor­able fin­tech busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, Lithua­nia’s well-de­vel­oped lo­gis­tics net­works can also help boost bi­lat­eral ties, said Sinke­vi­cius.

“We have fan­tas­tic in­fra­struc­ture in lo­gis­tics: Roads, rail­way, … and Klaipeda, the big­gest sea­port in Baltic sea in terms of cargo,” said Sinke­vi­cius, who also men­tioned that Lithua­nia’s well-de­vel­oped lo­gis­tics net­work can ben­e­fit from Chi­napro­posed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

“It would help to grow our lo­gis­tics sec­tor … so Lithua­nia is re­ally pos­i­tive about this ini­tia­tive,” said Sinke­vi­cius.

“We also hope to ex­port more beef, poul­try, fish and grain prod­ucts to China,” he said.

In 2017, China’s im­ports from Lithua­nia stood at $260 mil­lion, up 55.6 per­cent year-onyear. Bi­lat­eral trade be­tween the two coun­tries stood at $1.86 bil­lion, up 27.5 per­cent from the same pe­riod a year ago.

Ma Shuyuan con­trib­uted to the story.

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