China is a state of a billion and 380 million citizens and intertwined into this mammoth number are a tiny number of Croatian expats. Around 300 Croats live in China; they are very easily lost in the crowds. So an interesting idea was born – to find and connect Croats in China and a Croatian Association has been founded. An initiative by a group of around 50 Croatians living in China, in Shanghai to be precise, have decided to form a Croatian association. With Croatian Diaspora already active in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Chile, a new member of that club is on the way.
Diasporas in other countries have successfully formed many associations and club, mainly due to the large size of the expat communities. But the situation with Croats in China is completely different. Statistics from the Embassy say that there are only around 300 Croatians living in China, most of them professionals and some students and around 100 of them live in the Shanghai area. However, the number of Croats in China is estimated to be much higher because they have no obligation to inform the Embassy when they arrive. The new Croatian club hopes to connect all members of the Croatian community living in this very populous country.
'This initiative is not new but has taken a long time to be implemented. Living in this region we usually act as individuals and everything is unknown to us. So networking is the way to connect, it is key', commented Ivica Žumbar to the news agency Hina.
Thanks to Žumbar the first unofficial meeting of the club was held last autumn. Around 20 Croatians living in Shanghai gathered that day and the number of members has been slowly increasing ever since. The Croatian Embassy and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in China have recognized the new association.
According to the words of Marina Kramer, the secretary of this new association, important steps were made before the Chinese New Year in order to establish a firm foundation but after the festive period and with the beginning of spring members would start with serious work. On the official website of the association Hrvatske inicijative Šangaj – Croatian Initiative Shanghai - one can discover important information, the latest news and events related to this small Croatian community in China.
As a conclusion Žumbar added that they were not exclusive and would certainly try to get together all Croatians living in China. New forms of technology and communication would contribute a lot in achieving this goal. Žumbar didn't hide his great satisfaction with the last community gathering held a few weeks ago when around 50 Croatians living in Shanghai and the surrounding area turned up.