The Governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Engineer Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar handed on Thursday investment licenses to four Chinese companies as part the visit being paid by China’s Zhang Gaoli to the Kingdom with Chinese representatives of ministries and businessmen.
According to the Saudi state news agency (SPA), the visit reflects the depth of relations between the two countries in various economic, industrial and investment sectors, where the People’s Republic of China is the first country among the countries licensed to invest by the Investment Authority in the Kingdom during this year with a share of SR 254 million.
Engineer Al-Omar said that SAGIA seeks to achieve economic diversification, attract more foreign investments to the Kingdom and strengthen the partnership between public and private sectors.
He also noted that granting investment licenses to four Chinese companies with a capital of more than SR 190 million reflects the efforts exerted by the Authority in cooperation with the relevant government agencies to develop the mechanism of getting licenses in easier and smoother way in order to improve the investment environment and facilitate the practice of business in the Kingdom.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference that Saudi Arabia and China planned to establish a $20 billion investment fund on a 50:50 basis.
“It is preliminary at this stage but the commitment from the top is there,” Falih said. He said the fund would invest in sectors such as infrastructure, energy, mining and materials, but did not give further details of its strategy.
China has announced plans to establish such joint investment funds around the world in recent years as a way to cement bilateral economic ties. In December 2015 Beijing said it would establish a $10 billion fund with the United Arab Emirates, and last October a plan for a fund with France was revealed.
The Jeddah conference followed a visit to China by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz in March during which as much as $65 billion of business deals were signed in sectors including oil refining, petrochemicals, light manufacturing and electronics