’Turkish firms need to develop a good understanding of China’

The One Belt, One Road initiative announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2014 was the primary topic of discussion at the Understanding and Doing Business With China conference arranged by TUSIAD at İstanbul’s Koc University on Friday. “Even if China’s growth rate has fallen to single digits, it is still an important country that Turkey must not disregard. We are trying to attract much more investment in Turkey from China and we think that Turkish companies need to understand the country,” TUSİAD President Cansen Basaran-Symes said at the conference.

According to Basaran-Symes, there are a number of possible investment areas in China for Turkish companies. “Food and agricultural products are a common trade point for [Turkey and China]. We think that a mutual agreement on food safety is very important. This will present possibilities in the areas of milk and dairy products,” she said.

The TUSİAD president said that the Turkish tourism sector has still not attracted great interest from China and that Turkish firms need to set their sights on improving this market. While China annually sends 109 million tourists around the world, only 0.5 percent of these travelers come to Turkey, according to Basaran-Symes.

“Chinese society spends a great deal of money for touristic purposes but the annual number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey comes to 200,000. There is a potential here that we are not utilizing. This could be used better. For this reason as well, we need to understand China. Packages need to be put together catering to Chinese demands,” she said. “An increase in mutual investment is dependent upon China engaging in reforms as well as on the investment appetite of Turkish firms,” the TUSİAD president added.