The size of the Chinese community in Greece has shrunk by half over the past 15 years, dropping to some 10,000 people, Xu Weichun, the president of the Chinese trade and cultural association in Greece, said last week.
During a meeting with Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, Xu said that the turnover of Chinese businesses in the debt-hit country has dropped by 50 percent over the same period.
However, as consumer traffic wanes locally, a considerable number of Chinese businessmen are turning to exports. Wine and saffron are two of the most popular goods for which they have found a market in China.
During the meeting with Kaminis — which was also attended by China?s Ambassador to Athens Du Qiwen — a team of Chinese representatives asked the municipality to provide help with the movement of businesspeople and the transfer of goods in a bid to encourage exports to Asia.
While relations between the Chinese community and the local population have traditionally been harmonious, the president of Chinese Women in Greece, Susana Xueyan, said at the same meeting that Chinese who live and work here are more concerned than ever about the issue of security.
Chinese-owned shops are mostly located in run-down areas of the capital and are often targeted by criminals.
?Greeks and Chinese immigrants will overcome the crisis together,? Xueyan said.
The mayor assured the delegation that ensuring public safety is a top priority for the local authorities.