More Stages of the Globalisation Process

Who knew Hungary has an entire shopping centre devoted to Chinese-owned businesses? Der Standard reports on the “Asia Centre” in the 16th district of Budapest, home to a community that has made Hungary the biggest entrepot for Chinese goods in central Europe. Last year, $4bn of Chinese exports entered Hungary, of which two-thirds was re-exported. The centre is 90 per cent utilised and is going to expand. Not entirely surprisingly, its owners are the Austrian construction group Strabag and the Austrian mutual banks’ investment arm, Raiffeisen Investment AG.

Apparently, there may be as many as 60,000 Chinese in Hungary, the flourishing legacy of a botched late-communist trade agreement. In order to keep up appearances after the two sides failed to agree anything substantive, they ended visa requirements between China and Hungary. This came into its own a year later, when large numbers of people quit China after the Tiananmen Square massacre and arrived in a Hungary that was about to be the first mover in the wave of revolutions. Originally, their businesses shot out of the ground around the eastern railway station’s freight yards. Later, the Austrian investors built the new centre.

It’s striking that they will be very well placed if this railway project comes to fruition.

On the other hand, there’s a fist. Jörg Haider’s election posters this time around carried photos of two “violent Chechens”, whose access to social services was then cut off. They haven’t been accused of an offence, and neither does the Klagenfurt police know of any case involving a Chechen.

4 thoughts on “More Stages of the Globalisation Process

  1. I think that the number of Chinese in Romania is unknown, and I suppose they run in the tens f thousands.
    My Romanina-Chunese recollections start with the gang killing that ended up with the victim cut into pieces and discarded in the lake where Dambovita enters Bucharest. It’s almost 15 years since that happened and one can still hear the jokes about “the Chinese guy coming in two luggages”.
    Afterwards, when I moved to Bucharest, I discovered that the cheapest textile were sold in a open air market called Europa, at the edge of Bucharest. In these years, masked and armed cops go there now and then for the evasionists and counterfeiters, to no avail IMHO. The areas of the outer Colentina, the closest high rise neighbourhood, have a lot of Chinese inhabitants, but one cannot see any Chinese name in the intercom lists.
    I know that Chinese food, being more expensive than the Arab/Turkish-like one, is mostly for the new middle and higher class. It could be unhelpful that there stilll are stories about Pekingese being the main course.
    Almost a year ago, an Italian business man brought to Bacau, a provincial city, about 100 Chinese young women. He got them visas and hired them in his textile factory. Rounors are that the girls are not allowed to go anywhere outside the dormitory building and the factory and that they are paid less than €100. But the same rumors say that the girls are going to be in the number of thousands (if they aren’t there already).
    I recall a story from the 90’s, in the Europa market. An old Chinese woman kicking a Roma pickpocket with her umbrella. Pickpockets were/are usually covered by a gang, but this time nobody dared to save the poor guy, because one could not tell wether she was a friend of the other Chinese around.

  2. IIRC there’s a sizeable Chinese community in Belgrade, fruit of Milosevic’s grand plan to establish a Yugoslav-Russian-Chinese-Belarusian axis to oppose American imperialist hegemony. The Chinese who came to Belgrade, on the other hand, probably seized the opportunity to set themselves up in a European country and then wait for Serbia to return to the European mainstream once Milosevic was gone.

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