September 08, 2015
Manama: Following the official visit of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in September 2013, and a successful business roadshow held in October 2014, a high-level Bahrain delegation, organised by the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and led by His Excellency Zayed R. Alzayani, Minister of Industry and Commerce, is participating as Guest Country of Honour at the China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) in Xiamen, the first ever Middle Easter country to be awarded that honour.
The Bahrain Pavilion, which opened today (September 8th) at CIFIT, showcases Bahrain’s business story, investment opportunities and the advantages Bahrain offers Chinese and international investors. CIFIT will give Bahraini businesses and Government officials the opportunity to engage in high-level talks and meetings with Chinese officials, private sector leaders and Chinese businesses looking to access the Gulf market. In particular, the EDB invites guests of CIFIT to the Bahrain Pavilion to learn more about the numerous investment opportunities in high growth sectors in which Bahrain can offer Chinese businesses significant advantages, including financial services, tourism, ICT, manufacturing and logistics.
The Bahrain Pavilion is organised by the EDB in cooperation with strategic partners Tamkeen, UNIDO, Bahrain Airport Company, Aluminium Bahrain (ALBA), Batelco, National Bank of Bahrain (NBB), Kuwait Finance House, and Al Salam Bank. Chinese companies Huawei and Chinamex are also participating in the roadshow. Bahraini SMEs representing sectors such as manufacturing, ICT and tourism among others are also featured at the pavilion.
A Bahrain China Business & Investment Forum will be organised on Tuesday September 9th, in Xiamen to showcase Bahrain’s investment opportunities. Key note speech will be delivered by HE Alzayani as well opening remarks by Mr. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the EDB and His Excellency Dr Anwar Al-Abdulla, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to China. The forum will also feature a panel discussion on the Kingdom’s business environment and will be moderated by Ms. Vivian Jamal, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications at the EDB. Panellists will include: Dr. Samer Al Jishi, Managing Director of BFG International; Mr. Adel Al A’ali, Director of Haji Hassan Group; Mr. Paul Fengnan, Country Manager of Huawei Bahrain; Mr. Yousif Ali, Executive Director – Customer Service and Support Engagement at Tamkeen; and Mr. Hussain Al Hussaini, General Manager – Treasury Overseas & Investment Banking Group at National Bank of Bahrain (NBB).
The forum will see the signing of various agreements between the EDB and Chinese businesses, including Letters of Intent (LOIs) by two Chinese companies each announcing plans to establish operations in Bahrain to access the fast-growing Gulf market. The companies are: Jinlou Water and World Wide Logistics.
Three MoUs will also be signed during the forum, with the first agreement between the Bahrain EDB and the China International Investment Promotion Centre- Xiamen aiming to strengthen trade ties between China and Bahrain. The Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade – Fujian (CCPIT-Fujian), will also be signing an agreement of bilateral cooperation. The third MoU will be signed between the Bahrain’s Businesswomen Society and Xiamen Association of Women Entrepreneurs. The agreement looks to establish a practical frame work of cooperation for the empowerment and entrepreneurship of businesswomen of the private sector of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Xiamen.
The forum will also witness Chinamex signing of three MoUs during the forum in Xiamen, to provide logistic services to the Bahrain Dragon City, to be opened later this year. The agreements will have the companies involved in the development of the Bahrain Dragon City, including providing import and export services, building online sales network and e-commerce platform services to the tenants. The three companies are: Fujian Quanzhou Dragon City Import & Export Trading Company, Beijing Dragon Commerce Company, and China Dragon Mart Information Technology Company.
His Excellency Zayed R. Alzayani, Minister of Industry and Commerce, commented on the visit:
“Bahrain is keen to continue its bilateral cooperation with China and strongly supports China’s vision of ‘One Belt One Road,’ which aims to build a community of shared interests between the Arab world and China. This roadshow represents the perfect opportunity to further strengthen our commercial ties and we look forward to helping many more Chinese businesses to take advantage of investment opportunities that the fast-growing GCC market presents, by using Bahrain as a base for their GCC operations.”
Mr. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the EDB said:
“China and Bahrain have been trading partners for thousands years and Bahrain was an important maritime hub along the first Silk Road. That relationship has continued to evolve, and today China is one of Bahrain’s most important trading partners. In fact, non-oil trade has grown from US$890 million in 2009 to more than US$1.98 billion in 2014.
Mr. Abdul Razak Al Qassim, Chief Executive Officer and Director of National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) commented:
“As Bahrain’s leading provider of retail and commercial banking services we are excited to be here in China to showcase Bahrain’s long history as an established financial centre for the Middle East. Bahrain’s more than 400 financial institutions and world-class regulation stand ready to assist Chinese businesses as they look to access new business opportunities in the Gulf.”
Commenting on the visit, Mr. Mohamed Yousif AlBinfalah, CEO of Bahrain Airport Company stated:
“Bahrain has been a pivot of trade connecting East and West for thousands of years and the country’s excellent land, sea and air transport links have played an essential role in developing Bahrain’s position as a prime ‘Gateway to the Gulf’.
“China is a very important trading partner for Bahrain and our strategic location has provided Chinese businesses with unrivalled access to the Gulf markets. Our participation in this event reflects the strong ties between our two nations and we look forward to showcasing our vision for the Kingdom’s aviation development and to explore new partnerships to further boost cooperation and trade.”
Mr. Ihab Hinnawi, Batelco Group Chief Executive officer, said:
“Bahrain has some of the most sophisticated ICT infrastructure in the Middle East and a liberal and competitive telecoms market. As Bahrain and other countries around the Gulf continue to strive to introduce new technologies an exciting opportunity exists for Chinese ICT and telecoms businesses, well-known around the world as pioneers of new technologies in this field.”
Bahrain’s open business environment has attracted international businesses from around the world looking to access the fast-growing GCC market, currently worth US$1.6 trillion and expected to reach US$2 trillion by 2020.
The Kingdom, known as the ‘Gateway to the Gulf’, has been a financial centre for the Middle East for over four decades and was the location of the Bank of China’s first representative office in the region. In ICT, Bahrain has some of the region’s most advanced infrastructure and regulation and is home to Huawei’s Middle East headquarters. Bahrain is also a logistics and manufacturing hub in the Gulf. Chinese manufacturers CPIC and MRS Fashion, a Hong Kong based garment manufacturing company, both have facilities in Bahrain, and the latter exports clothing to the US under the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.
Tourism is another sector that is experiencing rapid growth in Bahrain. Between 2013 and 2014 more than 10 million people chose to visit Bahrain and tourism revenues grew 17.4%. In 2015 the Kingdom’s first Four Seasons Hotel opened for business. A number of other major tourism projects are also planned over the coming years, including new resorts by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and One & Only.
The Bahrain delegation includes representatives from Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Al Zayani Investments, Haji Hassan Group, Al Arayedh Group Holding, BFG International, Projects Construction and AJM Kooheji Group among others.
The Bahrain EDB has an international office based at the Bahrain Embassy in Beijing with representation in Hong Kong, which provides information and support to interested investors in China.
Notes to editors:
Economic Development Board
Tel: +973 17 589 966
Economic Development Board
Tel: +973 17 589 966