Business / Industries

Poland remains a spring of hope for business

By Fu Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2012-04-27 09:40

Poland remains a spring of hope for business

Wholesaler Wang Yibin, of China, is at his shop in Warsaw's Asian Goods Distribution Center. [Photo / China Daily] 

Chinese wholesalers in Poland are keeping their heads above water much better than their counterparts in other European countries.

Poland's sustained economic growth is making most of their small businesses profitable while in those crisis-stricken countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal have had to close up shop and head back home.

Or to Poland.

"This trend has reduced our profits," said Wang Yibin in his 120-square-meter shop in Eastern Europe's biggest Asian goods distribution center, about 30 km from downtown Warsaw.

The center, set up with Chinese investment, hosts about 1,000 companies from various countries, nearly half from Asia.

After the financial crisis hit in 2008, the center attracted new wholesalers from other countries because Poland was the only country in the EU that realized economic growth.

And it still has that momentum.

Wang left China in 1992 for Russia and then did business in Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary before settling down in Poland seven years ago. He said his business was very successful at first but went flat after Poland joined the EU as more Asian wholesalers swarmed into the country.

Along the road from the center to downtown, business signs in Chinese and Polish can be easily spotted. In Warsaw there is an outlet filled with Chinese clothes, household appliances and other daily necessities.

According to Wang, Poland and other countries in Eastern Europe are largely friendly to them.

"Compared with our plight in Russia, it is much better," said Wang, adding that a few Russians had beaten him during his stay there in the early 1990s.

Yet Wang still struggles with complicated legal documents, which are not in his mother tongue. Even if he is allowed to register and set up a company in Poland, the Ministry of Civil Affairs may not grant an identify card.

"This is always a headache for us and it takes a lot of time for us to solve this kind of problem," said Wang.

Poland has eased visa requirements for business investors in high-end or capital sectors. Yet for Chinese shopkeepers and their families, especially those from South China, regulations can still be tight.

"I tried to invite my wife and kids to come but failed," said Wang, who is now an adviser of the Polish Chinese Association of Fujian Province.

"Polish immigration authorities are afraid that my family will not return to China once they come for a family visit, which is unfair."

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