China and Belarusian regions
China has been expanding its presence in Belarus. In each region there are at least two or three business centres, where Chinese people live and work. First of all, China is investing in the energy sector and construction industry. It is not a secret that China is also interested in privatization of Belarusian state-owned enterprises, including Belavia Company.
5-6 years ago the majority of Sino-Belarusian projects never reached the implementation stage. Since 2010 the situation has been changing. Currently, Chinese projects’ network covers the entire country. Most of all, China is investing in the energy sector and construction industry and wants to participate in Belavia Company privatization.
Chinese business’ sphere of interests is extremely broad. China is ready to invest in wood processing, agriculture, food processing, catering, paper industry, steel industry, municipal waste management, logistics, manufacturing agricultural machinery, co-production of mining equipment, etc. China is also interested in developing Belarus’ potash deposits.
In each region there are at least two or three business centres, where Chinese people live and work. Currently, the number of Chinese specialists working in Belarus is not very big - circa 10 thousand people. Chinese traditions to form communities in cities create an impression of significant Chinese presence in some Belarusian towns, which has raised restrained criticism by some citizens. But, all in all, there are no ethnic conflicts with the Chinese in Belarus.
If Sino-Belarusian industrial park project in Smolevichy region is implemented, Minsk Oblast will become the most densely populated by the Chinese in the near future.
Economic benefits from the cooperation with China will be felt in the medium term (in 5-7 years). Some projects China is implementing at its own costs based on principle – “Build. Exploit. Pay off investment costs, earn profit and transfer ownership to Belarus”.
In addition to the economic benefits that China derives from cooperating with Belarus, it uses the country as a testing ground for Chinese technology. For example, Chinese Nuclear Power Engineering Company plans to build a solar power plants fleet in the areas affected by the accident at Chernobyl nuclear power plant.