On October 11, Sanya announced an exciting new collaboration in Serbian-China relations, with the establishment of the Serbia (Sanya) International Business Service Point.
“According to the cooperation agreement signed between the two sides, the China-Serbia Exchange Center is expected to become a comprehensive communication link between Sanya City and other parts of Hainan Free Trade Port and Serbia” reported Sanya Daily.
This is a forerunner to the exciting plans of the Sanya Investment Promotion Bureau to build a 12,000-square-meters international cultural and trade exchange center in Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City. The Serbia service point will be the first national service to settle in the exchange center.
Sanya expatriates who would like to see their country get involved with the investment park in Yazhou Bay can look to Josip Glusac’s example, who was a starting link to the Sanya and Serbian Cooperation.
Of his involvement, Glusac told us, “I’m good friends with the director of the Sanya Investment Promotion Bureau, and so when he told me about this project, I decided my connections could help and got involved.”
Glusac is the General Manager of Aoluola Internatoinal Trade and Sanya Gabriel Import & Export Company. His network in China built over more than a decade led to fruitful gain for Sanya.
“I contacted a few embassies and chambers of commerce. When I got in contact with the Serbian consulate, they were very excited and delighted to get involved.”
Serbia has an estimated population of 6.8 million with key industries including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, machine and construction.
Glusac commented that more countries are currently in talks and intend to get involved, leading to advantages for expat and local companies alike.
“The main benefit is that many countries will be represented in one place, and so there will be an opportunity to have double-sided cooperation. China obviously being one country but a Chinese company can connect with multiple sides and countries,” Glusac said.
Glusac attended the October 11 signing event that welcomed Serbia’s Vice Consul to China, Sasa Jeremic, and Director of the Shanghai Representative Office of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, Jelena Grubor Stefanovic.
From right, Josip Glusac, Jelena Grubor Stefanovic, Vice Consul Sasa Jeremic along with members of the Sanya Investment Promotion Bureau. Screenshot via Audiovisual Sanya
Stefanovic kindly accepted That’s interview to find out what Hainan expats could expect from this new key collaboration.
“We envisage these five areas of cooperation going forward: tourism, agriculture, trade and investment, high technology industry cooperation, and culture and sports.”
For tourism, Stefanovic mentioned Hainan is still relatively unknown to the Serbian public, but that their chamber of commerce planned to “help promote and raise awareness about Sanya to our tour operators and tourist agencies.”
“Serbia, on the other hand as a landlocked country can also offer different type of tourism for Chinese outbound travelers from Hainan. Serbia is the only country in Europe that does not require visas for Chinese citizens which is an important aspect of this area for cooperation.”
With Yazhou Bay being an important base for seed technologies and storage, it is no surprise that Stefanovic mentioned plans surrounding this industry. She mentioned the 2019 bilateral economic and cultural exchange agreement signed between “Hainan Province and Vojvodina Autonomous Province of Serbia, which is the biggest agricultural region in Serbia.”
“We have had now a first round of cooperation discussion between Hainan JOINHOPE Agricultural Scientific Research and Serbian National Institute for Grains and Crops in the field of joint corn crop seed and other new seeds research and development in form of a joint venture.”
Yazhou Bay has made news in recent months in their success with soy beans and setting up an international seed industry center. Stefanovic pointed to this as China’s encouragement for “technological innovation to boost domestic supplies of high-quality seeds, often called ‘agriculture microchips’.”
As to trade, Stefanovic said the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Consulate are working with two other organizations to set up a Serbian Flagship Store in Haikou to bring 50 Serbian brands into China.
With Hainan offering tax incentives, access to ASEAN and RCEP, Stefanovic has a positive outlook on the area. “Hainan is becoming the best new place for foreign investors and CEO’s to be based in China – and our office will work closely with Sanya Investment and Trade Promotion Bureau to promote Sanya as the up-and-coming key trade and investment destination in Serbia and the region.”
“As Serbia has always been a fertile ground for innovation, for starters – think Nikola Tesla - we are making this also an area for cooperation because knowledge and technology transfer is key for economic development. We expect many of our highly qualified talents to take advantage of all the benefits offered under FTZ and bring here and further develop their science and technology ideas.”
Those wanting to attract Serbians to Sanya should note that overall, high income is not the determining factor for most Serbians when considering an area in China. “Our culture is very outgoing, hospitable and we are close nit to our families and friends – making overall quality of life an important aspect for choosing location.”
Stefanovic pointed to Serbia’s contribution to China’s top sports, with Serbians holding positions in tennis, soccer, basketball and others. This was a nod to sports being an important area of bilateral development and another aspect that makes Sanya a shining destination due to its warm weather, perfect for year-round sports enjoyment.
Finally, Serbians might be expected to bring their culinary arts to Sanya if the conditions are right, which would bring more talent and make current internationals even more happy with expanding choices.
“Shanghai’s recently-opened Serbian restaurant, Yugo Grill, has become a key focal point for Serbians all over China. They come to hangout and enjoy delicious Serbian food we all miss. Many come from all over China to Shanghai just for the restaurant, so we do hope to also see a Sanya edition of Yugo Grill sometime soon,” Stefnovic ended.
We reached out to Yugo Grill to see if internationals in Sanya could expect good news as our colleagues in Shanghai are already enjoying their fare.
Lines drawn to Shanghai’s Yugo Grill after only a month’s time of opening. Images by Sophie Steiner/That’s
Yugo Grill responded that they’re definitely planning to open shops in other parts of China, with Sanya definitely being on the list. An exact timeline is unknown.
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[Cover image via Sanya Daily]
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