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HomeBilateral RelationsInterview: Croatian CEO Seeks to Deepen Ties With China

Interview: Croatian CEO Seeks to Deepen Ties With China

“My visit to China to attend a training course of young Croatian entrepreneurs hosted by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce in September was amazing, fruitful and successful and would result in closer business cooperation and deeper ties with China,” Nikola Vrdoljak told Xinhua in a recent interview. He is the chief executive officer (CEO) of 404, the largest consulting agency in Croatia.

“I was really happy and proud to be part of that group to visit China,” he said. Vrdoljak was among 17 Croatians — 15 entrepreneurs and 2 officials from the country’s Ministry of Economy who attended a 10-day training course in China that started on Sep. 17.

According to Vrdoljak, the course had three parts: the first was lectures on China, the country’s economy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and China’s cooperation with Europe delivered by distinguished professors from China’s prestigious universities. The second was visits to major enterprises, such as the Alibaba Group, and exchanges with Chinese counterparts, and the third was a cultural program.

The training course promoted the participants’ understanding of China, the country’s economy and position in the world, and Chinese culture, Vrdoljak said, noting they had “really amazing” exchanges with the Chinese professors who gave lectures and that “really added value to our understanding of China.”

“We all came back with a deeper understanding of China’s culture and society,” he said.

Vrdoljak said also he felt happy to have had the opportunity to visit different businesses during his stay. The visit to the Port of Tangshan, one of China’s biggest export ports for steel and other products, led to a better understanding of the economy in Beijing and the surrounding area.

Vrdoljak said this was his fourth trip to China since 1999. “Today, China, especially Beijing and Shanghai, the cities that I visited, are highly modern, successful cities, where we saw advanced high-tech infrastructure. The progress there is amazing,” he said.

According to Vrdoljak, it is important for Croatian businesses to understand China, its businesses, society and economy.

“I think whoever plans to do serious business cannot avoid China because China is one of the most important places to do business, so China is always in my plans,” he added.

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