Saudi Aramco hosted a two-day forum in the Chinese financial hub of Shanghai to boost investment in the Kingdom, planning to promote the three newly developed industrial platforms of Jazan Economic City, Al-Hasa Energy Industrial City and Ras Al-Khair Industrial City.
Under the theme of “Building the belt and road together, connect with opportunities in Saudi Arabia,” the forum was intended to inform Chinese manufacturers and investors of the sustained investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and explore closer partnerships in the energy sector, i.e., upstream, oil and gas, refining and petrochemical, water and power.
The forum gathered more than 150 participants, including officials and professionals from Saudi Aramco and Aramco Asia, policymakers from China, as well as representatives from 60 local companies.
“Chinese investment is welcome in Saudi Arabia, and there are plenty of opportunities for Chinese companies in the country, in both energy and non-energy sectors,” Nabil A. Al-Nuaim, on behalf of Aramco Asia’s President, said in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony.
“There have been successful investments by Chinese partners in Saudi Arabia. Sinopec invested in a 400-MBD worldclass, full conversion export refinery located on the west coast city of Yanbu’ by the name of Yasref. We stand ready to promote economic cooperation.”
Kingdom offers opportunities
Apart from Sinopec, some of the Chinese businesses, either public or private, such as Huawei, China Railway Construction, China Habour and SANY, have also made headway in these and other attractive investment opportunities.
Also in his speech, Al-Nuaim outlined a list of advantages the Kingdom enjoyed, including the strategic location, history and the role as China’s largest and most reliable energy supplier.
Echoing Al-Nuaim’s remarks, He Zhengrong, director-general of the Department of Commerce of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, noted that the region had made a tremendous contribution to the building of a new type of Sino-Arab ties under the Belt-Road initiative, thanks to the large number of the Chinese Muslim population, the Huis.
As a global enterprise, Saudi Aramco embraces the Belt-Road initiative and would like to leverage this vision to link China with Saudi Arabia. The message at the forum was clear: The potential is huge and Chinese investors are welcome to seize the great opportunities of sustained economic growth and sustained demand for manufacturing and services.
Industrial cities connect to world
Abdulatif Al-Abdulhadi, director of the Jazan Economic City Development Department, briefed the audiences about the lucrative opportunities in the city. Covering an area of 106 square km, it is strategically located along an important sea route connecting the major continents of Europe, East Africa and Asia. Six industrial sectors of electromechanical equipment, heavy industries, consumer durables, automotive, food processing and other industries such as pharmaceuticals and packaging and 12 sub-sectors have been identified as attractive opportunities.
Adeel Akhter, division head of the Energy Industrial City Development Department, introduced The Energy Industrial City and Ras al-Khair Industrial City to the participants. Both of these cities support the Kingdom’s diversification drive and promise to bring a handsome return to investors.
Over the course of the forum, there were presentations, a showcase of previous Chinese investors, questions and answers, and a one-to-one session to examine the investment possibilities in the Kingdom. The two sides also expressed a willingness to carry on the discussion and continue the momentum for future years.