China is interested in the Astana financial center as a "entrance point" in the region – experts

The interest of Chinese investors in projects in the countries of the Eurasian region is constantly growing – the former Deputy head of the global business development Department of the Shanghai stock exchange, the current operational Director of the new exchange of the international financial center "Astana" Sam won recently stated in an interview with the Russian media. The Chinese want to invest in Eurasia – this territory is strategic for China, major infrastructure projects are being implemented within the framework of the "Belt and Road", opening the way for Chinese exports to Europe and the growing markets of the EAEU. Our experts note that the interest here is mutual – not only the Chinese need to invest in promising projects, but also Russian companies need money for development. The whole question is how to simplify the receipt of Chinese money by Russian companies.

"Chinese investors and companies may be interested in any projects that can make a profit and develop the country's economy. The fact is that many Chinese companies because of the peculiarities of the legislation cannot expand, to implement large projects in the domestic market, - says the first Vice-President of "OPORA Russia" Pavel Sigal. - For this reason, the Chinese construction business is entering, for example, the markets of Africa, South America, where it is engaged in the construction of transport and infrastructure facilities; it is interested in other regions".

The territory of Eurasia is especially important for China, because all six transport corridors of the new silk road – the Chinese infrastructure initiative, which has already become global-pass through it. However, the difficulty is that Chinese business today has little idea how to invest outside of China, what is the business of the countries of the Eurasian region, how to work with it.

The establishment of the Astana International financial center (AIFC) is aimed at eliminating these difficulties. The financial center should become a meeting place for Chinese and other global investors and businesses from Russia, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan and other countries of the region. The financial center, where English law is applied, has preferential tax and simplified visa regimes, started working about a year ago and has already attracted about a hundred companies as participants. In November, the new exchange of the financial center held its first placement – IPO was held by the largest player of the world uranium industry "Kazatomprom". Experts estimate the timing of the establishment of the financial center as very short.

Close cooperation of the AIFC with Chinese government agencies makes possible the arrival of Chinese investments in the region.

"Three years ago, no one believed that it would be possible to create a platform in Kazakhstan, working according to international rules, or that in a short period of time the AIFC would be able to establish cooperation with Chinese regulators, without the approval of which foreign investment was impossible. The memoranda signed by the commissions on regulation of securities, as well as on regulation of banking and insurance activities of China, open the EAEU market to a wide range of investors from this country, including the largest state banks", - Sam UN notes.

To further simplify the work of the Chinese in the region, THE AIFC exchange creates a platform for trading in yuan, which is seen as the most optimal currency for projects implemented under the new silk road, and a marketplace where investors and projects can find each other. Russian business notes that the presence of an intermediary in relations with Chinese investors would be beneficial to both sides.

"Chinese investments are certainly of interest to Russian companies: China has moved from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy, and it is extremely important to bring investors to Russia, with the help of which this breakthrough was made. However, it is important to make sure that start-ups, despite foreign investments, remain Russian, so that the transfer of technologies is observed, - said Renat Mustafayev, the managing Director for the strategy of the SEZ 'Technopolis "Moscow". - The platform, which would reduce the distance between small and medium-sized businesses in Russia and Chinese investors, can be very popular, provided that it will work sinologists with a narrow business expertise".

To reduce the distance between Chinese investments and the economies of the EAEU in the AIFC, according to Sam Uon, a special project office of the "Belt and Road Initiative" will be created, which will cooperate, on the one hand, with Chinese investors investing their money in infrastructure projects in the Eurasian region, and on the other hand – with the operators of these projects.

"The Astana financial center, which is included in the orbit of the Belt and Road initiative, recognized as a priority in Kazakhstan, Russia and many EAEU countries, is attractive for Chinese investors, - the head of the Russian-Chinese analytical center Sergey Sanakoev emphasizes. - A country that actively exports capital, such sites allow to simplify and accelerate access to new markets. The fact that in General, the Eurasian-Chinese integration is actively supported by the heads of States of the region, guarantees a quick solution to all issues".