ECONOMY

Chinese eye sports venues

Chinese companies may undertake the management and development of Athens 2004 Olympic Games venues as part of the Asian country’s broader plans to boost investment in Greece, according to sources. The possibility of Chinese firms managing Greek government property will be discussed at a meeting between Wei Jiafu, the CEO of Cosco and senior member of the Chinese Communist Party, and Prime Minister George Papandreou, which is likely to take place in Athens in early February. China’s state-controlled Cosco, which has undertaken the Piraeus port’s cargo management services in a 35-year deal, is interested in boosting the strategic role played by Piraeus in transporting Chinese goods to Europe, according to sources. Among the investment options being considered by the Chinese is the construction of a train line linking Piraeus and the main network in order to transport cargo more quickly and efficiently, according to a government official. The promotion of Greece as a tourism destination for the Chinese will also be examined along with the possibility of the Chinese government purchasing Greek state bonds, the source added. The head of Cosco was expected to visit Athens in November but postponed his trip due to strike action by port employees, putting the brakes on further expansion plans by the Chinese company. Wei is also likely to meet with several Greek government ministers and senior industry representatives from Greece’s shipping sector, a major source of business for Chinese shipyards and transporter of Chinese goods around the world.