By Vangelis Mandravelis
Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE’s cargo transit center at Cosco’s installations in Piraeus will start operating on Thursday. The purpose of the center is to cover ZTE’s needs in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Russia.
The agreement, signed on Wednesday in the presence of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, provides initially for the creation of a logistics center which will later also be developed into a light manufacturing plant for the repair of products. ZTE also foresees an assembly line for the company’s telecom products.
The first step in that direction was completed with the signing of the agreement between ZTE Hellas and Cosco in Piraeus which formally makes the Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT) the Chinese company’s logistics center for 13 Southeast European countries, these being Greece, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.
This forms part of the agreement signed last year in Beijing between ZTE Corporation and the Greek government during Samaras’s official visit to China last May.
“Today’s agreement affirms the company’s confidence in the Greek economy and its commitment to invest in the Greek market,” stated ZTE Corp Vice President Zhou Jianfeng. He described the investment as part of a long-term project that is seen creating an estimated 400 to 600 jobs up to its completion, scheduled for about three years from now.
“The next stages of the investment include the creation of a repair and returns center for the broader region of Southeast Europe and its evolution later into an assembly line,” he added.
Samaras publicly thanked the senior ZTE official for sticking to his pledges made last year, saying that “such investments and business cooperations are the only remedy for unemployment” and adding that “there are no magical solutions.”
For now the bulk of products coming from China to Piraeus will be destined for Hungary, where ZTE has its European distribution center for cell phones.