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An investment forum held by the Cyprus embassy in Beijing on Friday wooed wealthy potential Chinese investors and business migrants, offering many favorable policies.
The forum, entitled "Cyprus: An International Business Center & An Ideal Location for Investments and Tourism", gave visiting officials from Cyprus a comprehensive explanation of its attractive policies toward investment and immigration.
The strategic location of Cyprus at the crossroads of three continents gives investors easy access to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, said Panicos Kaouris, representative of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"We have the lowest tax rate in the EU," said Kaouris.
For those who want to emigrate to European countries, Cyprus also provides an inviting immigration policy. Buying a residential property worth at least 300,000 euros ($390,422), a non-EU property purchaser can get permanent residential approval, said Georgios Leptos, a member of the executive committee of the chamber of commerce.
Leptos said that a new fast-track procedure for permit approval is in place. Under the new procedure, it only takes prospective business migrants 30 to 50 days to get approvals.
They have sold more than 500 houses to buyers in the Chinese market since they entered China in May, said another chamber of commerce member.
Other factors that may be attractive to Chinese people include the lifestyle, the cleanest seas in Europe and safety: Cyprus has only one-sixth the average EU crime rate.
"I have been to Cyprus with many of my friends. What I care about is whether Cyprus can provide a Schengen visa," said Chang Luo, who did not wish to give his job title. The Schengen visa allows travelers to go to many European countries without making extra visa applications.
Cyprus ambassador Ioanna Malliotis said that although Cyprus has joined the EU, it is not yet a Schengen destination.