Chinese investment soars on back of Saudi reforms

The Chinese delegation represented by the Council for Promoting South-South Cooperation during their visit to SAGIA. (Photo by Saad Al-Dosari)
Updated 29 July 2019

Chinese investment soars on back of Saudi reforms

  • ‘We’ve seen huge growth in Chinese companies in the Kingdom,’ says Mufti

RIYADH: A new chapter in Saudi-Chinese relations was written during the recent visit of the leadership of Saudi Arabia to China, according to Sultan Mufti, the deputy governor of investment attraction and development at the Saudi Arabian General Investments Authority (SAGIA). 

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, he said: “We've seen huge growth in Chinese companies in the Kingdom. There was a 100 percent increase in entry to the Saudi market in the first half of 2019 compared with last year.”

After the visit of the Chinese delegation to SAGIA last Thursday, Mufti explained how both countries share a strategic partnership: “There are a lot of commonalities between us. As G20 economies, we have enjoyed a long trade relationship and we are growing with our interesting initiatives, Saudi Arabia has Vision 2030 and China has the Belt and Road Initiative.

“There are a lot of opportunities in strategic sectors as a result of Vision 2030. The Belt and Road Initiative paves the way for China to enter the Saudi economy, and lots of Chinese companies will have expertise relevant to our plans.

“These sectors include petrochemical, manufacturing, mining power and renewable energy, in which Chinese companies have a lot of skills to bring to Saudi Arabia,” Mufti added.  

He said that merging the initiatives will take the relationship to new levels.

Mufti also discussed the opening of an office for SAGIA in China: “The approval process has been done. We’re not waiting for the physical opening because we already have a team actively involved in marketing.”

FASTFACTS

• The Kingdom ranked fourth among the G20, according to the latest report published by the World Bank.

• Some of the important reforms include the establishment of arbitration centers, specialized commission courts, enchancing minority interest laws and proving the insolvency law.

He said that the highlight of the Chinese visit was the growing interest from companies wanting to know more about what Saudi Arabia has to offer: “At SAGIA and Invest Saudi, there are workshops where companies are meeting with specific teams with technical and commercial experience, where they can tell each company its relevance to the sector and the opportunities.

“These workshops will help them throughout their journey from the early exploration all the way to investment and starting their operations in the Kingdom.”

Mufti added that the growing interest is partly due to the reforms that are taking place in Saudi Arabia: “According to the latest report published by the World Bank, the Kingdom ranked fourth among the G20. Some of those important reforms include the establishment of arbitration centers, specialized commission courts, enhancing minority interest laws and improving the insolvency law.” 

He said that the rise in the Saudi economy in recent years has been aided by reforms: “They are happening every day, every minute. It’s difficult to track the momentum because reforms are coming through under the umbrella of the Executive Committee for Improving the Performance of Private Sector Businesses (Tayseer), headed by Commerce and Investment Minister Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi.

“On a weekly basis, you will be seeing reforms coming up. There are about 500 reforms that have been identified, 45 percent have already been implemented and this number rises every week. That’s why we created Invest Saudi, because it helps investors track reforms, understand more about the opportunities and the support that they can get from SAGIA,” he added.

“SAGIA organizes global roadshows with sector experts that meet with each specific company and give them the information they need,” Mufti said.


Misk Initiatives Center signs 12 deals to develop youth talent

Updated 39 min 23 sec ago

Misk Initiatives Center signs 12 deals to develop youth talent

  • MoUs with top firms such as Chinese tech giant Huawei, French oil major Total open new opportunities

RIYADH: The Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Foundation Misk Initiatives Center has signed 12 memorandums of understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh with local and international companies to support and develop youth talent.

Among the companies were the Chinese tech giant Huawei, the French oil firm Total, the Emirati Federal Youth Authority, and the Ministry of Economy and Planning.

The agreements stipulated joint work between the two parties in the fields of talent development in Saudi Arabia and information and communications technology, in accordance with the National Transformation Program 2020 and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

This initiative aims to find ways of cooperation and employment opportunities between the two parties.

The MoU signed between the center and the Emirati Federal Youth Authority provides for the enhancement of joint cooperation in support of youth. 

The two parties will seek to discuss future cooperation, to build a strategic partnership between the two parties in exploring potential cooperative opportunities and setting a framework for such cooperation, in addition to organizing the exchange of technologies and innovations through the joint organization of courses, forums and workshops.

The MoU aims at creating a specialized scientific dialogue between the two parties, conducting joint research at the institutes in the field of entrepreneurship and the skills of the future, considering launching joint initiatives, and examining the possibilities of cooperative programs based on the extensive experience of Misk and the Federal Youth Authority.

Misk’s Initiatives Center agreement with Total will promote joint cooperation, find training opportunities for Saudi talent at the company’s headquarters and facilities, and cooperate on educational programs that support entrepreneurship and an ecosystem for startup companies, especially in the fields of energy and technology.

The Misk Global Forum also witnessed the signing of a MoU with “Hub71” to promote learning and leadership among Saudi youth, and enhance opportunities for joint collaboration, in addition to two MoUs with 500 startups and seed stars “to promote joint cooperation between the two parties, to develop and grow the business of startups and provide them with the necessary
environment.”

Misk also signed a MoU with the Public Institution for Education and Global Leadership to promote joint cooperation and achieve the objectives of both sides, to support innovation initiatives that instill the entrepreneurial mindset of young people, as well as the establishment and organization of entrepreneurship approaches. 

Both parties agreed to focus on exploring potential collaborative opportunities related to the Entrepreneurship World Cup, and establish a competition with competitors coming from 170 countries.

Both parties also agreed to support international competitions aimed at identifying the best solutions in various fields and sectors, as well as exchanging programs on entrepreneurship and innovation.

The center has signed a MoU with the Saudi Industrial Development Fund to discuss the possibility of providing training programs and courses for the center’s employees of the Fund and the relevant authorities. In addition to discussing available opportunities for cooperative training within the Fund, and providing opportunities for participation and contribution of the Fund’s staff in Misk’s programs.

The MoU aims to explore the benefits of existing agreements between the two parties with international financial and educational institutions, in order to find opportunities that provide programs, training and educational courses, and granting cooperative trainings for Saudi youth in those global institutions.

The center also signed a MoU with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), aiming to enhance joint cooperation on educational technology and its integration into the educational systems in the Islamic world.

An MoU with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will enhance the cooperation between the two parties in several initiatives, including academic development, training, entrepreneurship and innovation programs.

An MoU with Endeavor Saudi Arabia will support the Kingdom’s youth, enhance their talents and potential, stimulate economic growth, and find ways of cooperation between the two parties that serve their common interests.

The center’s MoU with the Ministry of Economy and Planning aims to spread awareness, provide new information on the education and training of human resources in the administrative and economic fields, youth empowerment, and coordinate efforts to raise their abilities.

The MoU aims to create cooperative training opportunities in local and international institutions with the purpose of workforce growth in the Kingdom’s economic sector, contributing to the development of national competencies in the economy, policies and procedures, strategic planning, in addition to providing job opportunities for graduates from areas that serve the interests of both parties and support the achievement of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.