Bahrain’s Al Waha Fund of Funds is investing in Beijing-based MSA Capital’s $250 million fund, marking its first investment in a Chinese fund.

MSA Capital, the most active Chinese fund in the Gulf, plans to use Bahrain as its “hub for regional expansion”.

The funding is the latest announced by Al Waha, which was launched in 2018 to drive greater venture capital investment across the Middle East.

The $250 million Chinese fund has already made 10 investments in the Gulf region over the past year. The firm now plans to build collaborations to include more students and large corporates, as well as investors from both countries for future exchanges.

Areije Al Shakar, Fund Director at Al Waha Fund of Funds, said: “Both China and Bahrain offer a substantial pool of tech talent, startup capital and digitally minded consumers, so the scope for further building this relationship is substantial."

Al Waha’s investment is expected to foster economic ties between Bahrain and China. Total non-oil goods traded between the two countries more than doubled between 2009 and 2017.

Ben Harburg, Managing Partner of MSA Capital, said: "Chinese pioneered mobile-focused business models, both for enterprise and consumers, are best positioned to provide a roadmap for entrepreneurs in the region. We see Bahrain as a hyper-efficient, user-friendly gateway to the Gulf, where we can collaborate with regulators, entrepreneurs, and strategic corporate partners to pilot new business models and serve as a hub for regional expansion.”

Al Waha Fund of Funds has so far invested in a range of venture capitalists, including BECO Capital, Middle East Venture Partners, 500 Startups, and European fund manager Finch Capital.

(Writing by Seban Scaria , editing by Anoop Menon)

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