ECONOMY

Cosco eyeing Thriasio Plain as site for Chinese mall

A Dragon Mart-style shopping center featuring Chinese products could be constructed close to Athens at the Thriasio Freight Center plot that Chinese company Cosco has bid for.

These huge wholesale malls filled with Chinese wares can be found in a number of cities around the world. Perhaps the best known is the 50,000-square meter Dragon Mart in Dubai, which has cost over $500 million in two development stages. The same group has also developed similar projects in Qatar and Bahrain, and is planning an investment of $180 million in Cancun, Mexico. Panama’s Dragon Mart is still at an early stage, while there is also a presence in the Netherlands.

The entity behind these developments is China Machinery & Electronic Products Exhibition Center, better known as Chinamex, which often implements its investments in cooperation with local groups and construction companies. It is also supported by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce as a platform promoting the Asian country’s exports.

The business plan for the development focuses on the creation of permanent regional trade shows at key geographical points where products can be promoted to the markets of the broader region.

“This brings Chinese products close to their markets and reduces costs considerably for the potential customers of Chinese groups,” a source familiar with the planning for the Greek Dragon Mart explained to Kathimerini.

Heading the Chinamex group is Hao Feng, who has now become one of the biggest international investors in commercial properties, even if that draws reactions from the local business associations and chambers. Such was the case in Mexico, where local interests are very suspicious about the mass inflow of cheap competition that such projects entail.

Dragon Marts vary, as in some cases they involve entertainment and retail commerce centers, also hosting international brands such as McDonalds. This is the case in the second phase of development at the Dragon Mart in Dubai.