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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Saudi Arabia grants investment licences to four Chinese companies

The move is another reflection of the kingdom's bid to reduce its economic dependence on oil revenues

Saudi's King Salman meets with the first vice-premier of China, Zhang Gaoli, in Jeddah this week. Photo: Wam
Saudi's King Salman meets with the first vice-premier of China, Zhang Gaoli, in Jeddah this week. Photo: Wam

The governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority has handed four Chinese companies investment licenses as part of a visit to the kingdom by a Chinese delegation.

Ibrahim Bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar issued the licenses on Thursday during a visit from Zhang Gaoli, the vice premier of the State Council of People’s Republic of China, along with ministry and business representatives.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the visit reflects the depth of relations between the two countries, particularly in relation to various economic, industrial and investment sectors. China is the first country - among those nations licensed to invest by Saudi’s Investment Authority - to invest in the Kingdom this year with a share of 254 million Saudi riyals (Dh248.78m)

Mr Al-Omar said the authority is looking to achieve economic diversification, attract more foreign investments to the kingdom and strengthen the partnership between public and private sectors.

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He also noted that the granting of investment licenses to four Chinese companies, with a capital of more than Saudi riyals 190m, reflects the authority's and relevant government agencies' efforts to issue licenses in an easier and smoother way to improve the investment environment and facilitate the practice of business in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a huge economic reform programme to cut its dependence on oil revenues. Earlier this week it announced plans to transfer ownership of its airports to its sovereign wealth fund with a view to privatising them.

The move aims to relieve the government of the responsibility of ex­panding airports and to more create jobs, state-run Saudi Arabian news agency SPA reported at the time.

New business-friendly policies, such as the license issuance to China, are helping the country become a more integrated with the global economy.