News Xina 8

China: an objective for Barcelona

Barcelona, the ancient Mediterranean metropolis that played a major role in the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages, is now approaching the 21st century with the clear intention of being a city open to the world with a well-known and valued brand.

Today´s world geopolitics have changed. The reference point of the planet has moved to the East and is increasingly centred in Asia. Asia is now the great socioeconomic motor, and in particular China. Almost a continent in itself, China is slowly becoming the world´s leading economy, replete with opportunities and challenges that we cannot ignore. The growing presence of immigrants from all over Asia is testimony to Barcelona’s openness to the East. Today, a quarter of foreign citizens living in Barcelona are from Asia, including a large swathe from China, many of whom work in the service sector. These communities, especially the Chinese, act as bridges with their own countries.

Barcelona’s City Council has developed a policy of openness with China. In July 2012, the Mayor led a party on a tour of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzen, as well as Hong Kong. The aim was to consolidate Chinese projects and investments in our city. A good example of this is the large-scale extension of the Port of Barcelona carried out by the Hong Kong-based company Hutchinson, which doubled the container capacity of the port. The aim of the investors of this operation was to make Barcelona the leading freight gateway in Southern Europe for products from China and other Asian countries.

Another outcome of that visit was the opening in Barcelona of a new branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China last October. The vice president of the bank stressed that this was evidence of their trust in the economy of our country and our city.

The second objective was to raise awareness of what Barcelona has to offer, to sell Barcelona. This not only entails the City Council, but all people and goods that are defined by the Barcelona brand and that represent our commitment to quality and rigour.

We therefore welcome the initiative of the Catalan Society of Engineers in publishing The China Engineering News as a way of giving visibility to our professionals in this sector in China, and as a platform supporting a group of Catalan professionals and projects on the vast Chinese market.

This combined effort will make the Catalan imprint in China bigger and stronger, and to this end the Barcelona City Council supports the Catalan Society of Engineers.

Joaquim Llimona i Balcells
International Relationship and Cooperation Manager
Ajuntament de Barcelona.