Portugal’s economic portal “goes Chinese”

As even bankers have started warning of the advance of China into the national economy, Portugal’s Economy Probe (PEP) – the website given over to explaining everything about the country’s financial system – has “gone Chinese”.
Portugal Funds People website reveals today that “from now, the PEP can be consulted in the Chinese language”.

The presentation of the Chinese version of the portal was made earlier this week in the presence of deputy PM Paulo Portas, ambassador of the People’s Republic of China Huang Songfu and president of the Orient Foundation Carlos Monjardino.

PEP coordinator Miguel Athayde de Marques said the free service offers a “powerful tool” to China’s “economic agents” looking for potential investments.

“We hope this innovative global channel …. will contribute to strengthening the economic and commercial ties between Portuguese countries and the People’s Republic of China,” he continued.

It is a hope that has also generated controversy as businessmen see Portugal used more and more as what one banker called last week “an aircraft carrier into Europe”.

Blogs, satirical columns and people in general are becoming increasingly aware that China has “moved in on Portugal” and is here to stay.

Two huge Chinese groups – Wanda and Anbang – are said to be “preparing significant investments” to be announced “even this year”, writes Correio da Manhã’s columnist Miguel Ganhão, who claims the Chinese are even “becoming a motor in the recovery of the construction sector”.

Portuguese company Idealmed SGPS, run by Carlos Dias, recently forged a lucrative deal to build 25 luxury hospitals in China, he claims. Each unit “is worth €50 million”, and that’s “just the beginning”, he adds.

The collaboration “which involved the prime minister Passos Coelho” was signed “discreetly” at the end of last summer.

In the meantime, Wanda – purportedly the “world’s largest owner and operator of commercial real estate’ – is interested in property deals here, including the buying of two Algarve estates owned by bankrupt property mogul Aprígio Santos, and Anbang, a heavyweight in insurance, is preparing to move into “the financial sector”.

National press reports have repeatedly cited Anbang as one of the major contenders in the bidding for Novo Banco, the €4 billion ‘minimum price tag’ of which has put off almost all the banking institutions initially interested.

[email protected]