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Chile seeks to position itself on radar of Asia: Tempting Chinese investors

Not only Chinese products but also Chinese services and investment have made their way to a large part of the world. However, in the case of Chile, this road has not been opened with the same ease as in other countries. For this reason, the director of InvestChile, Carlos Álvarez, participated in a seminar about agriculture in China and afterwards signed an agreement with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), a Chinese business agency, that will support the country in its efforts to attract Chinese investment.

“Although it is true we have good commercial relations with China as our principal trading partner, the same is not true of investment since, despite a significant increase in Chinese investment in almost all the world, including Latin America, very little has reached Chile,” noted Álvarez.

He pointed out that the examples can, indeed, be counted on the fingers of one hand: the China Construction Bank and the acquisition of Pacific Hydro by SPIC. “There have been attempts to invest but they have not materialized. The fact is that Chinese companies are not very used to concessions systems, either for roads or energy or in other fields. They are more used to forming partnerships with governments and offering them construction services, acting as a sort of contractor, rather than investor, and, when they come to Chile, they try to play that role but realize that Chile functions differently and that they must invest and operate,” explained Álvarez.

In response, InvestChile has drawn up two strategies. One is to accompany Chinese companies in their process of familiarization and participation in tenders – “there are interested companies taking this route” – and, second, to seek to attract investment in priority areas such as healthy foods, global services, mining equipment and technologies and renewable energies. “Particularly in solar energy, where China is a world leader in the production of equipment and technology and where, for most Chinese companies, Chile is not even on the map, we are going to start with the Chile Week in September to identify Chinese companies and undertake focalized promotion,” announced Álvarez.

The director of InvestChile says that Chinese firms tend to act as contractors but, when they arrive in Chile, see a different system.