Chinese Community in Cyprus
Chinese investors have contributed to the revival of the construction sector in Cyprus which increased by 40% in 2016. The Chinese community is relatively new in Cyprus with interest in visa acquisition and proximity to European markets being the main incentive for new arrivals. It seems that Paphos is the town of choice for many Chinese who have decided to buy property either as an investment or as their new residence. Part of the attraction for these new arrivals is security, no racism, the hospitality of the locals and all the attractions that the island has to offer. Property in Paphos has been purchased by the Chinese as early as 2013 and there are currently over 7000 property transactions submitted to the land registry department awaiting approval. It is estimated that more than 1.5 billion has been invested in Cyprus by the Chinese in recent years. Large Chinese companies have shown an interest and invested in huge property developments currently being undertaken in Cyprus. Two luxury hotels in Larnaca and a new 5 star hotel in Sotira are currently being built by a joint venture with Chinese investors.
Lured by the attractive tax system and the desire to expand its footprint inside the European Union, China is readily promoting the acquisition of property in Cyprus. The biggest integrated casino resort in Europe and a 5 star hotel and housing development near Ayia Napa are another two multimillion joint ventures that will have substantial Chinese investments. Investments by the Chinese are everywhere in Cyprus, from shipping, financial services, tourism and off course, real estate. It seems that the island with its European legal framework and geographical position has proved to be off great interest to Chinese investors.
Cyprus has also attracted a lot of tourists from China and this has resulted in the much anticipated direct flights between Cyprus and China by Cobalt Airways. Many estate agents are taking advantage of these flights to offer prospective buyers in China a free inspection trip for them to view properties in Cyprus. These fact finding missions are usually conducted over a period of three days and can be a bit overwhelming. It is advisable to be wary of estate agents that have been operating under false pretenses and trying to maximize their commission illegally. Some of these agents are Chinese who have jumped on the bandwagon trying to sell properties to unsuspecting buyers who could end up paying as much as 20% commissions. It is best to get advice from reputable lawyers or the Business Association before signing for any purchases.
The Cyprus-China Business Association was established in 1995 under the auspices of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chinese Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus. The main goal of this association is to promote economic and trade relations between China and Cyprus. Contact details for the Association and the Chinese Embassy are:
38 Grivas Digenis Ave & 3 Deligiorgis Str.
P.O. Box 21455, 1509 Nicosia, Cyprus
Tel: (+357) 22 889 830
Fax: (+357) 22 668 630
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Cyprus
30 Archimidous Street,
Engomi, Nicosia, Cyprus
P.O. Box 24531, Nicosia, Cyprus
email@example.com (Consular Section)
Cypriots are trying to learn as much as they can about Chinese culture. The 1st Chinese Cultural Festival took place in Limassol in September 2017, with celebrations for the 25th anniversary of Nanjing, Limassol’s sister city. Traditional Chinese music and dances were performed at the opening ceremony with the Nanjing Art Troupe. Demonstrations of China’s rich food culture by renowned chef Li Guang Yuan was also on show with many exhibitions of China’s traditional and modern culture. This is set to become a very popular yearly event.
The first Chinese School in Cyprus opened in 2011 and this is based in Nicosia. Study of the Chinese language has become very popular in light of the important part that China is playing on the political and economic stage, worldwide. This school is geared towards adults who want to learn how to speak Chinese. Cyprus has an excellent education system with both public and private schools and colleges in all major towns. For Chinese newcomers who have children, there are English medium, private schools for their children to attend. In most cases Chinese is taught privately after school by private teachers.
As the Chinese community grows, we will be seeing more Chinese stores and restaurants popping up, especially in Paphos. The Cypriots are known to be very hospitable and welcoming, so we expect to see more Chinese residents in Cyprus in the near future.