ECONOMY

Samaras meets with heads of ZTE, Google

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras held meetings on Thursday with the chairmen of two of the world’s biggest companies, ZTE Corporation and Google, as part of an ongoing bid to attract more foreign direct investment to the country.

ZTE Chairman Hou Weigui formally informed the prime minister of the Chinese company’s intention to create between 400 and 600 jobs at the port of Piraeus through the firm’s investments. He announced that ZTE will use Piraeus as the main transit center for its products in Europe, just as US company Hewlett Packard also decided a few months ago.

However, most of the new jobs will come from the creation of a repairs and returns center for the company’s fixed telephony products, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014. Hou also informed the government that ZTE is planning to turn its Greek base into its central customer service point for the whole of Europe.

Representatives of the Chinese technological firm submitted a summary of the business plan for the two investments ZTE is planning for in Piraeus to the prime minister as well as to Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and his deputy, Notis Mitarakis, who were present at the meeting.

“Mr Samaras is very supportive of the projects we intend to implement. We believe they will also help the country’s economy and offer 400 to 600 new jobs,” said Hou on his way out of the PM’s office. “We are confident we will achieve a very good result.”

Hatzidakis spoke of “positive news” which illustrates that the “sacrifices of Greek citizens are paying off as they are reflected in the confidence that respectable international investors are showing.” Mitarakis added that Greece “is in a strategic location as the entry point to the European Union. It is this very strategic spot that we are making the most of through specific projects, such as those which ZTE is announcing.”

ZTE is one of the five biggest telecommunication equipment companies in the world, with a client base of more than 500 telecom providers around the globe and a presence in 140 countries.

Samaras also met with the executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, in the context of the latter’s visit in Greece to address a seminar of the US Internet company on start-ups at the Athens Concert Hall.