The inexorable rise of Mr. Wu

The Chinese-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCIL-C) recently marked its 40th anniversary – with the principle sponsor of the event a company that practically no-one among those present at the celebratory dinner had heard of: Tin Min Jade. 

The surprise was even greater when it was realised that the CEO of the company, Wu Zhiwei, happened to be one of the new directors of CCCIL-C. And that another of Wu’s companies is now a corporate executive partner of this Chamber from a list including the venerable KPMG, Huawei and China Three Gorges Corporation. 

Wu Zhiwei is a discreet businessman from Macau who since 2016 has been making several investments in Portugal but above all apparently courts a notoriety in Europe unsought in Macau. 

Little is known about Wu’s businesses, his most famous asset being a jade shop in Fisherman’s Wharf. Tin Min Jade, which was the principle sponsor of this celebratory dinner, is this very store. 

Wu is also a property developer in Macau and Mainland China via Modern City Development Group, but it has not been possible to obtain any information about its activities. 

In Macau Wu is best known for his connection to Anhui Province: he is a Macau Deputy in the Political Consultative Conference of Anhui Province (alongside Kevin Ho) and is also the chairman of the Macau-Anhui Chamber of Commerce. In the political sphere he was a member of the electoral college for the selection of the Chief Executive and a member of the board of the Association of Promoting the Macau Basic Law. 

Portuguese wines 

In 2016 Wu and his wife, Lao Chao Peng, acquired Quinta da Marmeleira, an agricultural estate on the outskirts of Lisbon dedicated mainly to the production of wine. 

The couple’s plans for Quinta are unknown but information collected by Macau Business indicates that the couple wants to export what is produced in Quinta da Marmeleira. 

Shortly after the purchase of the agricultural property Wu and Lao created a new company at the same address of the same name, this time destined to import and export. 

The company’s corporate purpose is not only agricultural production (including wine) but also hotel activities and the stone carving trade (jade . . .). 

Most recently a new company was created by the same two partners, this time a travel agency, and again based in Quinta da Marmeleira. 

Thus, a relatively recent set of investments has been made since they acquired Quinta, even though the two companies that Wu registered as CCIL-C partners do not have any activity in Portugal. 

Macau Business sent the entrepreneur – who only speaks Chinese, using a translator in the initiatives of the Chamber – a set of questions in the hope of knowing more about his business in Portugal, but did not get a response. The public interventions that Wu Zhiwei has been undertaking, however, reveal an interest in promoting the business opportunities opened by the Belt and Road Initiative: “With the development of the Belt and Road initiative, we believe that many Chinese companies, not only state ones, but also private, will want to go to Portugal to search for opportunities and investment partners,” he is quoted as saying during a recent Portugal-China Gala. 

“If the Portuguese and Chinese governments continue to pay attention and active guidance to companies in these two countries, in order to obtain mutual advantages, opportunities will be found and co-operation projects will be developed to increase the investment of Chinese companies in Portugal” is another of the ideas floated by the entrepreneur. 

In fact, Wu also showed interest during a Political Consultative Conference of Anhui meeting in enhancing Macau’s role as a platform for Portuguese-speaking countries and attracting Chinese enterprises, in this case Anhui Province, to these countries. 

“The internationalisation of Portuguese companies is very important for China, Macau and Portugal. This internationalisation is necessary to achieve interaction and co-operation between the different countries. The existence of more and more internationalised companies between China and Portugal will allow [them] to broaden the spectrum, the scale and the success of the co-operation,” a report published in AICEP cites in an interview with Mr Wu.