The celebration in Gibraltar of the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Pig – is a reminder of the long standing and growing links between the economic power house that is China and the financial hub that is Gibraltar.
Contacts of a commercial nature hark back to the early 1990’s when a Chinese company set up a microchip factory at the New Harbours Industrial Park in Rosia Road Gibraltar and the Chinese government sent their extraordinary collection of terracotta statues which were exhibited at the Victualling Yard here.
Since then, economic ties have continued and the level of interest was highlighted by the presence in Gibraltar to celebrate the New Year of representatives of the Consular Section of the Chinese Embassy in London headed by Consul General Mr. Tong Xuejun who was invited by the President of the Chinese Association in Gibraltar, Mr. Yongnan Zhang.
High level meetings were held including with the Minister for Trade, Sir Joe Bossano who has always had a special interest in Chinese Trade and is a regular visitor to the Asian superpower.
In recent years much of the emphasis of Gibraltar’s offer has been in terms of The Fintech and Blockchain industry of which Gibraltar and its regulatory authorities are world pioneers as well as insurance and wealth management products.
Gibraltarian delegations regularly visit the principal financial centres including Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing, sometimes under the auspices of the China – Britain in Business Council.
As an English common law jurisdiction, Gibraltar continues to have a strong affinity with Hong Kong, which was until 1997 a British Crown Colony sharing many of the attributes in terms of law and business practice with the Rock.
The Gibraltarian system is therefore one with which Chinese investors are familiar with.
If anything Chinese ambitions in Europe have been sharpened by the Beijing government’s rivalry with the United States, so that in purely commercial terms, the opportunities are certainly there, mitigated nonetheless by geostrategic concerns which change from one day to another and perhaps are beyond the reckoning of business people.
For the moment, the community of people of Chinese extraction in Gibraltar continues to increase, particularly in the financial services, gaming and technological sectors.
The colourful celebrations welcoming the year of the Pig thrilled the wider Gibraltarian community who massively attended public performances by, among others, the famous Henglong Kung Fu Club of Shifu Lin as well as a lion dance and a fire cracker display and a demonstration by the Gibraltar Tai Chi Club and the martial arts expert Li Shengquiang.
The venues included the Piazza, Casemates and an evening event at Ocean Village whilst the length of Main Street was festooned with Chinese Lanterns.
Once again, East meets West in Gibraltar which looks forward to fostering ties of friendship and economic cooperation with the Chinese dragon.