China Business Law Journal is pleased to present a country-by-country guide to investment in central and eastern Europe for Chinese companies.
Accession to EU: 2007
Population: 7.4 million
Together with Romania, Bulgaria is the easternmost of the CEE countries and its position near the Black Sea also makes it useful logistical point. There is a sense that Chinese investment is in its early stages but, as in other CEE countries, the Bulgarian government recognizes the potential of greater cooperation and partnership with China.
Georgi Spasov, managing partner of Spasov & Bratanov in Sofia, cites low cost as one of Bulgaria’s key competitive advantages. “It’s a cheap place to start investment in the EU,” he says. Tania Bouzeva, senior partner at Aliena Consulting in Sofia, agrees, explaining that Bulgaria offers the most competitive cost of labour in CEE and the lowest corporate income tax in the region, and that office rents in Bulgaria are also among the lowest in Europe. Bouzeva adds that the government also offer investment incentives in a number of areas, including R&D, manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, and high-tech services.
Diana Valkova, a partner at Dinova Rusev & Partners, describes how the Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motors is taking advantage of this and constructing a car manufacturing facility on a greenfield site. The project is being implemented in conjunction with the Bulgarian company Litex Motors. The value of the investment in the long term is reported to be around US$400 million.
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