Cosco eye­ing Thri­a­sio Plain as site for Chi­nese shop­ping mall

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY ILIAS BELLOS

A Dragon Mart-styleshop­ping cen­ter fea­tur­ing Chi­nese prod­ucts could be con­structed close to Athens at the Thri­a­sio Freight Cen­ter plot that Chi­nese company Cosco has bid for.

Th­ese huge whole­sale malls filled with Chi­nese wares can be found in a num­ber of ci­ties around the world. Per­haps the best known is the 50,000-square me­ter Dragon Mart in Dubai, which has cost over $500 mil­lion in two de­vel­op­ment stages. The same group has also de­vel­oped sim­i­lar projects in Qatar and Bahrain, and is plan­ning an in­vest­ment of $180 mil­lion in Can­cun, Mex­ico. Panama’s Dragon Mart is still at an early stage, while there is also a pres­ence in the Nether­lands.

The en­tity be­hind th­ese de­vel­op­ments is China Ma­chin­ery & Elec­tronic Prod­ucts Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­ter, bet­ter known as Chi­namex, which of­ten im­ple­ments its in­vest­ments in co­op­er­a­tion with lo­cal groups and con­struc­tion com­pa­nies. It is also sup­ported by the Chi­nese Min­istry of Com­merce as a plat­form pro­mot­ing the Asian coun­try’s ex­ports.

The business plan for the de- vel­op­ment fo­cuses on the cre­ation of per­ma­nent re­gional trade shows at key ge­o­graph­i­cal points where prod­ucts can be pro­moted to the mar­kets of the broader re­gion.

“This brings Chi­nese prod­ucts close to their mar­kets and re­duces costs con­sid­er­ably for the po­ten­tial cus­tomers of Chi­nese groups,” a source fa­mil­iar with the plan­ning for the Greek Dragon Mart ex­plained to Kathimerini.

Head­ing the Chi­namex group is Hao Feng, who has now be­come one of the big­gest in­ter­na­tional in­vestors in com­mer­cial prop­er­ties, even if that draws re­ac­tions from the lo­cal business as­so­ci­a­tions and cham­bers. Such was the case in Mex­ico, where lo­cal in­ter­ests are very sus­pi­cious about the mass in­flow of cheap com­pe­ti­tion that such projects en­tail.

Dragon Marts vary, as in some cases they in­volve en­ter­tain­ment and re­tail com­merce cen­ters, also host­ing in­ter­na­tional brands such as McDon­alds. This is the case in the sec­ond phase of de­vel­op­ment at the Dragon Mart in Dubai.

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