Speaking at the event, which was organised by the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA), Lin Keqing, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Guangdong Committee, said the Qatari business community are welcome to “actively participate” in four development initiatives.
The forum gathered more than 60 Chinese companies from the Guangdong Industrial Province, representing various sectors and more than 70 local companies, in addition to several QBA members.
According to Lin, the first project is the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, which is a major national strategy “personally planned, deployed, and promoted by President Xi Jinping.”
After five years of development, the economic aggregate of the Greater Bay Area has reached nearly $2tn, surpassing Tokyo Bay Area and the New York Bay Area,” Lin emphasised.
“It has created nearly 11% of China’s economic aggregate with less than 1% of the national land area, making it one of the most economically vibrant, open and internationally advanced regions in China. We sincerely welcome industry associations and businesses from Qatar to come to Guangdong and share the dividends of Guangdong’s reform and development,” Lin stressed.
The second initiative focuses on co-operation in energy and chemical industries, Lin pointed out, adding that Guangdong has developed a complete green petrochemical industry system with a number of energy giants, which are accelerating their presence in Guangdong. At the same time, Guangdong is accelerating the construction of high-quality projects in refining and petrochemicals, he noted.
Lin said the third initiative is the strengthening of mutual co-operation in emerging industries.
“We understand that Qatar, in addition to focusing on traditional industries, such as oil and gas resources and finance, is increasingly paying attention to emerging industries, such as digital economy, electronic information, intelligence manufacturing and new energy. We look forward to exploring cooperation opportunities in high-end manufacturing, digital economy and other emerging industries,” he said.
He added: “The fourth is deepening co-operation in the financial sector. Guangdong has developed a financial market and both large say-owned holding-found companies. Guangdong has more than 700 Asia-limited companies.
“We welcome Qatar to carry out financial investment co-operation in Guangdong, including investment in our security market, private equity, venture capital, and corporate equity and debt.”
Speaking at the event, QBA Chairman HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani said the forum represents an opportunity to discuss joint investment and trade in both countries, noting that China is considered “one of the most important trading partners” of Qatar “due to the will and desire of the leadership of the two countries.”
Sheikh Faisal said Qatar-China trade volume stood at about QR97bn Qatari riyals in 2022. Qatar’s exports to China amounted to QR75bn, while imports were valued at QR22bn or 16% of Qatar’s trade volume abroad. This confirms the growth of bilateral relations and the doubling of the trade volume during the last decade, he said.
He said Qatar and Guangdong Province share many goals to attract investments and develop trade. Sheikh Faisal called on Chinese companies to maximise “the great opportunities” that Qatar offers to foreign investors by providing ready-made economic zones and tax concessions “that are among the best in the world,” in addition to storage areas for re-export near Hamad Port, especially with the large market currently available in the region.
Sheikh Faisal said, “As a business community, we welcome all potential partnerships with Chinese businessmen and Chinese companies in the different sectors. The role of the Qatari Businessmen Association is to find effective trade partners and investors in both countries.”