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Maldivian President Visits China, Elevates Bilateral Relationship to Higher Than India
January 11, 2024
01

Maldivian President Visits China, Elevates Bilateral Relationship to Higher Than India

During the first state visit of newly elected President Mohamed Muizzu to Beijing on January 10, China and the Maldives elevated their relationship to a higher level.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the gathering at the Great Hall of the People, referred to Muizzu as “an old friend” and announced the upgrade of the bilateral ties to a “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.”

China currently maintains a “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership” with 35 other countries, including Iran, Indonesia, Greece, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil, which is 3 levels higher than the China-India relationship.

According to a report from the American Enterprise Institute think tank, Chinese companies have invested an additional $1.37 billion in the Maldives since the country’s decision to join the Belt and Road Initiative in 2014.

President Xi stated, “China and the Maldives’ relations are presented with a historic opportunity to build upon the past and advance into the future.”

02

Geely Reduces Volvo Group Stake, Retains Position as Second-Largest Shareholder

On January 10th, Geely’s Swedish spokesperson Stefan Lundin confirmed that Geely Holdings sold Volvo Group shares worth over SEK 7 billion (approximately RMB 4.902 billion), decreasing its stake from 8.2% to 6.8%. Geely remains the second-largest shareholder after the sale. Lundin emphasized that Geely’s strategic long-term commitment to Volvo has not changed.

Geely acquired 88.47 million A shares and 78.77 million B shares from Cevian Capital in 2017, which represented an 8.2% stake and 15.6% of the voting rights in Volvo Group (AB Volvo). This was a key strategic move for Geely following its acquisition of Volvo Cars and one of the largest Chinese acquisitions in Sweden.

Last November, Geely also reduced its stake in Volvo Cars by selling about 100 million shares, or 3.4% of the issued capital and 4.1% of Geely’s holdings, equivalent to around $350 million (about RMB 2.509 billion). This sale had a substantial impact, causing Volvo Cars’ stock to fall by 11.14% on that day, with a peak drop of 14%.

Geely’s portfolio, especially in the competitive new energy vehicle market, requires substantial investment, with brands such as Polestar in need of further financial support. So this is probably the main reason for Geely’s recent reduction of its stake in Volvo.

03

China Announces Five Measures to Facilitate Foreign Traveler

The National Immigration Administration of China has officially implemented five measures from January 11th to facilitate the entry of foreign nationals for business, study, and tourism purposes:

  • 1. Relaxation of criteria for applying for port visas
  • Foreign nationals engaged in non-diplomatic and non-official activities such as trade cooperation, visiting exchanges, investment and entrepreneurship, visiting relatives, and personal matters and who are unable to obtain visas prior to arrival can apply for port visas at the port of entry based on relevant supporting documents, including invitation letters.

  • 2. Allowed 24-hour transit visa exemption at 9 major airports
  • Foreign nationals transiting through 9 designated international airports, including Beijing Capital, Beijing Daxing, Shanghai Pudong, Hangzhou Xiaoshan, Xiamen Gaoqi, Guangzhou Baiyun, Shenzhen Bao’an, Chengdu Tianfu, and Xi’an Xianyang, can enjoy visa-free transit for up to 24 hours without undergoing border inspection procedures. This applies to passengers holding international connecting flight tickets to a third country or region.

  • 3. Localized the processes of visa extension, reissuance, or replacement
  • Foreign nationals engaged in short-term non-diplomatic and non-official activities such as trade cooperation, visiting exchanges, investment and entrepreneurship, visiting relatives, sightseeing, and personal matters, and who have legitimate reasons to extend their stay in China, can apply for visa extension, reissuance, or replacement at the public security immigration authorities closest to the residence.

  • 4. Allowed multiple-entry visas for frequent entry and exit
  • Foreign nationals in China with legitimate reasons for multiple entries and exits can apply for multiple-entry visas by providing relevant supporting documents, including invitation letters, to the local public security immigration authorities.

  • 5. Simplified document requirements for visa applications
  • Foreign nationals applying for visas can be exempt from providing physical copies of certain documents if their accommodation registration records, company business licenses, or other relevant information can be electronically verified through information-sharing platforms. Additionally, for short-term family reunion visas, a declaration of kinship relationship by the inviting party may be accepted as an alternative to formal proof of kinship.

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