$10 bln in agreements signed during first day of Arab-China Conference

Ahram Online , Monday 12 Jun 2023

The first day of the 10th Arab-China Business Conference taking place in Saudi Arabia witnessed the signing of $10 billion worth of investment agreements, according to a statement from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment (MISA) on Sunday.

The 10th edition of the Arab-China Business Conference started in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. AFP/Getty


More than 30 deals were signed covering technology, renewables, agriculture, real estate, minerals, supply chains, tourism and healthcare.

The two-day conference, which kicked off in Riyadh on Sunday, aims to support and promote economic cooperation to advance the common interest of both Arab nations and China.

The conference has attracted some 3,500 business leaders, innovators and policymakers from China, the Arab world and beyond. Among them was Egypt's Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat and billionaire Egyptian businessman Samih Sawiris.

China is the largest trading partner for Arab countries; the volume of trade exchange between the two sides reached $430 billion in 2022, a 31 percent increase over 2021, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said while inaugurating the conference on Sunday.

More Chinese investments needed

In his keynote speech on Sunday, Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih said that it is time for China to become a strategic partner for development in Arab countries. 

He added that China's outward foreign direct investment (FDI) grew by 20 percent annually over the past decade, however this still does not meet Arab countries’ ambitions.

China’s FDI in the Arab world was $23 billion in 2021, $3.5 billion of it in Saudi Arabia, according to Saudi state agency (SPA).

Al-Falih said that growing the trade exchange between China and the Arab countries creates promising opportunities for investment.

Al-Mashat said during the opening session of the conference that Egypt and China have close relations and pivotal investment and economic partnerships. She pointed out that Egypt has been incentivizing Chinese companies to operate in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, according to a statement from the international cooperation ministry. 

$10 billion in deals

According to MISA’s statement, they signed a $5.6 billion deal with Chinese electric car maker Human Horizons to collaborate on the development, manufacture and sale of vehicles, the Saudi state news agency said in a statement.

Additionally, a deal worth $533 million was signed between the AMR ALuwlaa Company and Zhonghuan International Group (Hong Kong) Limited to establish a factory to process iron ore and manufacture iron pellets for smelting plants in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s ASK Group and the China National Geological & Mining Corp signed a $500 million agreement for the development, financing, construction and operation of a copper mining project in the Arabia Shield region within Saudi Arabia.

In the infrastructure sector, a $266 million framework agreement was struck between Mabani Al- Safwah Ltd, China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co. and Top International Engineering Corporation Arabia Ltd. for advanced building construction in Saudi Arabia.

MISA also signed a $266 million deal with Hong Kong-based Android developer Hibobi Technology Limited to develop tourism and other apps.

The investment ministry also facilitated a $250 million deal 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.

Furthermore, a $150 million deal was signed between MISA, the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources 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 country.

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