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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Bahrain signs key finance and tech agreements with China as economic ties deepen

Bahrain's Economic Development Board and Chinese province Shenzhen reached eight accords

Among the eight agreements were initiatives for the technology and transport sectors. Photo: Phil Weymouth
Among the eight agreements were initiatives for the technology and transport sectors. Photo: Phil Weymouth

Bahrain and China made a series of technology and transport sector agreements, deepening economic co-operation between the two countries.

A senior delegation from Bahrain visited the Chinese province of Shenzhen where government officials signed eight accords, the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) said in a statement on Saturday.

"Bahrain’s location as the gateway to the Gulf, and given the fact that it is one of the key countries along the new Belt and Road route, along with our open and liberal lifestyle, competitive business landscape, and world class regulation makes the kingdom the ideal location from which Chinese companies can access this $1.5 trillion GCC market," said Khalid Al Rumaihi, the chief executive of Bahrain EDB.

Shenzhen is the first stop of the Bahraini delegation’s nine-day tour of China’s principal commercial centres. The delegation will visit Hangzhou, Shijiazhuang, and Beijing as it explores deeper economic ties with China ahead of the 30-year anniversary of establishing Bahraini-Chinese diplomatic ties in 2019.

In June, Bahrain EDB inaugurated its representative office for Southern China in Shenzhen, aiming to facilitate more investments by Chinese companies in Bahrain.

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In one agreement, EDB partnered with Shenzhen FinTech firm IAPPPAY to establish a full mobile payment system in Bahrain and explore opportunities in cryptocurrency.

In another pact, EDB aimed to encourage private equity firm Softbank China Capital – Wonder News and their investment portfolio companies to establish a presence in Bahrain and use the Kingdom as a regional hub to cover the Middle East.

"There are numerous opportunities for Chinese companies in the region, especially as the GCC markets continue to transform their economies," Mr Al Rumaihi said.