After his visit to Italy, and before meeting with French president, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a short stop in Monaco where he met with Prince Albert II.
This is the first time a Chinese leader has visited the principality. This gesture, highly appreciated in Monaco, shows China’s interest in all European countries, including micro-states.
The two heads of state had fruitful discussion about environmental protection, a cause that Prince Albert II takes to heart. Monaco and China may deepen their cooperation on environmental projects.
The Principality also hopes to become a preferred destination for the wealthy Chinese clientele.
In 2015, the Hong Kong group Galaxy, that manages casinos in Macau, acquired a 5 percent stake in the “Société des Bains de Mer” (SBM) in charge of the Monte Carlo casinos. This partnership has enabled Monaco to better meet Asian visitors’ expectations.
A direct airline connecting Beijing to Nice, the nearest airport of which Monaco is a shareholder through the company “Azzura Aeroporti”, is also under study.
Furthermore, in 2017, the Monegasque government and the company “Ant Financial Services Group” signed a memorandum of understanding for the deployment of Alipay in the Principality, to facilitate Chinese visitors’ stay in Monaco.
Monaco expects a lot from Chinese technologies. A new agreement on the Internet of Things was signed between Monaco Telecom and Huawei on February 27, 2019. With this agreement, Monaco will soon become the first state to be fully covered by 5G, and will serve both as a showcase and laboratory to offer digital solutions to Europe. This cooperation bodes for stronger cooperation between Huawei and Europe. Monaco Telecom’s main shareholder is Xavier Niel, owner of the French operator “Free”. A success in Monaco could encourage all European operators to choose Huawei for their 5G projects.