Global Times: China, Middle East countries eye each other’s markets, vow to increase investment, deepen cooperation

PRNewswire November 13, 2023

BEIJING, Nov. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In recent years, economic and trade exchanges between China and Middle East countries have become increasingly close. The cooperation between the two sides in trade, investment, energy, infrastructure construction and other fields has achieved remarkable results.

“We have probably put about $500 million into the technology sector in China. Where we see the opportunity for investment in China is consumer products, the food sector, healthcare and, of course, technology,” Hazem Ben-Gacem, co-CEO of Investcorp, told the Global Times on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Annual Conference of Financial Street Forum 2023 held in Beijing.

This is Ben-Gacem’s first appearance at the forum, and he said “many Chinese businesses and investors are curious and interested in the Middle East region.”

Ben-Gacem pointed out that China has taken incredible, important steps in opening up. China evolved the regulatory framework, so that it is easier and more straightforward for foreign investors to come in and deploy capital in China, he said.

The CEO also noted that the cooperation between China and Middle East countries should go beyond bilateral trade, and also involve exhanges of know-how. He cited the example of Huawei, which has committed to train 100,000 Saudi developers.

Speaking of the cooperation with Middle East countries, Zhu Daocheng, vice president of JA Solar, a Chinese photovoltaic (PV) power firm, told the Global Times on Wednesday in an exclusive interview that the region has a grand plan for green energy development and new-energy transformation, which is a promising market for the company.

“The Middle East region is expected to be the third-largest market for green and new energy in the next two to three years. Chinese companies are leading the world in manufacturing, assembly and project contracting in the new energy sector, which makes them competitive,” said Zhu, on the sidelines of the Annual Conference of Financial Street Forum 2023.

Zhu noted that JA Solar has been committed to the research and development of high-efficiency PV cells and has become one of the biggest PV cell manufacturers in the world.

In order to better serve local developers and distributors, JA Solar has set up branches in the Middle East to enhance the localization of services, which will also help promote the region’s energy transformation, according to Zhu.

On Wednesday, a parallel forum named “Industrial Cooperation and Sustainable Development of Cross-border Investment Between China and the Middle East” was held during the Annual Conference of Financial Street Forum 2023, where participants discussed the cooperation potential between China and Middle East countries.

China has a vast consumer market, a complete industrial system, and advantages in areas such as manufacturing, new energy and Internet technology. Countries from the Middle East are vigorously promoting energy transition and actively promoting the development of manufacturing, technology, “Internet +” and other fields, and China’s economic structure is highly complementary, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Investment Officer of CIC Ju Weimin said on Wednesday at the parallel forum.

“Deepening financial and industrial cooperation will not only contribute to the sustainable development of both economies, but will also bring more opportunities to the world,” said Ju, adding that CIC is willing to join hands with all partners to transform the economic complementarity between China and the Middle East into a driving force to achieve common prosperity and development.

Ren Hongbin, president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), said on Wednesday when addressing the parallel forum that in recent years, China and countries from the Middle East have carried out a lot of fruitful cooperation as part of the jointly fostered framework under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

“It is hoped that Chinese enterprises will carry forward the spirit of the Silk Road and adhere to the principles of high standards, benefiting people’s livelihoods and sustainability, while also consolidating cooperation with countries from the Middle East in traditional fields, continuously expanding new areas of cooperation, and promoting the steady and long-term economic and trade cooperation between China and the Middle East. It is hoped that more financial institutions and enterprises from the Middle East will explore and expand investment in China and share in the development opportunities of the Chinese market,” said Ren.

Guests addressing the parallel forum – including Martin Tricaud, CEO of First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) Investment Banking, Hitesh Asarpota, CEO of Emirates National Bank of Dubai (NBD) Capital, and Stephen Moss, CEO of HSBC Middle East and North Africa – believed that the investment market in the Middle East has become increasingly active in recent years and has become an emerging area attracting international capital.

China and the Middle East have broad prospects for future cooperation in areas such as sustainable development, high-end manufacturing, and healthcare, they said.

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SOURCE Global Times

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