Invest In had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Andrej Fištravec, Mayor of Maribor, Slovenia, who briefly introduced the town and the country. As a city seeking foreign investment, let see what Maribor has to offer from a Mayor standpoint.
Q: Since Slovenia and Maribor are comparatively new to Chinese investors, can you briefly introduce the country and the city from an economic and political angle?
Slovenia has been independent for 22 years. It has a population of about 2 million with a very rich and diverse historical influence, from the time of Tito's Yugoslavia and before that, from Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Maribor was considered to be an industrial giant and one of the most prospective cities in Yugoslavia.
Maribor is the second largest city in the Republic of Slovenia. It lies in the center of Europe on a crossroad between Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia. Slovenia has been a member of the European Union for 10 years, but at the same time the connection with former Yugoslav republics like Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is still very strong in the business and tourism sectors.
Maribor has a long history in wine production. We have the biggest wine cellar in central Europe and the oldest vineyard in the world.
Q: Compared with other European nations, what is unique in Maribor in terms of investment environment? Why should Chinese people consider your country?
After the fall of the Berlin wall (1989991) Maribor has experienced radical political, economic and social changes. Maribor has a rich industrial history and a well-educated labor force. It has very good infrastructure facilities inside European traffic connections. It has developed infrastructure including an airport, highways, and railways to service transportation throughout Europe. We have a strong reputation for our cultural tolerance and our kind curiosity towards tourists.
The University of Maribor is the second largest in Slovenia with a wide spectrum of programs in areas such as natural sciences, technical and applicative programs.
Maribor is the most suitable city to invest in, because it offers everything that an investor would need to conduct business. One key advantage is the city geographical position (10km from Austria, 50 km from Hungary, 150km from Italy and 35km from Croatia). The industrial zone is located near a highway and the railway, the airport is just 5 km away. The Municipality of Maribor is open to Chinese investors and offers all the support it can. The Slovenian Consulate in Shanghai also cooperates with the Municipality of Maribor on inviting Chinese investors to Slovenia especially to Maribor. Delegations from Maribor have visited China four times in the last six months.
Maribor was firstly mentioned in historical documents in the year 1164 AD and last year we celebrated 850 years of Maribor, we will hold a business conference in April to which Chinese investors are really welcome.
The biggest Chinese investment in Slovenia is in Maribor. The company is called Durabus which produces buses, it operating on the premises where the former automotive company TAM once stood, which was the largest automotive producer in Yugoslavia.
Q: Can you also briefly introduce yourself and your experiences in dealing with foreign/Chinese investors?
I became mayor of Maribor at the beginning of 2013.I have a PhD in Sociology with international experiences. At the beginning of the function as a mayor of Maribor I gave myself the task to open Maribor to foreign investors and for the target market I chose China. In November 2013, I visited Hangzhou, where I signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the two cities.
Q: We understand that there are projects already available for Chinese investors; can you briefly introduce these projects?
As the Mayor, I would like to increase the efficiency of the city's operations and reduce our ecological impact. We welcome solutions that can fulfill one, if not both criteria. One way this can be achieved would be to renew the city's lighting system with LED technology. Additionally we would like to build a recycling facility to serve our citizens better.
Another opportunity that would be of interest is Marifarm pharmaceutical company. The company is currently employing over 110 people from the area. The surface of the factory building is more than 16,000 square meters.
Both abovementioned projects are briefed below, you can also get detailed information by contacting us directly:
- Speed - they are faster than the competition (by the process),
- Flexibility - they adjust to the needs of customers,
- Competitive pricing - they achieve good balance between quality and price,
- Location - excellent connection with EU countries and countries from SE Europe, it also interesting for business partners outside EU.
- Staff - high professional competence
- Number of lights: 14279
- Approximate amount of investment 6 million EUR
- ROI from savings is in between 7 and 9 years.
- Reduced power consumption cca 50%
- Savings from lower power consumption cca 55%
- Lower maintenance costs cca 55%
- Yearly power usage per MOM inhabitant