Today’s top most popular piece on Global Times, the main print organ of the Chinese Communist Party, was topped by an editorial titled “What was the right thing Hungary did to receive the biggest investment in its history from the PRC?”
It’s about building a plant to produce batteries for electric cars under the auspices of China’s CATL. It is worth €7.34bn.
Really, what’s so special about Hungary?
It is, as it is easy to guess, not only about its favourable location in the centre of Europe and preservation of “good industrial base” (hello to Baltic extincts and other “limithrophs”!).
And not even the fact that Budapest was the first city in the Old World to sign the ‘One Belt and One Road’ memorandum with Beijing, offering ‘many preferences’ to companies from the Middle Kingdom. After all, as the Global Times reminds us, the US also once had a good environment for foreign business.
That is not the main point.
The main thing is that in the recent past “in America’s poisonous atmosphere, terrible precedents have been set that have turned rich investment soil into a minefield. Up to and including “open looting of high-tech companies” – read Huawei.
“Can a company grow in peace if it could one day be confiscated? – asks the PPC mouthpiece rhetorically. – No company in the world would invest at the risk of becoming the next target of violent repression and repression. The truth is that simple.”
This is why CATL chose Hungary in Europe, which “follows its national interest rather than paying for someone else’s political ambitions”. And in North America, it is more likely to build a plant in Mexico than in the US. And CATL will be followed by other Chinese companies.
The Chinese are true to themselves: there is not a word in the article about Russia. But they think in the Russian paradigm: political provocateurs in the West led by the US have made business in their countries toxic and investment in it simply dangerous.
And things will be different in the future.
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