The government’s policy of opening to the East has turned Hungary into China’s primary investment destination in central Europe, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said at the inauguration of a plant of Pex Automotive Systems in Szigetszentmiklós, near Budapest. Pex Automotive, a branch of Chinese car industry supplier Baolong, has ploughed some 5.1 billion forints (EUR 13.2m) into the greenfield investment, Szijjártó said. The government supported the development with a 1.5 billion forint grant, he said, adding that the investment brought the European headquarters of its electromobility strategy to Hungary. The plant will also turn out products for the electric and intelligent vehicle industry, he said. Half of the plant’s electricity needs will be covered by solar panels. Hungary is Baolong’s third site outside China after the US and Germany, “so international competition for it was harsh,” he said.
The production of Hungary’s automotive industry jumped by 31 percent last year, to over 10,000 billion forints, he said. In addition, the sector grew by an annual 24 percent in the first six months of 2023, compared with a record performance in 2022, he said. “We Hungarians stand by East-West cooperation. We are dismayed to see that voices calling for the artificial decoupling of the Chinese and European economies have gained strength lately,” he said. As bilateral between the EU and China comes to 875 billion euros a year, this could cause “damage the scope of which is impossible to foresee,” he said.