Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is considering building a logistical base nearby the Bulgarian coastal city of Burgas. The announcement was made by Stamen Yanev, director of the Bulgarian Investment Agency, following a meeting with the Chinese company.
Burgas has the second biggest harbour in Bulgaria, and would be connected to the Chinese city of Zhengzhou by a train line operated by the state-owned Chinese company Zhengzhou International Hub Development and Construction and the Bulgarian logistical firm Despred. The two signed an agreement last month.
Burgas would be the first European destination of the cargo line, which would begin in the Chinese province of Henan and would have to run through a gamut of countries including Kazakhstan, Russia, Georgia and Turkey or Ukraine.
In a separate development, investors from the Chinese city of Shenzhen are considering a plan to finance an "economic city" near Plovdiv in central Bulgaria, according to the Sofia daily newspaper 24 Hours.
This is not the first time Chinese investors have voiced their interest in large-scale projects in Bulgaria that were later been abandoned for different reasons– Novinite
The project, which would be undertaken as part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme, was discussed at a meeting on Monday, 4 April, between Plovdiv officials and entrepreneurs from the city.
One of the aims of the project would be to turn Plovdiv, which is Bulgaria’s second city, into a distribution hub for Chinese goods in Europe and the Middle East. Shenzhen is Hong Kong’s next-door neighbour and a major export centre for China’s manufactured goods.
The meeting brought together city officials and business representatives from Shenzhen.
The Sofia website Balkan Insight said one of the main Chinese firms involved was a developer called Porter City Holdings. Chen Zongzhan, the company’s chairman, was reported as saying he hoped the project would be completed in three years with the full support of the Plovdiv Municipality and the Bulgarian authorities.
If the city does go ahead it may form an extension to the Traika Economic Zone, an industrial area established by Panchev in 2013 that has received public investment. Â
Bulgarian officials say as many as 100 companies from 28 states have factories and warehouses in the zone.
The Sofia news agency Novinite notes that no official agreements were announced, and it adds: "This is not the first time Chinese investors have voiced their interest in large-scale projects in Bulgaria that were later been abandoned for different reasons."
Photograph: Burgas harbour is the second largest in Bulgaria (Burgas Port)