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Visit promises a plethora of deals covering trade, education

(China Daily)

08:24, October 31, 2011

BEIJING - Chinese enterprises see Austria as land of opportunity, as trade with the country is increasing at a fast clip despite the global economic slowdown.

President Hu Jintao started a four-day visit to Austria on Sunday on his way to attend the G20 summit in Cannes, France.

During his stay, a series of cooperative agreements will be signed between the two sides in areas such as education, environmental protection, new energy, hydropower and culture.

One of China's largest producers of electrical motors, Wolong Electric Group, announced this week that it has invested 102 million euros ($144 million) to acquire almost 98 percent of Austrian ATB, one of the three largest electrical motor manufacturers in Europe.

The purchase is an attempt to deepen Wolong's presence in foreign markets, making it a multinational enterprise with global competitiveness, and to accelerate the industrial upgrade of China's electrical motor industry.

"Wolong and ATB complement each other in terms of products, technology, research and development, and marketing," said Wang Xiquan, vice-president of Wolong.

The acquisition is the largest industrial investment by a Chinese company in Austria.

Wolong says it plans to double sales of ATB in the next five years and double the profits before tax over the next three years.

Taking a 70-percent share of the electrical motor market in Europe, ATB has made 314 million euros in sales revenue so far this year, with an estimated volume of about 400 million euros for the whole year.

China became Austria's largest foreign trading partner outside of Europe last year. Total trade volume reached $6.09 billion, an annual increase of 26 percent.

Despite the global financial crisis, official statistics show trade has grown by about 30 percent year-on-year for the past three years.

Meanwhile, Austria's investment in China is also growing fast.

By the end of August this year, Austrian companies had invested in 1,008 projects in the country. China's utilization of Austrian capital reached $1.29 billion.

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