Bahrain Establishes Synergies with Hangzhou in China to Explore Opportunities in Cross-border Commerce

Tuesday 20 November 2018
Hanghou - MENA Herald:

A senior delegation from Bahrain, assembled by the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), met with ZHANG Zexi, Vice Chairman of Zhejiang Provincial Political Consultative Committee and a number of local government officials and business leaders at the Bahrain – Zhejiang Business Forum in Hangzhou, Zhejiang on Monday (19 November). The forum coincides with the signing of a friendly cooperation agreement between the Capital Governor His Excellency Sheikh Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa and CHEN Weiqiang, Vice Mayor of Hangzhou.

Hangzhou is Bahrain’s second friendly cooperation in China, and the new relationship represents a significant step towards stronger business ties between the two countries ahead of next year’s 30th anniversary milestone of diplomatic relations.

Capital Governor, His Excellency Sheikh Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa said: “We are very excited to work with Zhejiang to create a supportive environment for cross-border business activities, enhancing information exchange and facilitating the growth of SMEs in both countries. Both Bahrain and Zhejiang have highly digitalised economies. We believe a partnership with the Zhejiang government and local leading businesses, such as Jolly Chic, will help both Bahrain and Zhejiang accelerate digital transformation in the 21st century economy.”

CHEN Weiqiang, Vice Mayor of Hangzhou, said: “Hangzhou and Bahrain have had a long history of trade - since ancient Maritime Silk Road. Under the Belt and Road Initiative, we believe Hangzhou and Manama will have even greater opportunities for cooperation. Hangzhou is a leading city when it comes to China’s digital economy, and a number of leaders in the industry make Hangzhou their home, including names such as Alibaba. We look forward to strengthening links with Bahrain in the areas of business and culture.”

Bahrain already has a history of partnering with China’s leading firms to grow and evolve their businesses and provide support in their “going-out” efforts. In 2009, Huawei moved its headquarters to Bahrain and is now creating and accelerating Bahrain’s 5G ecosystem, one of the most advanced mobile networks in the world. In 2016, Manama signed an MOU on friendly cooperation with Shenzhen, deepening the ties between the two countries.

During the delegation’s visit to Hangzhou, Bahrain signed a number of memorandums of understanding (MoU). These are as below:

  • Capital Governorate signed an MoU on Friendly Cooperation with Hangzhou to enhance cooperation in the areas of logistics, transportation, financial services, tourism and training. Furthermore, both cities will work to establish formal dialogue and regular exchange visits among high-tech companies.
  • EDB and the Department of Commerce of Zhejiang Province signed an MoU to strengthen information exchange, establish a channel for regular investment information exchange and strengthen cooperation in economic and trade activities.
  • Bahrain EDB signed an MoU with JollyChic – Zhejiang’s leading e-commerce platform with a focus on the MENA region – to explore the possibility of the company enlarging its BPO offering in Bahrain and using Bahrain as a hub for the Middle East.
  • Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) signed an MoU with the Zhejiang International Investment Promotion Centre to establish cooperation between Bahraini and Zhejiang companies and develop institutional capacity for the inception and growth of the private sector in both countries.

For his part, His Excellency Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the Bahrain EDB, said: “We strongly believe that through these agreements, we can work together to create a shared future for Bahrain, China, and the Gulf region. Being the region’s freest economy, Bahrain can serve as the ideal hub for Chinese business, SMEs and startups to access the numerous opportunities available in the region. We look forward to further enhancing economic ties with Zhejiang and welcoming Chinese companies to set up in Bahrain.”

As one of the most open and liberal countries in the Gulf region, Bahrain is known for its unrivaled market access, world-class regulatory environment, highly competitive taxation system, the lowest operating costs in the region, high quality of life, and a technologically literate population. As China sets out to build the Digital Silk Road to nurture the technology leaders of the future, Bahrain – the Gateway to the Gulf –  is perfectly positioned to partner with China, connecting Chinese companies to this high-spending region.

The Bahraini delegation visited Shenzhen and attended China High-Tech Fair on 14 November, and will head to Shijiazhuang and Beijing as it continues to explore ways of deepening economic ties with China ahead of the 30th anniversary.

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