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Is China intending an economic conquest of Poland? Can Polish businesses take advantage of the opportunities provided by the development of China and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative? Mr. Sławomir Majman, former President of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIZ) and Ms. Yu Yang, Europe Strategic Investment Director at Dentons, will answer these and other questions related to the Polish-Chinese business relations.

November 28

Current political situation

Mixed signals are transmitted from Warsaw to Beijing. On the one hand, heads of both states visited each other in their respective countries. The former Prime Minister of Poland, expressed unequivocal support for the New Silk Road, the cornerstone of China’s global policy, the vision, whose aim, among other things, is to increase Chinese presence in Europe by establishing new communication routes on land and sea. Two years ago, it was hard to resist the impression that the flagship project of the Polish government, i.e. the Central Communication Port - central transportation hub, had been cut to fit the Chinese finance and construction industries. Some bold investments in Polish ports and harbors seemed to fulfill the same role.

On the other hand, apart from political declarations, a few government agreements and numerous business delegations travelling to and fro, little has been happening in practice. None of these and other infrastructural projects have passed the stage of political declarations, studies, and debates in the press. Moreover, there is very little doubt that all intergovernmental projects have been frozen as a result of the dramatic shift in global policies, such as China’s new ‘containment strategy’.

First we’ll take Warsaw then we’ll take CEE

However, it has been enough for some influential governmental circles in Poland to formulate strong warnings about a threat, allegedly created by China, not only to Polish economic independence, but also to Poland’s sovereignty.

One may pose a questions whether the economic conquest of Poland is a part of China’s strategic plan? Is the economic conquest of any of the Central and East European countries a part of China’s plan?

First of all, we must remember that from Chinese perspective Poland and the entire region of CEE is of a marginal consequence.

Only post 2011, China's so-called 16 + 1 (now 17 +1), ‘Multilateral Bilateralism’ in Central Europe initiative, placed the region on the agenda of the Chinese foreign policy at all. China’s approach to CEE countries does not necessarily reflect the situation of Germany, where the state tries to protect manufacturers of unique technologies from being purchased by Chinese businesses, for example the Midea Fund taking over the leader of the robotics market. From Bejing’s perspective, Central and Eastern Europe appears as a marginal source of modern technologies, therefore the region does not deserve major industrial investments. In some cases the engagement of a particular CEE country is a result of its geographical location.

Tread lightly

Beijing should consider the possibility of rising tensions between Poland and China, which increase various risks, such as a blind entry into the market (e.g. the participation of Covec Group in the construction of A2 motorway in Poland or interventions by the EU authorities, which recently have almost frozen a major Budapest-Belgrade railway construction project), or a risk of inadequate local management like in the case of Liugong company purchasing the non-military part of Stalowa Wola steel works. All these factors being analyzed by experts undoubtedly slow down the involvement of the Chinese investment in Poland.

Moreover, Polish expectations and China’s actual offers seem to be deeply mismatched, particularly when financial instruments delivered by the Chinese side are concerned. For the Polish business community leaving the protective ‘European cocoon’ and entering the Chinese market seems to be too troublesome. Furthermore, Polish companies that are gradually becoming more successful in Europe, still lack ample capital allowing them to get into the Chinese market without a sufficient governmental support.

The key question is whether China, in the next few years, be interested in the economic expansion in Poland or, vice versa, should Poland see the benefits of building the New Silk Road and seriously set about soliciting more Chinese economic engagements in Poland and Polish investments in China? It may turn out that the real threat is not the Chinese ‘economic aggression,’ but the inability to attract Chinese investments into the region and replacing the policy of facts with the policy of complaints.


Yu Yang

Graduate of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and the University of Illinois. She held numerous positions, including: Europe Director of the Shanghai Bureau of World Expo, senior advisor of Ernst & Young and Executive Secretary of China – CEE Investment Agencies Platform. For five years she served as the Head of Poland - China Cooperation Center within the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency. In 2016, she became the Director of Europe Strategic Investment at Dentons’,the largest US based law company, at their Warsaw office.

Sławomir Majman

Holds a degree in Foreign Relations. He is Senior Fellow at Renmin University in Beijing and a subject-matter expert at the Institute of Middle and Far East of the Jagiellonian University. In his professional career he held numerous posts, including: CEO of the Warsaw Exhibition Board, President of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIZ) (over 8 years), and Vice President of the Institute of Security and International Development. For 11 years, he was in charge of the Managers Association in Poland and from 2016 to 2018, he served as Managing Director of Dentons Poland.

Asian Dilemmas Series

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“The series is the first in many years public presentation of topics related to contemporary Asia and its relations with Poland and the rest of the world. Participation in the whole series may provide a sound knowledge base for individuals interested in the region, for example for students of International Relations and Asian Studies”, says Professor Krzysztof Gawlikowski, Director of the Center for East Asian Civilization at SWPS University.

Format of Meetings

The Center for East Asian Civilization at SWPS University has been invited by the Public Library at Koszykowa Street in Warsaw to prepare a series of public panel discussions and presentations on East Asia, under the common title “Asian Dilemmas”. The topics discussed during these meetings include contemporary matters of the region as well as its international relations, with a special focus on the relations with Poland.

The first series, entitled “China - the New Power” run from January 2014 to June 2016. The meetings took place every last Thursday of the month. The new series, “Asian Dilemmas”, devoted to economic, political, cultural and social issues of the region, starts on October 27, 2016.

The panellists will include renowned Polish and international specialists and government representatives, experienced in relations with Asia. The series is organized in cooperation with Warszawska Szkoła Reklamy [Warsaw School of Advertising], which provides video recordings of the meetings, available on the websites of SWPS University and the Public Library of Warsaw.



  • The Public Library of Warsaw


  • The Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN)
  • Center for East Asian Civilization at SWPS University
  • The Polish-Chinese Friendship Association
  • The Casimir Pulaski Foundation

logotypy Azjatyckie dylematy

Asian Studies at SWPS University

The Asian Studies program offered at SWPS University in Warsaw, which focuses on China and East Asia, is unique in Poland and Europe.

The program offers an intensive Chinese (Mandarin) language learning (720 hours of instructions) and emphasises the practical use of language in everyday and business situations. Additionally, SWPS University offers an additional semester of study in China and supports students in securing scholarships for studying in Asia.

Students of Asian Studies become familiar with the culture, traditions and contemporary issues of the region. They learn about specifics of diplomacy in the region, international organizations and Asian business.

Additionally, they acquire competencies indispensable in relations with all Asian countries and especially with China - the biggest and most prominent country in the region.

SWPS University also offers English Studies program with extended Chinese (Mandarin).

More about the Program »


Thursday, November 28, 2019,  18.00-20.00

The Public Library of Warsaw
Koszykowa 26/28
Stanisławów Kierbedziów Building, Entrance F, conference room

Registration at promocja@koszykowa.pl


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