China is increasingly interested in Central and Eastern European trade, but investors will have to navigate changing financial and regulatory currents in this surprisingly diverse region, writes George W Russell
With its traditional markets such as the US and the EU members stuck in neutral, the economies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are hoping the China powerhouse will help drive them out of their rut.
China has signalled it is increasingly interested in CEE. The attractions include low taxes, a well educated workforce but with factory wages about a fifth of those in Germany, and access to the EU single market. That makes the region an ideal bridgehead into the rest of Europe.
In August this year, Premier Li Keqiang visited Serbia, saying the government would support Chinese companies investing in the region, and welcoming more products from those countries into the Chinese market. Last year, Beijing promised a US$10 billion credit line to the region for joint investment projects in infrastructure and technology.