Several investments and projects were announced during the two-day conference to boost trade and economic cooperation between the Arab and Chinese business communities. Zawya Projects has summarised the major announcements as follows:
China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd (CSCEC) started talks with the Saudi sovereign fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) for a large steel structure manufacturer project in Riyadh with a yearly production capacity of 800,000 tonnes.
A $533 million agreement between the AMR ALuwlaa Company and Zhonghuan International Group (Hong Kong) to establish a factory to reduce iron ore and manufacture iron pellets for smelting plants in Saudi Arabia.
A $500 million cooperation agreement between Saudi Arabia’s ASK Group and the China National Geological & Mining Corp. for the development, financing, construction and operation of an Arabian Shield copper mining project.
A $266 million framework agreement between Mabani Al- Safwah, China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co and Top International Engineering Corporation Arabia for advanced building construction.
A $5.6 billion agreement between the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) and Human Horizons, a Chinese developer of autonomous driving technologies and manufacturer of electric cars under the HiPhi brand, to establish a joint venture for automotive research, development, manufacturing and sales.
A $266 million deal signed by MISA with Hong Kong-based Android developer Hibobi Technology to develop tourism and other apps.
A $250 million deal facilitated by MISA between Saudi railway company SABATCO and Chinese state-owned and publicly traded rolling stock manufacturer CRRC to manufacture rail wagons and wheels in Saudi Arabia.
A $150 million deal between MISA, the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) and Chinese industrial manufacturer Sunda to manufacture caustic soda, chlorine and derivatives, chlorinated paraffin, calcium chloride, poly-vinyl chloride (PVC), and related conversion products in the Kingdom.
King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company (CET) and Beijing GL-Microelectronics Technology Company (Greve Micro) to establish a centre for designing and manufacturing microchips.
Trade deal likely
Saudi investment minister Khalid al-Falih said that the free trade deal being negotiated between China and the Saudi Arabia-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council needs to protect emerging Gulf industries. Talks on a China-GCC Free Trade Agreement (FTA) began in 2004 but have repeatedly stalled, most recently in 2016, after a ninth round.
FDI on rise
Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (Modon) stated it had attracted foreign direct investments worth 1 billion Saudi riyals ($266 million) from Chinese companies in industrial cities focusing on quality, transformative industries.
Trade between the Arab world and China reached $430 billion in 2022. Trade between China and Saudi Arabia alone exceeded $106 billion last year, representing a 30% growth year-on-year. On the other hand, China’s foreign direct investment in the Arab world totalled $23 billion in 2021, with $3.5 billion invested in Saudi Arabia.
(Writing by P Deol; Editing by Anoop Menon)