China investment helps renew the city of Smederevo
Smederevo steel mill was built in 1921. Since then, the factory has changed its name, its owners, its capacity, and even its location.
The steel mill is now 10 kilometers from the city of Smederevo. It covers an area of 450 hectares and has 5,000 employees.
In 2003, Smederevo steel mill was sold to the American company U.S. Steel. But in 2010, the steel mill started making losses. In 2012, the management sold the company back to the Serbian government for 1 U.S. dollar.
The employees and the community of Smederevo faced an uncertain future. The government struggled to find a business partner for the steel mill. There was a possibility that it would be closed.
In April 2016, the government sold the steel mill for 46 million Euros to Chinese company Hesteel. The mill is now operating under the name HBIS Serbia.
The company agreed to invest an additional 300 million Euros in the company. It also agreed not to lay off workers, and has even taken on more staff.
This is a story about a worker at the steel mill, Nikola Stefanovic, and how Chinese investment changed his life.