Chinese businesses in Ukraine mostly undisrupted, but some make contingency plans: sources
Many remain calm, but some make contingency plans: sources
Published: Feb 23, 2022 09:12 PM
A view of Kiev, Ukraine Photo: Unsplash

A view of Kiev, Ukraine Photo: Unsplash

Many Chinese entrepreneurs, companies and industry groups in Ukraine remain calm and their daily business operations have not seen any particular disruptions from escalating tension in the country, several businesses sources in Ukraine told the Global Times on Wednesday.

However, some larger state-owned companies are making contingency plans by stocking up necessities and are keeping a close eye on the situation, heeding calls from the Chinese Embassy in Kiev, the sources said. The situation might also dissuade Chinese firms from launching new projects in the country for a while, despite bright prospect for bilateral cooperation, they added. 

Power China, a state-owned energy construction company, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the company has a 288-megawatt wind power project in Ochakiv in southern Ukraine, and "since it is not within the areas of conflict, both personnel and the project have not been affected."

Still, "our project team in Ochakiv has stocked up basic daily necessities that are enough for two months," an employee with Power China told the Global Times on the condition of anonymity.

Other staff members of Power China are mainly in the suburbs of Kiev and surrounding regions close to the capital, where the situation is relatively stable, the employee said, adding that currently, the lives and work of the company's employees are not affected.

Power China said that it is making contingency plans in accordance with the Chinese Embassy's instructions while ensuring the safety of both personnel and projects in the region.

Amid escalating tension, the Chinese Embassy in Kiev issued a notice on Tuesday asking Chinese residents and companies in the country not to go to the regions where the situation is unstable, follow posts by the Embassy, as well as reserve some daily necessities such as food and drinking water.

China Longyuan Power Group, a subsidiary of China Energy, has a 76.6-megawatt wind power project in Yuzhne on the country's Black Sea coast in the Southwest, which started operation last year as the company's first wind power project in Europe.

An employee with the security department of China Longyuan Power Group told the Global Times on Wednesday that daily operations are normal at the moment despite the escalating tensions.

The employee said that the company isn't worried about any substantive impact on business, since the project is located in a remote area and only accounts for 0.3 percent of the company's total installation of wind power.

Chinese projects in Ukraine are mostly in the areas of infrastructure and energy, including some projects related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Also, most Chinese businesses and projects in Ukraine are concentrated around the capital of Kiev and other major cities in the West, instead of Southeast where tension is running high, according to the sources.

Shanghai Taisheng Wind Power Equipment, another company with businesses including those related to the BRI in Ukraine, said on Wednesday that it acts as a supplier, and its business in the country does not directly involve any local on-site construction, and there has been no disruption at the moment.

While the situation remains stable, with local projects and logistics in and out of the country having seen no particular impact from the tension, several Chinese companies with businesses in the country will not take on new projects for the time being, Qu Bo, chairman of a Chinese chamber of commerce in Odessa in Southern Ukraine, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"The all-time hype by the Western media has gotten on the nerves of the people, and pushed up prices by about 5 percent, further driven by the global energy price surge and the changing situation in the country," Qu said.

"But the area that has seen the biggest impact is Donbas in Southeastern Ukraine, where basically no Chinese company has settled," Qu said.

A person with a Kiev-based Chinese association who has lived in Ukraine for over two decades said that the situation is relatively stable with adequate good supplies at a local supermarket in the area where he lives.

"The current tension in the country is mainly ignited and hyped by the West, but there is nothing for us to worry about," he said, noting that he has not stocked up on goods because he does not think it is necessary at the current stage.

Even though tensions have been fermenting, Chinese businesses see growing potential for cooperation in the country, given the fact that there are a lot of complementarities in economic issues and trade between China and Ukraine.

Taking the example of the geographical advantage of being a logistics hub between the East and the West, low labor costs and non-tariff treatment with the EU - all of these conditions make Ukraine an ideal place for international investors, Qu said.

This year, the chamber of commerce that Qu works for will mainly deal with the establishment of sister provinces and states between China's Hainan Province and Odessa.

The chamber also plans cooperation projects, such as establishing a trade route between Odessa and Haikou and Sanya in Hainan.