Chinatown in Minsk - a Gateway between China and Europe

June 18, 2019

In the next 10 years China is planning to invest $5 billion into the development of a newly created Chinatown near the Belarusian capital Minsk.

The project includes enough housing to accommodate more than 155,000 people who will arrive here soon. This means that Chinatown will enter the top 10 of the largest cities in Belarus.

The first stage of the project will be ready in 2020, and the next stage will need another 10 years to be completed, which attracts investors around the world.

It is planned to create an international city combining progressive industry and modern services, based on the harmony of nature, industry and innovation. There will be a clear separation of functions through strict zoning regulations: an ‘industrial’ city in the north; a ‘technical’ city in the middle; and an ‘attractive city’ with a so-called ‘entertainment core’ in the west. This latter part of the city is meant to function as a place where the international residents meet, socialize, and exchange tacit knowledge in order to inspire each other and to boost creativity.

Chinatown is going to be part of the rapidly developing industrial zone which main part is the Great Stone industrial park (Suzhou Industrial Park in China is its prototype). It is expected to be the modern city on the Eurasian continent for the industrial park residents, workers and visitors from China. Still it will have its unique samples of culture, cuisine and traditions, which could undoubtedly attract the local Belarus population as well as tourists to contribute to Chinese business promotion.

Bordering on the territory of the Minsk International airport, the city has good prospects in terms of transportation both locally and internationally.

Apart from this, there are a number of other factors which make the successful future of this new development certain. The project will indeed be a great added value to the modernization of the economy. It will at the same time facilitate increasing influence of China on the European continent.

In order to attract foreign investors, the government has introduced some significant tax incentives that ought to make it attractive for high-tech and export-oriented (foreign) businesses to jump in. The free trade area bonuses include:

- 30 days visa-free entry for all visitors from China

- 180 days visa-free entry for the Great Stone residents upon the application of the Industrial park administration

- 0% Income tax, Land tax, Dividend tax, Immovable property gains tax

-0% customs duties and VAT for components and equipment, and other

This way, Chinese exporters are within the geographic reach of the European Union while having access to a cheap but educated (Belarusian) labour force, in case they will not be bringing their own. At the same time, Belarusian president Lukashenko stated that it will be a ‘technological leap’ for his country.

Implementation of this project will enable to use the advantageous geographical position of Belarus to the full extent. The ‘new Silicon Valley’ to be created just near the city will guarantee the investors that the territory they are developing will ever be attractive and demanded for the newcomers. Besides, modern and luxury Chinatown in the middle of Europe is to be an Asian highlight within the European country with many specialized supermarkets, China brand showrooms and Chinese restaurants.

So, Chinatown in Minsk is a gateway between China and Europe, combining eastern and western values in order to create a harmonious ‘win-win model’.

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