According to Xinhua, 200 Chinese companies are investing in Russia’s Primorsky Region, a province nestled between the Sea of Japan and Northeast China. During an interview with Xinhua, the region’s governor cited agriculture, manufacturing, and trade as industries with Chinese activity, while also noting that tourist income increased by 30% in 2015, largely due to an influx of Chinese tourists.
While abundant in land, Russia’s Far Eastern District – of which Primorsky Region is a part of – has only 6.3 million people, and is already heavily integrated with the Chinese market, with 6,000 square kilometres already leased to or controlled by Chinese firms. China’s desire to increase investment in the neighbouring Far East is obvious, with China’s growing middle class expected to result in the country needing to import US$150 million (C$200 million) worth of food annually by 2050, and with China expected to account for 40% of the rise in global grain trade over the next decade.
With a 2018 target to increase agricultural and food production by 150%, the Far Eastern District has set up a network of 15 wholesale distribution centres as incentives for investment. These storage centres are anticipated to boost agri-business firms’ incomes by 30-50%. In June 2013, the Russian Direct Investment Fund and China Investment Corporation established a US$2 billion investment fund to finance such projects as investment in Russia’s Far East, while China and Russia’s voting shares in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are 20.06% and 5.92%, respectively, reflecting another, potential avenue for investment in the Russian Far East.