May 18, 2024
Cuba: China's western toehold
Cuba buys most of its buses from a Chinese manufacturer called Yutong.

Cuba and Florida

Cuba: China's western toehold

Second of a five-part series on the island nation.

Jason Garcia | 4/29/2015

When Americans think of Havana, many immediately imagine classic, American-made cars. What they should picture are modern, Chinese-made buses.

The streets of Havana are filled with them: Blue, white and red buses operated by Transtur, a Cuban government company that ferries tourists between attractions. The vehicles are all built by the Yutong Group, an industrial conglomerate based in China’s Henan province. All are stamped on the back with the Yutong logo and a short sequence of Chinese characters.

The Cuba Factor

Florida Trend May 2015 The May 2015 issue of Florida Trend looks at Cuba: its economy and entrepreneurs, how to visit, what's changed, what hasn't, and much more. The magazine is available to print or digital subscribers.
» Inside the May issue
» Get the issue here

In the absence of American trade with Cuba, the Chinese have stepped into the void. China today is Cuba’s largest creditor and its second-largest trading partner after Venezuela. China sells more than $1.1 billion a year in goods to Cuba and buys more than $500 million a year, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Observatory of Economic Complexity.

Yutong itself has sold more than 5,000 buses to Cuba – for use by Transtur and four other state transport companies – earning roughly $370 million in the process. The company says its market share in Cuba is more than 90%.

Chinese-made products can be found across the island, from household appliances to industrial equipment. To the west of Havana, dump trucks and flat beds built by Sinotruk – a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of China National Heavy Duty Truck Group – rumble along the highway to the port of Mariel. To the east, there is a school for Chinese students in a town once used as a recovery resort for children sickened by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Cuban hotels carry several Chinese television networks.

The ties between the two countries are likely to become tighter. Cuba is actively seeking more Chinese investment, with a new set of foreign-investment laws that include a Chinese-style special development zone around the port of Mariel. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Cuba last year, meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro and touring the barracks that Fidel Castro attacked in the opening salvo of the Cuban Revolution.

“We are full of confidence over the future development of relations between our country and Cuba,” Xi said during the visit, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Tags: Cuba

Florida Business News

Florida News Releases

Florida Trend Video Pick

FloridaCommerce responds to questions about management of Rebuild Florida program
FloridaCommerce responds to questions about management of Rebuild Florida program

Reporter Jennifer Titus sits down with FloridaCommerce Secretary Alex Kelly and Office of Long-Term Resiliency Director Justin Domer.


Video Picks | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Do you think recreational marijuana should be legal in Florida?

  • Yes, I'm in favor of legalizing marijuana
  • Absolutely not
  • I'm on the fence
  • Other (share thoughts in the comment section below)

See Results

Florida Trend Media Company
490 1st Ave S
St Petersburg, FL 33701

© Copyright 2024 Trend Magazines Inc. All rights reserved.